Important article which Helen Burggraf has written for John Richardson‘s website (posted with permission). Please note deadline for submissions is this Wednesday.
Those interested in contributing their thoughts to the State Department’s forum on the question of its proposed renunciation fee reduction may click here and follow the instructions.
Advocates for fairer tax treatment of American expats by their government, including both the Republicans Overseas and Democrats Abroad, are urging such expats not to hesitate in posting comments on a U.S. State Department proposal to lower the fee currently charged those seeking to renounce their U.S. citizenships, the deadline for which expires in less than three days.
However, many of those urging fellow expats to register their opinions regarding the renunciation fee, including both the Democrats Abroad (DA) and the Republicans Overseas, are suggesting that those commenting include a mention of the fact that there would be less need for people to renounce their citizenships if the U.S. government were to address the mostly tax-related problems that are driving them to do so.
The reason they’re ramping up their calls for expat action now is because they say this temporary comment submission facility represents a rare chance for expats to speak directly to strategists at one of the most important bureaus involved in U.S. tax policy decision-making – and because, as this article was being published on Sunday (Oct. 29), only 454 comments had been received, according to the page on the Federal Register that those invited to make comments are instructed to visit.
“Instead of penalizing Americans on their way out the door, the State Department should be asking itself why they’re leaving in the first place,” is how the DA Taxation Task Force (DATTF) put it, in an email to its members earlier this month. It reinforced this message with a follow-up email on Thursday.
While reducing the fee to renounce – or, as the State Department puts it, the fee for providing the necessary consular services required to process requests for each “Certificate of Loss of Nationality” or CLN) – to US$450 from US$2,350 was “at least an improvement” to the current situation, the DATTF went on, “the real tragedy is that so many Americans feel like they have to cut ties in the first place.
“Instead of nickel-and-diming Americans forced to renounce their citizenship to escape double-taxation, the State Department should push Congress to bring the US into line with the entire rest of the world in the way it taxes its expats.”
Thursday’s email added: “This is a great opportunity for your voice to be heard about the tax problems forcing Americans abroad to renounce their citizenship in the first place (aka the tax compliance nightmare suffered by Americans abroad)”; The Republicans Overseas echoed the Dems Abroad’s comments in its own message to its members, sent a few days ago, in stressing the opportunity to make the case for fixing the way American expats are taxed, rather than focusing on the renunciation fee itself.