As reported by Brian Knowlton in the NYTs and Badger pointed out here a Presidential Commission is being Sought on U.S. Expatriates. The Bill number HR 6263 with details can be found at here .
American Citizens Abroad (ACA) is encouraging members and supporters to contact their representatives and ask them to support this bill. This is a positive step forward for Americans living and working overseas. A Presidential Commission would be invaluable in our efforts.
ACA Press Release follows:
WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Mike Honda (D-CA), and Charles Rangel (D-NY) have introduced legislation to create a Federal commission to study the impact of government policies upon the millions of Americans living overseas.
“Americans living and working overseas constitute a kind of unsung constituency,” Maloney said. “They pay taxes and vote, but U.S. policies and laws can have unintended and sometimes irrational consequences on their lives– because no entity in Washington is paying attention. These hardworking citizens are our country’s informal ambassadors around the globe and help strengthen the U.S. economy and promote American influence. Their concerns about how their government interacts with them deserve to be heard– and paid attention to– here in Washington.”
“As a member of the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus, I am proud to fully support the Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act, authored by my friend and Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney,’ Honda said. “Millions of U.S. citizens who are living and working abroad have voiced their concerns regarding the harmful impacts of federal policies– often unintentional– on their lives. These Americans abroad promote U.S. influence around the globe and help our economy thrive, yet our federal policies often disenfranchise them from becoming citizen ambassadors or even returning to the U.S. It is time we acquire a thorough, comprehensive understanding of the federal policy impacts on these Americans, which this bill would provide.”
“This commission would give Congress an opportunity to look under the hood of this issue and see what’s working, what isn’t, and what can work better,” Rep. Rangel said. “It’s our elected responsibility to ensure American citizens here and abroad are equally protected by their nation’s laws and Executive actions.”
Full text of the bill is viewable here:
BACKGROUND ON THE LEGISLATION
Rep. Maloney is co-founder and Chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus in the House. Find out more at here
This legislation creates a 15-member bipartisan Executive Commission to study the impact of U.S. laws and Executive actions on the overseas Americans community. The study would then be used to make recommendations for actions Congress and the Executive Branch could take to improve collaboration and communication of policies impacting this community. The intent of the review is to ensure awareness, coordination, and integration of the activities of the federal government relating to Americans abroad. Specific areas of federal policy the Commission is charged with looking into are tax and banking policy (including FATCA, Banking Secrecy Act, USA PATRIOT Act), immigration, voting, access to federal benefits (Medicare, Social Security), and student loans. There is an initial study due one year after enactment, and then one year following that report an update of what actions the federal government has taken based on recommendations from the initial report.
I just received this comment privately, and am passing it on.
“Caroline Maloney is really going out on a limb with her bill to create a presidential commission for US expats. I really think she needs some political cover here and I think it would be a good idea for us to write to her and thank her for her initiative even if we aren’t her constituents.
Her contact info is here. She has a special form for comments from people outside her district.”
You can visit the new ACA web site here.
A period of demonization from the party in power followed by a period of blame of the party in power from the opposition.
IMHO, citizenship-based taxation will inevitably become a highly visible issue. That is why it is so important to continue the effort to educate homelanders that citizenship-based taxation and FATCA & FuBAR are affecting “middle class” expats, not just the rich as the Schumers out there would like for everyone to believe.
It is equally important to educate homelanders that expats receive no services or benefits from the government and have no actual representation in the legislature. Most homelanders that I have met don’t understand this until I explain it to them. Then they scratch their heads and say, “yeah, you’re right, thats not fair.”
Here is an old article from the Economist. The more articles out there like this, the better.
*@FromTheWilderness, fairness is not a consideration with citizenship-based taxation. It is a sin tax. If you are a US citizen living outside of the US then you deserve to be punished. It is not primarily a revenue generating tax either. If the foreign tax you pay is higher than the US tax on that same income you may well end up owing nothing to the IRS. Some 81% of tax returns filed from abroad show zero tax due to the IRS. But you must file the tax returns, with all of the forms and reports that apply to US persons living abroad, whether you owe any tax or not. And unless you are a CPA or are well trained in US taxes as they apply to non-resident US persons, then you had better employ competent tax profiessionals, and pay them for their expertise accordingly, or you are skating on very thin ice and exposing yourself to massive penalties for not dotting every i and crossing every t with total perfection.
You wrote: “fairness is not a consideration with citizenship-based taxation. It is a sin tax. If you are a US citizen living outside of the US then you deserve to be punished.”
You are 100% correct! That is why the monster must be slain and every individual renunciation or relinquishment is a finger poked into the monster’s eye.
