Survey results show that the majority of American expat polled do not feel fairly represented by the US Government. Implications of the dissatisfaction may play a role in the upcoming elections as an estimated 6 million US citizens currently living overseas cast their votes in the hopes of having their concerns and needs addressed.For years, we’ve been hearing from our customers a mounting swell of frustration and dissatisfaction with the government as it relates to addressing their concerns, particularly when it comes to their expat tax preparation.
New York, NY (PRWEB) October 04, 2012
New survey results show that more than 72% of U.S. expatriates polled do not feel fairly represented by the U.S. Government. The survey also found that, of those polled, 74% were either prepared or planning to vote. Conducted by Greenback Expat Tax Services, which specializes exclusively on American expat tax services, the results represent a growing dissatisfaction among Americans living overseas with the lack of support and attention paid to their unique needs.
“We’re not surprised by our survey’s results,” said David McKeegan, Greenback Expat Tax Services President. For years, we’ve been hearing from our customers a mounting swell of frustration and dissatisfaction with the government as it relates to addressing their concerns, particularly when it comes to their expat tax preparation.”…
*Call me cynical but doubt either party will listen to us right now…those of us with lots of ties will have to learn to live with and absorb the costs of compliance….those who can get out probably should. Heartbreaking but true.
So 28% felt they were fairly represented. What were they smoking? And where can I get some?
They didn’t mention if US government and military personnel stationed overseas were counted as expats, they can vote in all the homeland elections and their income is usually excluded from local taxes due to Status of Forces agreements. I’ll bet that 70% of those who feel represented vote Democrat.
“Last night’s first presidential debates focused heavily on US taxes,”
said Mr. McKeegan. “However, the lack of focus on expat issues, and
particularly on US expat taxes, is one of the main reasons many of our
customers feel unfairly represented,”
In the debate Romney said he would lower tax rates but “close loopholes”. What “loopholes”? why FEIE of course!
*My guess is that those who feel they are properly represented either don’t have to or else they are not aware that they are required to fill out FBAR or FATCA reports, or perhaps they neither know they are supposed to file US tax returns nor do they file them.
Others may assume they are well represented only because they have never had reason or occasion to contact a Congresman for anything. At any rate they have never tangled with the IRS over a tax issue.
FEIE is not worth a pile of horse shit if the IRS can arbitrarily deny the deduction as they did with me in my 2009 return.
*@Petros, perhaps problems like yours is why my accountant prefers just relying on form 1116 via foreign tax credits for countries with a higher income tax rate than the US, rather than 2555. Perhaps a lot of expats are experiencing hassles with trying to claim the FEIE..but you should be able to amend via just 1116 and thus negate your tax liability.
The 28% is probably like how I was last year. I knew nothing and cared nothing. I didn’t vote, didn’t know about FBAR, only filed returns whenever I flew to the US (once every 5 years or so), and it felt good to be a US citizen. Under such circumstances, one has no problems, few concerns and everything seems fine. It’s like sticking one’s head in the sand and believing that everything is perfect. I don’t know what would have happened if I had continued along that path, but I’m now fully convinced that Americans abroad have absolutely no representation. I’m planning on voting for TJ O’Hara for president and Roger Conklin for the Florida Senate. This will be my first (and last?) vote abroad in 20 years of living overseas, and it is the first time that I would be willing to vote for a member of the demorepublican dictatorship if they stressed expat issues.
*Still don’t know yet what I’m going to do though suspect I’ll take the line of least resistance and just soldier on in spite of the unfairness of the present system. I know that’s not admirable of me but it is what it is…perhaps if I’d learned about all this twenty years earlier might have done things differently.
I still have a lot of ties to the US and consequently feel bound by tribal loyalties. I have a niece and two nephews who will be inheriting ftom me…if I renounced, this would effect what they’d receive, etc.
The Democrats campaign machine’s focus seems to have gone eerily silent on Romney’s offshore accounts. Could the abuse of USP’s abroad become the Obama administration’s dirty little secret?
*:@Bubble, who knows. But like mentioned earlier on here somewhere, I can’t imagine that the Republicans will be much if any improvement because they’ll want to demonstrate that they’re not protecting Romney’s offshore accounts in any way. I could even see Romney take a zero tolerance approach to offshore matters to suggest he’s been squeaky clean about everything..:P. I thus consider it a bipartisan issue. Let’s just hope that Shadowraider’s meeting will have gone well with the IRS and Dept of Treasury on our behalf! 🙂
@Monalisa 1776. Go @ Shadowraider!
Yes, taking up our case is political suicide for any politician, unless they can somehow gain some mileage from the general electorate in doing so. Hard to think of how they could do that though. Our only hope of that would be if the media portrayed the increase in renunciations as a loss to the US, or that citizenship based taxation is a net loser.
*@Bubble, I want so much to be positive but fear that the US is instead going to dig in its heels and start obstructing renunciations by stealth even if harsher laws aren’t passed. Those of us who keep our heads down and dutifully comply will probably be treated mercifully but will have had to pay ongoing accounting fees and be segregated into US-compliant products which often have higher charges which would drag on performance. We’re thus second-class citizens both to the US and our country of residence. We’re getting the short end of the stick.
They seem to have this ‘like it or lump it’ attitude. Just like an abusive spouse who won’t let go without acrimony…as in ‘You’re either for us or against us’, etc. I find the arrogance hard to bear. I really do appreciate Shadow’s efforts though…perhaps the IRS and Treasury would be off the record more sympathetic to our woes, especially because Nina Olsen is aware…they’re not mere politicians, after all…but are, alas, bound by the law because of our pig-ignorant Congress.
There currently isn’t much cause for optimism right now is there? Even my sister had me pulling my hair out today when we talked about voting in the US election. She lives in Canada and faces all the same obstacles that come with the territory, but is voting Democrat ‘because she can’t bring herself to vote for someone who doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose’. I said surely the issues that face USC’s living in the US aren’t the same as ours? I asked her: how can you vote for a party on issues that effect those living within the US when that same party brought us OVDI, FATCA, $450 renunciation fees, attempts to eliminate the FEIE, passport confiscation for outstanding taxes, etc etc.? I think she’s been drinking too much of Democrats Abroad’s Kool Aid!
@ShadowRaider and all, read the excellent article “U.S. Tax Laws: The Long Arm of Uncle Sam”October 5, 2012” by Don Whiteley – the link http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/personal-finance/us-tax-laws-long-arm-uncle-sam?page=2&#featurelist was just posted on an IBS thread here, and it skillfully addresses many of the complexities we face – with FBARs and extraterritorial US taxation, FATCA, thousands of dollars spent for accounting and legal help, etc. If we can post the link everywhere, and get it read more widely, then it will add to the light we’re trying to shine on the dark underhanded deeds of the IRS and the US!
ShadowRaider – perhaps sending the link for this article to the ACA, the AARO, and whatever US politicians and officials you meet with would be very effective and persuasive proof that the word is getting out – and our plight is at least getting some better coverage here – to the detriment of the US. This is very, very bad press for the US and the IRS! YEAH!
BC is one of the biggest economies in Canada, and so if the article is read widely there, I have no doubt that Ontario papers will have to pick up on it. This is the kind of thing that the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail should have run long ago. BC also trades with Washington State, Oregon and northern California – (some people wanted to call the entire region ‘Cascadia’ ) thus there are many with dual citizenship or other US taxable status and family ties in BC.
This article in Global Post, (a news feeder organization for PBS) on Expat voting habits paints an interesting portrait on what America knows or doesn’t know about its Expats…
Are expats America’s laziest voters?
Wonder if this perception will change when it ever becomes known about how the IRS offshore jihad and FATCA is effecting this group of “Lazy” Americans. With dissatisfaction growing, as reported in the survey, what do you think? 🙂
*Just Me, American expats are generally foolish loyal slaves of the demorepublican dictatorship. As long as they continue voting to reelect the demorepublican dictator, the dictator will continue to reward them with the cold shoulder, as it has done for the past 150+ years. If American expats don’t want to renounce US citizenship, then they need to tell stateside Americans that enough is enough, and this can only be done by voting against the demorepublican dictatorship.
With the current decline in economy, I don’t know which party can better handle situations like this. From the platforms they have mentioned, expats are not of top priority right now. This is truly frustrating despite the fact that we are proud citizens.
For me at least, what was once pride in being American has now become a choice for survival. Many of us no long have the luxury of feeling pride because of the destructive actions the USG against its own citizens.
