As #Americansabroad know: Voting and taxation should be based on residence and not citizenship

A very interesting article referenced in the above tweet. The comments are even more interesting. This article suggests a trend toward placing greater significance on residence than citizenship. Those opposed to U.S. citizenship-based taxation (everybody) may want to research U.S. jurisdictions where non-citizens are entitled to vote. Voting (deciding how a community is to be governed) and taxation (paying for the community) are part of the same issue.

Essentially, the article makes the point that when it comes to public policy, use of tax revenues, and taxation the important consideration is where one lives (residence) and NOT where one was born (citizenship). Although citizenship-based taxation is NOT mentioned, there is an analogy between voting and taxation – both are related to participation and identification with the place of residence.

The article includes some interesting thoughts:

First and foremost, democracy is about making decisions on how one’s tax revenues should be used; these residents have been paying taxes for years but have no representation.

Worse, when countries pretend that their established residents are “temporary,” those people lose the incentive to invest in their communities – to buy houses, to turn small businesses into larger ones, to help improve their neighbourhoods. More alarmingly, they tend to be distant from the health and education systems.

Voting should be granted by residency, not citizenship. (Elections Canada understands this, and rightly denies Canadian citizens the right to vote once they’ve been away five years). New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, Uruguay, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden allow non-resident aliens to vote. In Britain, you can vote as a non-citizen resident if you’re from one of dozens of qualifying EU or Commonwealth countries.

Several Canadian cities, including Toronto, are now asking their provinces permission to give non-citizen residents the vote. This should be uncontroversial and extended nationwide. If we allow these neighbours to change our world, we should give them a voice in changing their government.

If you accept the principle that the right to vote is dependent on residence, then should a citizen who does NOT reside in Canada be entitled to vote? As it stands, Canadian citizens who have lived outside Canada for five years lose the right to vote. Apparently this is being challenged:

The comments to this article (although closed) are of great interest too.

But back to the issue of citizenship-based taxation …

It is obvious that what the U.S. calls citizenship-based taxation is nothing but residence based life control.

The U.S. has no moral right to control the activities of people outside their jurisdiction because they live in other countries.

I am increasingly of the opinion that what the U.S. calls citizenship-based taxation is a gross violation of international (not U.S.) law.

1 thought on “As #Americansabroad know: Voting and taxation should be based on residence and not citizenship

  1. Dar

    Very thought provoking. I think the writer might want to find out more about the citizen based taxation and resident based taxation and the situation FATCA is doing to American persons. Have you written him?


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