Excellent submissions to the ways and means committee

The deadline has no 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

@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”.

Somebody trying to live an “every day life” in Canada

This is an excellent submission from a U.S. citizen in Canada who is nowhere near retirement and is faced with the prospect of trying to live and build a life. What is particularly interesting in this one is that she suggests that many U.S. citizens abroad are afraid to write because they are not compliant.

And from a person at a similar stage of life in Switzerland.

The complete community of U.S. citizens abroad owes a great debt to those who are writing to the Ways and Means Committee.

Not all letters have been posted! (at least yet)

For those who have not been following this discussion, comments at the Isaac Brock Society blog reveal  that at least three people have written letters that have not been posted. Hopefully they will show up. But I am beginning to wonder (some were clearly written before some that have been posted). Perhaps those who wrote and find that your letters were NOT posted should post them here.

In any case, many helpful letters have been posted.

1 thought on “Excellent submissions to the ways and means committee

  1. expatami

    So far, it appears that my submission got gobbled up by the censor troll, so I’ll post it here. I think that it’s cute and I can understand why stateside Americans either don’t understand it or misunderstand it:

    Here’s my 2 cents contributed for the benefit of Americans living abroad. For as long as the present situation prevails, at least attempt to make the effort to acknowledge that Americans living abroad do not live in America. In other words, accept their address where they live. It is confusing and frustrating trying to remember which address one used the last time with which US entity, and frustrating for US entities to understand why Americans abroad are using some fake address in the US rather than the actual address where they live around the world. I’m currently waiting for tax information to be faxed to a US fax number, so that I can file US taxes in Switzerland, since the US firm is prohibited from not being confused with the understanding that I don’t live in America. Americans abroad often can’t even e-file taxes since the address where live prevents them from doing so. So, please, try to understand that Americans abroad do not live in America. Their address is not in America. Their checking account is local, not foreign. Their US representation does not live in America. The problems that you guys are causing for Americans living abroad are endless and you’ll never understand this because you don’t live abroad. So, at the very least, please, attempt to understand that Americans living outside of US jurisdiction do not live in America. If only that could be achieved, then many problems will be reduced.


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