@From the Wilderness, re the link you provided above, from the Economist. So very, very true in 2008 and now:
…”That expats want to leave at all is evidence of America’s odd tax
Americans are taxed based on their citizenship, rather than where they
live. So they usually pay twice—to their host country and the Internal
Revenue Service. As this makes citizenship less palatable, Congress has
erected large barriers to stop them jumping ship”…
from “International taxation: America’s Berlin Wall” | The Economist
12 Jun 2008
Americans were not paying any attention to that then, and they are not paying any attention to FATCA or the IRS offshore jihad now!
*Just Me, they have no reason to since it doesn’t directly apply to them. The focus in the US is to create jobs in America and to bring jobs to America. Working abroad is thus a “sin” because it isn’t seen as reducing stateside unemployment figures, is linked with offshoring and is likely seen as tax avoidance. Americans want to “bring you home”. With the massive debt, the budget problems and unemployment rates, Americans don’t care about expats and have no motive to care about them. Thus, a dual citizen who lives abroad is either a traitor, tax cheat or one who appreciates double-taxation, and this perception won’t be changing for the better any time soon.
Fascinating find, that Economist article from 2008! I’m going through the comments, some quite prescient, but others that merely portend the same misinformation and desperate clinging to tarnished U.S. myths that we still encounter nearly FIVE years later:
A few things here:
a) US foreign tax structures could use some work to help expats. Having lived and worked abroad, I’ve come under that pressure before and don’t like the dual taxation
b) Citizenship renunciation should not be a mechanism for tax evasion
c) Citizenship comprises an entire body of ideologies, beliefs, freedom, etc that do not play into taxation
d) If a citizen wants to leave, I think it only fair that they pay taxes on their assets as they “liquidate” themselves from the United States — I imagine that these people have already liquidated themselves of the ideals of the United States and such liquidation should be very carefully undertaken and not impacted by the “rhetoric” of the era.
e) I would never renounce US Citizenship once I had it especially as an expat.
f) no doubt the post modern world is putting pressures on the venerable nation state.
g) If you want to leave, leave but a bit of advice — its not always warm outside (US stock value goes up and down and generally its very high — and there are forces out there who would want it to be lower)… sometimes it gets bitter cold out there — do make sure you have a warm place to stay before you go and radically alter your citizenship status for the sake of avoiding the taxman.
h) The article’s title was chosen very poorly and displays Economist propaganda attempting to amplify a minor item into a major issue and could be a mechanism to steal people away from the US.
i) If you’re young and are an expat – please be aware, you are being targetted by propaganda to become a “citizen of another country” — seriously look at the total implications of renouncing citizenship, its not a small thing and can have significant reprecussions throughout your life (you might find yourself in line with all the millions trying to get in with nobody listening).”
I’d love to chat with some of these people today and see how their thinking has evolved…
And another good one:
What an astonishing display of wusses,As a US expat in any country in the world, you get so much privilege from being American. Not to mention the dedicated work the Bush administration is doing to make the business community even better off (i.e. the Irak war which many of the repliers seem to oppose to).And of course, as companies get more globalized it becomes more and more difficult to track where the profits are coming from. If my production is Chinese and i am selling in the US, then my revenue is perhaps American but my profits are both. In the end on a more personal note, I have worked and dealt with many American expats – and to call them “the best and brightest” would be far far from the real picture, These are young men – many of which are anti Bush- who in all honesty should have a picture of George W. behind, so they can kiss it every day when they wake up given the American government’s backing of big business, given the fact that they don’t find themselves fighting in the Iraki desert as young men should when their country is at war, and given the fact that they are – many times – overpaid wannabe players who do not realize that after all said and done, the one thing that got them that beautiful apartment with the maid/driver/wifey not working is the fact that they are American. Let them pay taxes as Americans If you are willing to give up your citizenship on the account of a tax margin of x instead of y – then you ungrateful
@Deckard, and @From the Wilderness, re the Economist article from 2008:
As you point out – and the Economist article shows, 5 years later, we’re talking about the same issues that were raised then, and before that even. So depressing that the state of affairs only got exponentially worse – and here we are. And amazing that so many had no idea of the issues, or of the nature of the US extraterritorial claims and arrogance. I had never seen or read or discussed any of this before now. No other US dual, or US homelander or relative inside or outside the US had ever mentioned to me even a hint that all of this existed. Can’t believe the sheer scope of what we didn’t know. How many would have renounced or relinquished or obtained CLNs decades ago if we had any inkling.
