ACA in the News
ACA is frequently called on for on-air media interviews and quoted in leading publications such as The Hill, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal. Below are recent articles where ACA was quoted.
Citizens Abroad Among Thousands Facing Passport Loss Over Tax Debt
“The loss of a passport can be far more challenging for citizens residing abroad than for domestic citizens because it could make them unemployable if their profession requires them to cross any borders."
More Americans are considering cutting their ties with the US — here's why
"In the haste to put together new tax legislation late last year, the U.S. government lost an opportunity to address the situation American expatriates face, according to Charles M. Bruce, legal counsel at American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group.
"There really was no time and no oxygen to focus on something like this, Bruce said."
Transition Tax Relief May Buy Time for Residency-Based Tax Bill
“There is going to be an effort to change the rules from citizenship-based to residency-based [taxation],” said Charles Bruce, legal counsel for American Citizens Abroad. “[The relief] buys some time to let Congress catch up. Only big changes are going to solve the problem, because it’s not just repatriation tax — it’s also [global intangible low-taxed income]; it’s the passthrough rules that don’t work for Americans overseas. . . .By accident, they really clobbered Americans overseas with these provisions,” Bruce said.
More Foundation Fallout
"HELP FOR EXPATS? Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) hopes to introduce a measure rolling out something akin to a territorial system for individuals, Tax Notes’ Dylan Moroses reports. Holding said his bill creating a residency-based system is currently getting looked at by the Joint Committee On Taxation, and acknowledged working with American Citizens Abroad — a group that has loudly lobbied for the U.S. to stop taxing citizens on their worldwide income."
Expat Americans given one-year business tax reprieve
"Charles Bruce, legal counsel of American Citizens Abroad said, 'It is frankly ridiculous. They should not be put through the same wringer as the largest US multinational corporations, making the same calculations and completing and filing exactly the same form.'"
"American Citizens Abroad said it is hoping smaller companies and tax payers will be removed from the levy altogether."
Expat Americans given one-year reprieve on repatriation tax
“Groups such as American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group in Washington, have long argued for a system of residency-based taxation rather than the current citizenship-based system.”
As US expat groups lobby, Washington lawmakers debate Trump tax bill
“ACA knows that that the Republican leadership appreciates that [the TCJA] was a ’miss’ so far as Americans abroad are concerned and, worse, that it did serious damage. They have said again and again that they want to put this right, and we know work is being done in members’ offices.”
The Tax Benefits and Drawbacks of Working Overseas
“(Income) is taxed in the foreign jurisdiction where the American lives,” said ACA’s Serrato. “Perhaps not taxed in the traditional manner as those living in the U.S.—some Middle Eastern countries do not have ‘income’ tax per se and use other measures to raise revenues in lieu of taxes, however, an American is still subject to this ‘tax.'”
Taxing Americans Abroad - Congress Draws Breath
"With headline-grabbing tax reform out of the way, Congress appears ready to turn to the subject pf taxing Americans abroad, who are making for sensible changes...Switching to residency-based taxation for sure is possible and, in my view, trending towards likely. Now's the time for everyone to push hard. Now's the time for Congress to hold hearings where everything can be put on the table."
‘Accidental Americans’ in France looking to French gov’t for help
"Charles Bruce, a former tax counsel at the Senate finance committee who now serves as legal counsel to the ACA, and who splits spends part of his time living and working in Europe when not in Washington, told International Investment that the ACA is calling on Congress to hold hearings on the taxation of Americans abroad “early in the new year”, with changing the tax regime to one based on residency a priority.
“ACA will probably also ask the Treasury/IRS to provide thresholds below which people need not worry about the deemed repatriation hit,” he added, referring to the unexpected “controlled foreign corporations” tax that emerged in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."
Americans abroad hit by Trump’s new repatriation tax rules
"The good thing about this is that it really highlights that the taxation of Americans overseas is just not right,” Mr Bruce said. “The problem is that people don’t think about Americans overseas . . . There’s no congressman representing Americans in France.”
Will Taxes Change for American Citizens Abroad?
