Roger Conklin passed away 11/25/14 "Some you just know are in God’s presence, and that is where Roger is now." http://t.co/cmHfoyu0vq"
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) November 29, 2014
Thank you Roger Conklin for your devotion, your work and most importantly because you "You got high hopes" http://t.co/l3tZtvNlPt
— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) November 29, 2014
Roger Conklin was a frequent commenter on the Isaac Brock Society and any other venue that allowed him to comment on the plight of Americans abroad and the damage that U.S. tax policies were are causing to America. He described his involvement with “American Citizens Abroad” here. “Americans Citizen Abroad” recently awarded Mr. Conklin the “Eugene Abrams Award” for service to Americans Abroad. ACA noted that:
ACA is proud to confer its Eugene Abrams Award for 2014 on Roger D. Conklin. The Abrams Award, (named for Eugene B. Abrams, ACA Executive Director from 1992-1994), honors Americans abroad who have contributed outstanding volunteer service to their community. This year, it is being presented to a former American abroad who has been of invaluable service to the overseas American community.
Mr. Conklin has worked tirelessly for decades to bring home the message that overseas Americans are a vital asset to the United States, and an essential component in expanding United States trade and exports. As ACA Director Jackie Bugnion wrote him recently, “I must say that your constant devotion to the cause of Americans abroad – over nearly 40 years – is absolutely exceptional. Your command of the historic details and personal experience with the arbitrary changes of the law have provided all of us with a wealth of information and inspiration.”
Mr. Conklin, currently retired in Palmetto Bay, FL, spent most of his working life promoting sales of American products overseas. He lived abroad in Peru and in Brazil, and during his career he marketed U.S. exports in 98 foreign countries. When the U.S. Tax Reform Act of 1976 was passed, drastically reducing the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and making numerous other employee perks taxable, he was managing director of a Brazilian-owned company in Rio de Janeiro selling and implementing turnkey telecommunications projects in that country, using U.S.-made telecommunications products. Faced with double taxation which totaled over 80% of his income, Mr. Conklin and his family – like thousands of other American business people abroad at the time – were forced to abandon their jobs in Brazil and return to the U.S. in order to survive. The marketing gap left by his departure was soon filled by a French company, selling French-made products to what developed into a $1 billion a year export market.
From the time of his forced return to the United States, Roger Conklin became an activist, working to educate the American government and the American public of the imperative need to have Americans abroad “in the field”, selling American products, thereby creating and maintaining jobs in the U.S.A. He has tirelessly testified before Congress (numerous times, from 1978 to 2011), written in-depth articles and participated actively in online blogs. Mr. Conklin recently wrote:
I believe in this cause more so today than ever. The snowball effect of citizenship-based taxation continues so needlessly to not only destroy the lives of proud and loyal Americans abroad and our relations with peoples of other countries as well as handicap the American economy by creating a truly unique un-level playing field for our citizens as well as American companies in their effort to grow our economy and create jobs at home.
ACA has benefited from his input as a Director for many years. ACA Executive Director Marylouise Serrato commented, “Roger Conklin has played an enormous role in bringing interest in the cause of Americans abroad and their effect on trade to attain a truly global level of intercourse; future generations of overseas Americans will benefit from the ball he helped get rolling.”
ACA Inc. is a Washington-based non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer association with worldwide membership whose mission is to represent the interests of Americans living overseas. The organization works on behalf of its members with the Executive Branch of the US Government, the US Congress, and the Federal Judiciary. With offices in Washington DC and Geneva Switzerland, ACA Inc. draws on more than three decades of rich experience and knowledge of laws affecting Americans living overseas.
What follows is a republication of a a very early “Brock post” written by Petros and published in January of 2012.
Roger Conklin writes about why he left Brazil in 1977
Posted on January 19, 2012 by Petros Posted in Issues regarding US persons abroad 9 Comments
We are most honored to have Roger Conklin as a reader and frequent commenter at the Isaac Brock Society. Today, he kindly commented on my post, A second response to Barrie McKenna.
Roger Conklin’s testimony before the Ways and Means Committee
U.S. citizenship-based taxation harms U.S. economy
A Saudi lawyer advises Obama to end citizenship-based taxation
Very well expressed indeed. As a law abiding US citizen living and working in Brazil who was forced by US tax legislation to either violate the laws of the US by not paying my income tax obligation as mandated by the Tax Reform Act of 1976, or violate Brazilian law by purchasing US dollars illegally on the black market and smuggling them out of the country in violation of its money-laundering laws, I also had to make a tough decision. I was younger then, so I decided to throw in the towel and return to the US to seek a new career, which I was most fortunate to find.