Perhaps FATCA will tip the scales – in that it is so insupportable, and so insane an idea that by reaching even more arrogant heights, the associated US extraterritorial citizenship-based taxation system will finally become too impossible for the world to ignore. But it is already so incredibly unjust and the scope of the damage done so far is so great that it cannot be undone – I am so saddened by the number of individuals and families outside the US who are grappling with this – under threat of being forced to pay extortionate and confiscatory penalties just for being born, raised or choosing to live entirely unremarkable normal lives outside the US- and now paying incredible professional fees with their entirely legal, already taxed, non-US savings – to show annually – for life, that they owe the US nothing. And others wondering what to do, or waiting to see if they will be deemed compliant, or be bankrupted.
How is it possible that the world can let the US hold millions in thrall like this forever?
*I can surely tell you that as an American living and working in Brazil in 1976 that I became very painfully aware of the effects of US extraterritorial taxation. Under the prior legislation my combined US plus Brazilian income tax was about 10% more than any other person resident in Brazil of any nationality (except American) with my identical income and family status.
That in itself was tough to deal with, but when President Ford signed the Tax Reform Act of 1976 in October of that year, the provisions of which were retroactive to January 1 of that year, my combined Brazilian and US tax liability shot up overight to 81% more than anyone else, Brazilian or foreign non-American, with my exact same income and family status. Not only that US law requries that US taxes must be paid in US dollars regardless of the currency in which it is earned or received. Brazil in those days had very strict controls on foreign exchange so even if you had the money in local currency you could not simply walk into a bank and exchange it for US dollars to remit or carry out of the country to pay what was owed to the IRS. You had to resort to the black market to buy dollars, which was a felony criminal offense.
The Central Bank had to approve applications for foreign currency to be remitted abroad and applications for dollars to remit to the IRS were denied on the basis that Brazil did not recognize that the US or any other foreign country had any authority whatsoever to levy and collect taxes within the sovereign borders of Brazil.
So early in 1977, on January 31, I came home. Fortunately I had carryforward foreign tax credits from prior years to satisfy my US tax obligation for 1976, but I could see that I would be in serious trouble for 1977 if I stayed there. So I came home. I was not the only one. There were many. US companies who had their Latin American headquarters in Rio de Janeiro closed it down, and others quickly replaced their expatriate Americans with Brazilians and foreign citizens of other nationalities who were brought in from Europe or Canada to replace the US citizens.
I was aware of Americans who had been long-time residents of Brazil who were not even aware they had a US tax obligation and had never filed US tax returns or paid US taxes. But this awareness is much more prevalent today so those who fail to comply with this obligation because of ignorance of the law are fewer than they were back then. I was also aware of a few Americans in Brazil who became naturalized Brazilian citizens and renounced their US citizenship. It was much easier to renounce US citizenship in those days. There was no consular fee and no exit tax like there is today. Also if you had a Brazilian spouse and/or Brazilian born children the naturalization process was quite rapid and simple providing you had, as I recall, 3 years of residence there. And Brazilian citizens and those with Brazilian children were not extraditable to the US.
I posted a rumor, and I should have waited until I had something official, so have removed it. Will put back up as soon as I know it is solid.
removed the rumor until I have something more official
removed the rumor 🙂
H.R.597 has been re-submitted by Rep Maloney..
Latest Title: To establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.
Sponsor: Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-12] (introduced 2/8/2013) Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 2/8/2013 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Ways and Means, the Judiciary, House Administration, Energy and Commerce, and Education and the Workforce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
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It has been exactly ONE YEAR since the last action was made to this bill:
Latest Major Action: 4/23/2013 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.
Now I ask myself two questions:
(1) What has been going on for the last 12 months?
(2) What is the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training supposed to be doing?
I am convinced that this bill will never go anywhere, though I greatly respect and thank Carolyn Maloney for trying and I would never criticize those who might continue to try to get them to pass it. Despite being in congruence with what Obama promised those abroad in 2008 “,,,Our government must work to ensure that overseas Americans have every chance to compete
on a level playing field, and he will work with Americans abroad to identify and understand problems they may face as a result of U.S. government policies…” and, ” As president, Obama will work to establish a direct dialogue with Americans abroad… ”
http://obama.3cdn.net/610c7f29ee85b124a3_3cm6bxltu.pdf. . If successful, this commission would uncover many uncomfortable and inconvenient truths that the Democrats (and the Republicans) will not want exposed and formally recorded. Look at the title; “To establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.”. We have a lot of grievances. Both major US parties contributed to this disaster where we find ourselves. Neither party really gives a hoot about US citizens living abroad. Neither have really done anything to ameliorate things (despite the laudable actions of a few individuals like Ms. Maloney).