US expat groups vow to continue fight to end citizenship-based tax regime, repeal FATCA
“tax reform – without RBT [a proposal to change the US to a residence-based rather than citizenship-based taxation model] – is not done until the House and Senate work out the differences in the two versions of the bill”.
Royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle’s US citizenship intrigues tax experts
"Charles Bruce, a Switzerland-based American tax lawyer with Bonnard Lawson-Lausanne who also represents the American Citizens Abroad as its legal counsel, says his advice to any American about to marry into a wealthy non-American family also would be to get the best advice possible as soon as possible – and then, to get an equally good second opinion."
US expat groups urge pressure on DC lawmakers as tax reform vote nears
"American Citizens Abroad sent its latest statement on the matter – about which it has been actively campaigning for months – to the Senate, formally informing its members that “a revenue-neutral, tight-against-abuse, harmful-to-no-one approach to residency based taxation” could be easily added to the tax reform legislation."
U.S. expats may be out of luck in tax reform
"One group representing U.S. expatriates, American Citizens Abroad, is pushing a bill that wouldn't reduce federal revenue by changing to RBT. The current citizen-based taxation only raises about $5 billion to $8 billion annually.”
Residency-based taxation: Americans living in Israel may soon see benefits
"For many years, the persistent call for change in the taxation of American corporations and individuals abroad has gone unanswered. However, the current US administration’s actions suggest the very real possibility of new tax rules, sooner rather than later. Indeed, assuming no major legislative disturbance or some catastrophe, such as a Russian-related scandal or open conflict with North Korea, some are predicting new tax rules before the end of this year. For American citizens living in Israel, this would mean relief from onerous compliance requirements and potential penalties that can lead to financial ruin."
Hopes for change to US citizenship-based regime still alive, campaigners say
"Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the American Citizens Abroad, said today that although residence-based taxation (RBT) isn’t currently mentioned in the bill that was approved yesterday, “there is still movement on RBT, and [still] time for its inclusion” in the final draft. The matter, for example, could also be brought up later on, including during debate on the Senate floor.
“ACA remains hopeful, and we are busy working offices in the Senate, Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), etc., where we have interested parties,” she added."
Congress is considering giving Americans in Canada an incredible tax break
"The U.S. Congress has been mulling changes in the way American individuals abroad are taxed by shifting from a citizen-based income-tax system to a residence-based system that would only tax people on the income they earn in the U.S. Americans abroad would no longer be taxed on worldwide income simply because they are U.S. citizens; they would only have to pay tax to the country where they live.
This change would align U.S. rules with that of just about every other country in the world, except Eritrea."
Residence-based tax regime ‘would be revenue-neutral’ for US: research
"Today, Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the American Citizens Abroad, said that although the organisation and its advisers had “thought for some time” that a residence-based tax system need not cost the US Treasury anything in the way of lost revenues, “we are very pleased to have this confirmed”."
US expats’ fingers still crossed as first draft of tax reform bill doesn’t address overseas individuals
“The good news is that the game is [still] on,” the American Citizens Abroad said yesterday, after the House of Representatives unveiled the first draft of the long-awaited Republican tax reform bill –which said nothing one way or other about the taxation of individual Americans who don’t reside in the US.
US Passports Won't Be Seized For FBAR Violations: ACA
Americans and prospective US citizens will not lose their right to a US passport for incurring significant penalties for failing to declare a foreign bank account to the Internal Revenue Service, a taxpayer lobby group has said.
Group Nears Finish Line in Scoring Residency-Based Taxation
“The key to this is to have a really good baseline picture of what’s out there in the world and what the numbers are. There was not a good baseline for taxing Americans overseas. You cannot go waltzing into this unless you have [that] baseline,”
ACA: Tax Reform Should Tackle The Worldwide Tax System
"Often overlooked and misunderstood by the Congress, US citizens living and working overseas now appear to be poised to benefit from the Administration and Congress' desire for tax reform. There is a real possibility that new international tax rules will be passed in a greater tax reform overhaul and these rules will no doubt address tax policy for individuals as well as corporations."
