Surveys, Petitions, Submissions – Let Them Know What You Think!
September 2021. Support Lawsuit to Force Dept of State to Restart Renunciation at all Locations and Remove Barriers to Renunciation.
August 2021. Sign EU EndFATCA Petition.
Older surveys, petitions, submissions requests are archived here.
If you’re a former US citizen, that makes you a non-US citizen. There are several places on the survey in which you can elaborate your circumstances (or say nothing). No matter how cynical one is (and I’m more cynical and hopeless than I’ve ever been regarding this whole situation), I see zero harm in completing this survey. So what if it isn’t perfect? DA has stepped up their game, lobbying members of Congress, cooperating with Holding and Republicans Overseas. I say: complete the survey and give them something to work with.
Thanks for the link to the Democrats Abroad CBT/FATCA survey. I’ve added it to the list.
And the survey says ….
last bullet point:
“50%+ of them would like to renounce their U.S. citizenship, but most would only do so if they could renounce at a reasonable cost, effort”
The most interesting aspect in the comments is how many respondents appear to be doing their best to comply when they clearly don’t have to. ( Condor Effect?)
Indeed. But the sample skewed very heavily towards “expats” not accidentals, and very heavily towards the already compliant, which is perhaps not surprising given that DA promoted and ran the survey.
Based on the estimates of the number of US citizens abroad vs. the number of tax returns filed, my guess is that even at this late date, the lion’s share of US citizens who live outside the US don’t have a clue they are supposed to be filing US tax returns. (Or they know about it but choose to ignore it.) Either way, they aren’t going to participate in surveys.
As a result, such surveys are inevitably skewed because they work with such a small, unrepresentative sample.
Are residents of non-US countries “supposed” to file US tax returns?
Nobody wants them to, nobody tries to get them to, or complains if they don’t.
Nobody, except IRS-oriented tax advisers, actually cares.
“Nobody, except IRS-oriented tax advisers, actually cares.”
And Democrats Abroad……
Democrats Abroad don’t care whether US citizens outside the US file tax returns. Why would they? They’re there to try to persuade US citizens outside the US to vote for Democrats and donate to Democrats.
Interestingly, the focus on votes not taxes (not only for DA but for Congess as a whole) is mentioned on the DA website:
“Democrats Abroad don’t care whether US citizens outside the US file tax returns. Why would they? They’re there to try to persuade US citizens outside the US to vote for Democrats and donate to Democrats.”
If you believe the article cited above they do. Not surprisingly, there is no mention of FATCA, the Democratic legislation that causes the most problems for expats, whether they file US returns or not.
Interesting they go to such effort to encourage voting because, as far as I can tell, the expat vote has zero influence on election outcomes. I can see why they’d want to rake in the dough, though.
“…the Democratic legislation that causes the most problems for expats, whether they file US returns or not.”
The legislation that causes the most problems for US citizens outside the US is domestic legislation implementing the IGA Model 1, which strips data protection and privacy rights from US-born citizens of other countries who can’t or don’t want to renounce.
“Interesting they go to such effort to encourage voting because, as far as I can tell, the expat vote has zero influence on election outcomes. I can see why they’d want to rake in the dough, though.”
I venture to guess that the efforts to increase votes and the efforts to increase donations, in both DA and RO, are spurred chiefly by political ambition.
I found that while both the survey and the comments from participants at least distinguished between FATCA/IGA problems (restrictions on financial services) and US tax compliance problems (preparation costs and double taxation), there seems to be no understanding of when and how compliance could be compelled (threats to US income/assets or passports) versus when it is a voluntary and self-destructive act.
In other words, while there was plenty of complaining about FATCA and CBT, nobody involved with DA or who took the survey – even accidentals – seems capable of challenging the absurd idea that a US person living outside the US must always follow US law.
RO isn’t any better. It’s delusional to think that anyone who isn’t already compliant is going to sign up for TTFI.
My brief interactions with DA over the years were 100 percent focused on getting out the vote for Democratic candidates in US elections, and 0 percent focused on expat issues. I expect that the former is still the overwhelming priority in that organization. Hence the cognitive inability to even consider non-compliance.
“…nobody involved with DA or who took the survey – even accidentals – seems capable of challenging the absurd idea that a US person living outside the US must always follow US law.”
Nobody in DA – how could they? – but I can testify that at least one taker of the survey pointed out the unenforceability rather emphatically. I’d be surprised if I was the only one.
“…the cognitive inability to even consider non-compliance.”
But but but … it’s obvious to everyone, including DA, that most US citizens outside the US aren’t filing returns. Nobody cares. They don’t care if you do, they don’t care if you don’t.
It’s the hallmark of politicians: they don’t necessarily actually care about people’s problems, they say they do – hoping to get elected.
“I venture to guess that the efforts to increase votes and the efforts to increase donations, in both DA and RO, are spurred chiefly by political ambition.”
In other words, currying favour with the movers and shakers of the party up whose ranks they aspire to rise.
Well at some point the ethical thing for DA et. al. to do would be to recommend consideration of non-compliance, is what I suppose I was getting at.
The DA and RO are lobbying groups run by people who still vote in US elections, duly do their US income tax forms, and identify themselves as US citzen first and foremost.
Bear that in mind when filling out surveys and whatever else they have in mind.
Despite DA’s raison d’être, the information on their survey is interesting and can be used by anyone trying to score points against CBT/FBAR/FATCA. If 50% of their members are ruminating about renouncing it might encourage DA (RO too) into putting even more effort into getting rid of the reason for a potential loss of a significant number of overseas votes. Renunciants can’t vote. Anyway, all efforts are appreciated.
The thing that stops me dead in my tracks whenever I think I’d like to respond to one of these surveys (or comment on articles) is when they try to collect a bunch of personal information in order to type in one sentence. As soon as I see that I just hit the delete button and move on. Not going to happen.
I’m not dissing DA. I used to be a member, back in the days when I felt I had a responsibility as a citizen to use my vote. It was easy to register and get a ballot, going through DA.
They’re a political organisation though, not an Expats’ Benevolent Association. They don’t care if expats file or don’t file, they want votes and donations.
And that’s as it should be, IMO. It’s not their function to advise expats to file or not to file.
“RO isn’t any better. It’s delusional to think that anyone who isn’t already compliant is going to sign up for TTFI.”
It seems to me a registration scheme such as the one put forward by ACA and cribbed by Holding, is well worth supporting. It would effectively give expats a fourth option – to register as not tax-resident in the US, and therefore not subject to IGA1 reporting.
Those who want to file could file, while those who don’t want to file could register or carry on ignoring.
Prospects for this don’t look good at present, but at least it’s got as far as being introduced.
@Plaxy. “those who want to file could file, while those who don’t want to file could register or carry on ignoring”.
To be clear, those who don’t want to file can’t register to stop filing unless they have been filing. Thus of little benefit to the noncompliant majority. Long term expats and accidentals who aren’t willing or able to enter or reenter the US tax system remain tax cheats under the TTFI proposal.