How many US politicians and homelanders want that information; “.. how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries” to get any light at all, much less heat? Some are just ignorant. Others willfully so. Some probably have a Cook vs. Tait tattoo. (Maybe we’ll see some of those C vs. T tattoos at the upcoming ACA sponsored debate in Toronto on May 2nd http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2014/03/29/may-2-2014-aca-sponsored-toronto-forumdebate-on-cbt-vs-rbt/ http://www.acaglobalfoundation.org/events?eventId=865796&EventViewMode=EventDetails ). US politicians in general, derive benefit from claiming that those who can not ever register or vote from abroad without a period of US residency (the law in over half of the States?), who are never going to live in the US, whose only relationship to the US is a parent’s DNA or an accident of birthplace, are nevertheless liable for a piece of the US national debt forever and ever – and thus economic serfdom subject to US extraterritorial caprice and penalties, for life. At the very least, they do not recognize any benefit from bestirring themselves to even examine the issues. That ethics, justice and fairness might demand it is not a concern for them.
I am no longer a US citizen. And the further this goes on, the further it is confirmed for me that this was my only ‘choice’ – made inevitable by the continuing intransigence of the US government. They have had opportunities to make things easier, and they adamantly refuse, and instead, continue to pile it on. I no longer grieve the loss of my US connection. What is the point of grieving a lost relationship with the steamroller or behemoth who flattens everything in its path? And turns around again and again just to make sure no one was missed in the trampling?
OVD/I/P and FATCA are the clearest of clear indicators of what the US government intends regarding “how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries”. They know what the effect is, and they continue. We have gone beyond any debate about the possibility that these are ‘unintended’ consequences for those living outside the US. The US has deliberately chosen to advance their economic invasion via extortion of ourselves, our families and our chosen home country – imposed on our entirely local legal non-US assets – much of which has already been taxed once by our country of residence, and the remainder to be taxed by said country again in various ways (ex. interest earned, HST when used for purchase of goods and services, etc.), despite all the evidence of the results.
What can the US expect will be reaped from the crops it is so adamantly sowing?
The rates of renunciations and relinquishments will continue to rise despite the obstacles, and many others will simply disavow their US heritage to protect their children and their non-US family. The amount of anti-US feeling will grow exponentially. Our domestic opposition to any US extraterritorial incursions into our home country’s sovereign borders will grow and harden. Our local political involvement will focus on those parties who resist US arrogance and annexation – across several issues, not just FATCA. A Canadian Charter challenge, even if unsuccessful will raise uncomfortable attention to US machinations, and the Canadian federal government who is acting as an enabler and collaborator by signing away our rights, and defending the FATCA IGA – mis-using our Canadian taxpayer and voter’s funds to do so. FATCA has also exposed the serious deficiencies that already exist in Canada’s (or any) tax treaty with the US – which the ruling Conservatives have had since 2006 to address – and which makes their signing of the FATCA IGA even more egregious. In force on CANADA DAY no less.
@badger: I am convinced that this bill will never go anywhere, though I greatly respect and thank Carolyn Maloney for trying and I would never criticize those who might continue to try to get them to pass it.
I believe that Ms. Maloney honestly cares about this issue, but I’m extremely suspicious about the motives of her two co-sponsors. Mike Honda has repeatedly tried to repeal the FEIE (see “Budget For All”), and Rangel has supported the various “Stop Tax Haven Abuse” Acts (aka “put all competing tax havens out of business so foreign flight capital has nowhere else to hide from its home governments besides Mike Honda’s Silicon Valley and Chuck Rangel’s New York City”).
Also not exactly on topic, but here’s a piece about the upcoming primaries in Honda’s district, where he’s facing off against a much younger challenger (Ro Khanna, who used to be Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce).
From talking with people over in the Bay Area, it seems that a lot of immigrants & kids of immigrants identify more with Khanna than Honda. Anyway, I doubt that Khanna can actually make a whit of difference on any of the issues that matter to us, but just for kicks & giggles I had an old buddy of mine in his district send his campaign an article about Indian Americans & FBAR penalties, plus one of Mr. Conklin’s pieces (with Khanna’s Commerce Department background, I thought he might be interested in the confluence between CBT & exports).
It will be interesting to see whether Khanna or other US politicians of Asian background or other non-US origin get why FBAR-penalizing people for money made and held and taxed in their country of origin – before immigrating to the US, is an idea that will result in anything but misery for those affected, and no/little or shortterm net gain for the US. But the US is too stupid and arrogant to apply any self criticism and self reflection, so will no doubt continue to create the needless waste and punishment anyway.
*US politicians of Asian background*
Depends how americanize they are… some no longer have their asian culture because they are more americans rather then asian. In the new generations… the language & customs are gone… once the elders in the family are gone… alot of the culture is gone. I have read some asian politicians in american who don’t seem to understand their culture now or the plight of the immigrants. Very sad to see that…. rather then preserve the culture… they rather be americans…