— U.S. Citizen Abroad (@USCitizenAbroad) January 4, 2017
You can read it at the Americans Citizens Abroad site. Highlights include:
In denying the request for SCE, the Treasury Department’s final FATCA regulations focused solely on the risk of US tax avoidance. “The Treasury Department and the IRS have also decided that the risk of U.S. tax avoidance by a U.S. taxpayer holding an account with an FFI exists regardless of whether the U.S. taxpayer holds an account in his or her foreign country of residence or another foreign country.” The regulations say nothing about the problem of lock-out. They fix only on the unquantified and un-weighted risk that what must be a relatively small population of US taxpayers residing in a foreign country and banking at their local bank might evade US tax. The regulations do not say whether, and, if so, to what extent, Treasury Department took into consideration the widely-admitted fact that FATCA continues to put the community of 8 million Americans overseas at risk of lock-out from access to financial accounts needed for the management of basic living expenses (paying bills, paying rent, receiving paychecks). The problem of foreign financial account lock-out exists, and it has been proven that the FATCA rules are one of the root causes. The Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and ACA, as well as other overseas organizations, have testified to the existence of the problem and have asked for redress by the adoption of SCE. ACA believes that Treasury Department either missed the point or failed reasonably to balance the considerations.
Updates January 6, 2017: From Treasury Regulations AKA “The Horse’s Mouth”
1. DEFINITION OF U.S. ACCOUNT
Comments requested that the definition of a U.S. account exclude accounts held by U.S. individuals resident in the same jurisdiction as the FFI with which the account is held. This comment is not adopted. The U.S. federal income tax system largely relies on voluntary compliance, and third party information reporting of the financial accounts of U.S. taxpayers is used to encourage voluntary compliance. For this reason, U.S. financial institutions are generally required to report under chapter 61 U.S. and foreign source investment income paid to account holders that are U.S. individuals. However, before FATCA, FFIs (in particular, non-U.S. payors) generally were not required to report foreign source payments made to U.S. taxpayers. The information reporting required by FATCA is intended to address the use of foreign accounts to facilitate tax evasion, and also to strengthen the integrity of the voluntary compliance system by placing U.S. taxpayers with accounts held with FFIs in a comparable position to U.S. taxpayers with accounts held with U.S. financial institutions. This is the case even for U.S. taxpayers resident abroad, since U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens are subject to U.S. income tax on their worldwide income regardless of where they reside and regardless of whether their accounts are maintained by U.S. financial institutions or FFIs. The Treasury Department and the IRS have also decided that the risk of U.S. tax avoidance by a U.S. taxpayer holding an account with an FFI exists regardless of whether the U.S. taxpayer holds an account in his or her foreign country of residence or another foreign country.” https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/06/2016-31601/regulations-relating-to-information-reporting-by-foreign-financial-institutions-and-withholding-on
No, the administration of Barack Obama did NOT miss the point. The point is a simple one: