The deadline has now passed to submit comments to the Ways and Means Committee on Tax Reform. Comments are posted here. There were (and hopefully continue to be) a large number of letters from U.S. citizens abroad. Who knows what will happen? I am hopeful that Shadow Raider’s optimism will “carry the day”. For those who missed his comment:
Shadow Raider says
@Just Me, You can keep your hopes up. The reporters who wrote that article on The Hill probably contacted both chairmen of the international tax reform working group, Devin Nunes and Earl Blumenauer, and I suspect that the Republican aide who responded is the same Devin Nunes’s assistant whom I met last year. Yes, he defends citizenship-based taxation, but he is the only aide that I met who does. His opinion is not representative of what Congress thinks about the subject, so I think we can safely ignore his comments. All other aides that I met were supportive or at least open to changing the tax system to one based on residence.
Speaking of congressional aides, most of them are young, as you noticed (20-40 years old), highly educated, motivated and friendly. Also, most of them have traveled abroad, and they live in or around DC, which has a substantial international presence. Perhaps because of these characteristics, they are open-minded about the rest of the world and are interested in new ideas. A 150-year old policy that restricts international mobility is not something that they support. I think citizenship-based taxation is not going to survive much longer.
Also, Earl Blumenauer responded himself to the article on The Hill, and his response seems positive. I think I finally found the point that makes Congress care about the subject: thecompetitiveness of Americans for jobs abroad. When Bill Alexander proposed expanding the FEIE to all kinds of foreign income in 1992, he titled his bill “Overseas American EconomicCompetition Enhancement Act”. When Jim DeMint and Gregory Meeks proposed making the FEIE unlimited in 2007, they titled their bill “Working American Competitiveness Act”. Earlier this year, Dave Camp wrote that tax reform is needed to make US workers more competitiveinternationally. Now Earl Blumenauer mentioned something similar. The Senate Finance Committee scheduled a meeting on “international competitiveness” for next month, and I don’t think they are just talking about corporations. So congressmen don’t care much about logic, simplicity or fairness in the tax code, banking problems, exports or additional tax revenue, but they don’t want Americans to be undesired for jobs outside of the US simply due to their citizenship. In the past, this problem could be mostly solved with the FEIE, but today, with FATCA and the enforcement of FBAR penalties, even excluding all foreign income wouldn’t be enough. For Americans and foreigners to be considered equally for jobs abroad, Americans abroad can’t have tax or financial reporting requirements to the US either.
The Joint Committee on Taxation should say something about the subject in its report on May 6, and the Senate Finance Committee should also say something after its meeting on May 23. I think we’re in for a pleasant surprise.
Here are some comments that really captured the life of “U.S. citizenship abroad”.