Some of my close American friends there chose to become naturalized Brazilian citizens and formally renounce their US citizenship before a US consular official in Brazil. Although it was not an easy decision for any of us to make, one way or the other, I to this day have great respect for those who chose to become Brazilians and stay in Brazil. It certainly was not easy for them. Fortunately at that time it was not as difficult as it is today since then there was no exit tax. Today the decision is much tougher as a result of the exit tax incorporated into the Renunciation process just a few years back.
I have not regretted the decision I took back then, but I have never ceased to work very hard to try to wake up our legislators and Administration officials that citizen-based taxation is an abomination that works against the best interests of the US. It has been a lonely battle. I remain totally convinced that in balance citizenship based taxation does far more harm to the best interests of the US which is far more important to the pittance that this tax generates for the US Treasury. Few US citizens living in the US are even aware that US citizens abroad are double taxed. And since very few ever expect to live and work abroad, the subject is of little interest or concern to them. And since it is not an issue on which our legislators will take a stand, is it does not enhance their chances of reelection, they just push it aside.
It is my firm opinion that the only way this is ever going to be turned around is if foreign governments, like Canada take a very strong stand with the United States that taxing its citizens who in accordance with US law are also dual citizens of the US, and US citizens who are residents of that foreign country is a violation of the sovereignty that it will no longer tolerate. I would certainly like to see the Canadian government take a stand on this. It would probably require more than words. Perhaps it would take some sort of serious threats of some kind of sanctions, although offhand I can’t suggest what they might be. This tax is certainly detrimental to the best interests of Canadians who discover they are also dual US citizens, and for that reason alone it would be most encouraging to me to see Canada take a firm stand against it. Our Congress needs to be made aware that it has created serious–problems for the US in its relations with Canada and our other friends.
It was Roger who introduced me to the fight and to this group.
An email from Roger, who was responding to a zinger comment posted by one of us:
“Good for you, [xxxxxx]! Continue to hit them hot and heavy.
Join in the chorus, everybody. Pull all the chains in Washington you can get your hands on. Let them hear those alarm bells ringing loud and clear.
He never stopped fighting for us.
I am so very sad to hear this. Roger was a clear voice of reason in an incredibly chaotic situation. His informed and thoughtful insights into CBT and FATCA will be sorely missed.
The historical perspective he provided was invaluable. His voice will be sorely missed.
RIP, Roger. Your tirelessness in the good fight will not be forgotten.
When I first landed on this site in 2012, I noticed the clarity of Roger’s insight. He is a genius. Now he has migrated to heaven.
It is too bad to see Roger go. He was a great man and a fighter for expats all the way to the end.
May he rest in peace.
Roger Conklin’s transition to another plane is a loss for civilization. I met him in 1963 and had the, ”value added”, of his advice and council, for the next 57 years. Before Email we saw each other at the Cook Electric/North America TelCom reunions, but when we discovered Email we exchanged Emails mostly on Political, Economic and Religious subjects, but he commented from time to time one his much loved wife and/or children. I never met them but feel I knew them because of my conversations about them and the trials of life we all face.
The grief his children must feel and the pride they must feel for having had him to lean on for sage advice, that he gave wherever he saw the need for it. GODSPEED MY DEAR FRIEND, Heaven awaits you.
W. Jere Tidwell
How very sad that Roger did not live to see the end of citizenship-based taxation which he had fought against so long and hard. But he died knowing that he has passed his torch to an incalculable number of souls around the world, who, with every hope, *will* see that day. Roger’s name will be forever writ large on the list of our heroes.
I am sorry to hear this sad news. I am sure we all offer our deepest condolences to Roger’s family and friends, as well as our appreciation for his life and contributions.
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What a sad loss! I’m happy that he was given some formal recognition for his efforts, but wish he had lived long enough to see the CBT beast slain. It must have been extremely frustrating to see how little progress had been made over the last 40 years, but never gave up. Rest in peace, Roger.
I wonder if Roger had decided to do a ‘Boris Johnson’ and continued to stay abroad where he’d be today?
Renunciation was unthinkable back in the 70s, but no longer today.