@ Harrison, now that I have read about some of the history behind the extraterritorial application of US citizenship-based taxation, and the problems that expats have always faced, and the attempts to make it worse that continue to resurface; I realize that there never has been ‘a good time’ to have our concerns addressed and there never will be. We never were anywhere close to being a priority, and we never will be – except as the US applies punitive ‘enforcement’ and onerous tax and reporting structures on us. I was simply unaware of the true situation before.
Representative Carolyn Maloney reportedly had difficulty finding co-sponsors for http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr6263 the H.R. 6263: Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act 112th Congress, 2011–2012 “To establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.” It has an estimated 1% chance of passing. I salute Carolyn Maloney and appreciate her 3 co-sponsors (Honda, Michael “Mike” [D-CA15] Rangel, Charles [D-NY15] Holt, Rush [D-NJ12]) for coming forward to present this initiative, (note that no Republicans involved), but hold no hope that it will get passed. I also hold no hope that the co-sponsors are not just as likely to continue to vote with the rest of their Democrat brethren on other initiatives that will increase the jeopardy for those of us born or living abroad. As has happened with the HIRE act and other legislation that deliberately targeted those living outside the US.
Despite the reports to Congress by the Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, Congress and the President, and the Democratic party has done nothing to reign in the egregious excesses of the IRS as applied unchecked to millions of us abroad. They have done nothing to force the IRS to identify how many of those in its OVD/VD programs actually owed zero US tax, but were hit with penalties under FBAR and other failure to file information form requirements. In other words, they posed little or no actual tax loss to the US, but simply did not know about the myriad of labyrinthine reporting requirement imposed on our local legal assets and accounts.
Despite knowing that currently the FEIE and the Foreign tax credits diminish the numbers who would actually owe the US tax after having paid in full where they actually work, live earn, (and were born) the US allowed the IRS to slander and accuse us en masse as ‘evaders’ and ‘cheats’. Even now, the ‘streamlined’ compliance path fits only a small number, and is strewn with pitfalls identified by tax and law specialists – and the IRS refuses to clarify or be transparent in order to assist those that may be allowed to use it. This despite pretending that its overarching purpose is to ‘encourage’ compliance – rather than raising revenue through draconian and confiscatory penalties – levied on our already locally taxed and reported assets.
Though I mixed pride with deserved criticism of the US in the past, I was deluded as to my true situation as a US citizen living lifelong abroad, before the US Congress, Treasury and the IRS made it entirely unambiguous as to how they see us – as merely revenue sources to be exploited and punished, not as brethren or fellow citizens. We are citizens from afar only insofar as we are taxable.
The US deserves to be publicly and internationally shamed and censured. We should be working legally and politically, as circumstances allow, to thwart any future circumstances where it seeks to exploit those abroad, and other countries. Whether that be via ‘free’ trade, or banking, or extraterritorial tax, or support for hostile actions abroad, and other forms of arrogant overreach. There is already a strong undercurrent of anti-US feeling and skepticism abroad, and they have only fed into that.
Canadian and other families with US citizen members abroad have lost thousands and tens of thousands in non-US savings to pay for the US ‘compliance’ of their US ‘taxable’ parents and children, though as already obvious, most owed nothing to the US and all our accounts were legal, post-tax, registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency or the equivalent local tax agency in other countries, and all assets earned and held where we live – with NO US source income or earnings or assets, or residency. Those who ended up owing, often did so because of the conflicts between the tax systems where we actually live, and that of the US who believes that it does not have to compromise – regardless of whether we are double taxed, or taxed on events which are untaxable where we live (ex. sale of a principal residence, or in our currency vs. the US dollar).
The US is a big fat arrogant hypocrite and exploiter. If this is how it oppresses those who it defines as US ‘citizen brethren’, what limits does it not recognize in dealing with non-US persons?
The USG surely must know by now how much its citizens living abroad are suffering. The fact that it is unable or unwilling to respond to this suffering shows a grave insensitivity to the pain it continues to inflict on those effected by its policies and actions. By instinct, an animal subjected to pain will respond in an attempt to alleviate itself of pain, including moving away from the source of pain, yet US persons, in the same attempt to do so are labelled as traitors and tax cheats and slapped with a $450 renunciation fees, exit taxes, etc, chewing through our savings and any emotional attachment we have to being American to free ourselves of the leg hold trap put upon us.