For me, too, and anyone whose path he crossed, this is very sad news. I have been thinking of Roger since we heard he was again in hospital. Roger Conklin was one of the first in the fight against citizenship-based taxation and the detriment it was even for the U.S. itself. His encouragement and support buoyed me / us many, many times. We saw the tag team of “Just Me” and “RogelioC” educating the readers so thoroughly in many news articles.
I, too, wish he could have waited to see the day we could put this behind us and celebrate the work of those like himself and that of Andy Sundberg. The fight to change things will continue, for me, in celebration of Roger and Andy, two *real patriots* who fought to the end of their lives to make things better for both U.S. expats and for the ‘homelanders’ themselves. As well, another gone too soon, forever will Don Whiteley (Arrow) from this side of the border have my undying respect and thanks.
This is too sad. Roger was very kind. As evidenced many times in earlier threads he was very patient with those of us who were just learning and trying to understand the larger issues such as the effect CBT had on trade etc. I marvelled at his clarity of thought and persistent resolve to fight what was a clearly a destructive force in his own life. I feel like I have lost a friend. I will miss his wise counsel and support.
Such Sad News, What a Super Person he was! He will be missed!
I am very sad to read this. I really appreciated Roger’s writings and participation in this fight both here at Brock and elsewhere and was fortunate to also have had some e-mail correspondence with him. Seemed like an all-round great guy as well a very knowledgeable and committed participant in the movement to abolish CBT. RIP, Roger, and my condolences to your family.
It is very sad to hear that he passed away. I always enjoyed hearing from him, and reading his writings, exchanging views. He helped to motivate me to do some activism for expats.
@Don, “Renunciation was unthinkable back in the 70s, but no longer today.”
It was unthinkable ten years ago!! But I understand the point vis a vis Roger.
Very sad news. My heart goes out to all of Roger’s family and friends. He was indeed a true scholar and a gentleman.
Roger’s tireless efforts to enlighten and advocate for US Persons everywhere have left a rich legacy of historical documentation, analysis and debate which we must continue to put forth in our fight against the immoral and destructive scourge of citizenship-based taxation. For those who haven’t read it in full, I would recommend Roger’s excellent submission to the House Ways and Means Committee in 2011. Here, you will find the perfect distillation of Roger’s lifetime of experience and insight:
As recently as this last fall, Roger was still fighting the good fight online, rallying the troops and, knowingly or not, leaving us with a most fitting epitaph:
Dim as our candle shines, it is still burning, for the darkness hath not put it out.
Never give up hope.
Saddened to learn of Roger Conklin’s passing. His was a voice of reason: a beacon of light in the gloom of partisan gridlock and willful ignorance that defines the political process in America today.
Mr. Conklin predicted years ago what has come to pass: it is difficult or impossible for US citizens to live or work abroad without either accepting permanent 2nd class status or abandoning US citizenship. He was a “prophet in the wilderness” and his predictions are coming true despite his tireless efforts to expose the folly of America’s cynical trade war on its own citizens abroad.
What a shock to find Patric Hale’s sad message about Roger Conklin last night. Since we have migrated over to a new thread today I’ll just repeat a bit here …
Although few here at Brock would have actually had the honour of meeting Roger, we all felt like we knew him. The profound unfairness of his Brazilian business experience (thanks to odious U.S. taxation) ranks high among the legends of Brock. He was such a wonderful advocate for us. We will always be grateful for every word he wrote, every word he spoke, to promote the cause of justice for every person beleaguered by the U.S. tax system.
Rest in peace, Roger, and thank you!
I always appreciated Rogers insight and enjoyed reading his commentaries. Grateful that he tirelessly helped US citizens/persons abroad. May he rest i peace.
A wealth of knowledge, expertise, skills and passion died with Roger. He was a classy, committed, caring and honourable man. He will be greatly missed.
@Don: Renunciation was unthinkable back in the 70s, but no longer today — Roger did mention that some Americans he knew down in Brazil chose to naturalise as Brazilian citizens & relinquish in response to the whole mess. IIRC one of the names he brought up was Brazil Herald editor Bill Williamson:
@Eric – Reading the article from 1976 confirms today’s situation:
US has no respect for its ex-pats
The US defence claim today is nonsense with diminished US troop numbers abroad
Nobody in the US Congress listens
Over 40 years nothing has changed.
Be liable to US taxes and receive nothing in return.
my thoughts are with Roger’s famly and friends, and this springs to mind (most answers can be found in the Bard)
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: flights of angels sing thee to thy rest..”