Trump Tax Plan and You: WSJ Answers More of Your Questions
"...lawmakers are considering radical changes to how U.S. companies are taxed on foreign earnings, and changes may be afoot for individuals living overseas. Such changes often go hand in hand, according to Charles Bruce, a lawyer with American Citizens Abroad (ACA), an advocacy group.
Many overseas Americans have chafed under stepped-up enforcement of complex U.S. tax rules affecting them in recent years, and record numbers have renounced their U.S. citizenship.
ACA recently issued a side-by-side comparison of current law with the proposed changes, which it says would prevent abusive offshore accounts but ease compliance for those living abroad."
US political parties, other overseas groups ramp up resi-based tax campaign
“Taxing [expat Americans] based on citizenship dates from the Civil War, and was put in place for reasons no longer in keeping with the international world economy of today,” the ACA said in July, in comments submitted to a Senate Finance Committee on Reforming
Tax for Overseas Americans.
“RBT would translate into more jobs for Americans and more exports, given that it would allow small businesses to deploy employees overseas to sell US goods and services,” ACA executive director Marylouise Serrato added, in the ACA’s submission.
Potential tax changes for Americans in Panama
"For American individuals, residency-based taxation (“RBT”) treatment would provide a solution to these problems in the form of “territorial” treatment. This would mean that Americans abroad would only be taxed on U.S.-source income. Led by groups like American Citizens Abroad, which proposed RBT to Congress in 2016, efforts to make this change have steadily progressed. Since the 2016 elections, these efforts have “gone public,” with grassroots lobbying and “crowd-funding” of the costs of revenue estimates.”
Possible Changes on Taxation for U.S. Citizens in Mexico and Abroad
“Under RBT, an American residing anywhere outside the United States would not be subjected to U.S. tax on her worldwide income. She would be taxed on certain income from U.S. sources, such as, U.S.-source interest, dividends and gains from the sale of U.S. real state property,” said Bruce.
This transition from citizenship-based to residency-based taxation wouldn’t be difficult given the fact that tax rules for non-residents are already in place in the United States in the form of withholding taxes.
“This tax, if it applies, is imposed by means of the normal system of withholding tax, which is applied to non-U.S. [foreign] individuals and, with RBT, would be applied to nonresident U.S. citizens,” said Bruce.
Now it’s Swiss expats who are struggling to keep their homeland accounts
"For years, American and British expatriates have complained of the difficulties they’ve faced in trying to keep bank accounts back in their home countries. Indeed, the problem has been so severe in recent years for Americans that the American Citizens Abroad helped to arrange for the US State Department Federal Credit Union to create an offshore account designed specifically for American expats. (This special account, launched last year, enabled the ACA and the US State Department Credit Union team to win the Best International US Services Provider award at this publication’s 2016 International Fund and Product Awards event in October.)..."
Why more Americans are handing in their citizenship
"...In testimony submitted last month to Congress, the ACA noted that the only other country with a similar taxation rule was war-town Eritrea. 'An American citizen who … has resided outside the U.S. all her life, who owns no property in the U.S. and who earns no U.S. source income, is required to file returns and pay U.S. taxes the same as someone living in St. Louis,' the ACA said. 'The fact that she also pays tax to the country where she resides makes no difference.'"
Double taxation could be thing of the past
"As Congress works on “territoriality” for corporations, the door has been opened for enactment of a change for individuals from citizenship-based taxation to residency-based taxation. For individuals, residency-based taxation equates to “territorial” treatment. Led by groups such as American Citizens Abroad, efforts to make this change have steadily progressed. Since the 2016 elections, these efforts have “gone public”, with grassroots lobbying and “crowdfunding” of the costs of revenue estimates."
How a CU partnership is helping expats gain account access abroad
"...Mary Louise Serrato, Executive Director at ACA, told Credit Union Journal that ACA worked to find a solution to this problem and allow Americans overseas who did not have a U.S. residential address to continue to have access to U.S. financial products -- as many in the community still have a need for U.S.-based financial services. Hence, the partnership with SDFCU."
International Business Times (May 12, 2017)
Trump Tax Plan
"...FATCA is not a new tax but an additional reporting mandate for people with overseas assets; it closed loopholes left open by previous offshore account reporting rules and applies to the relatively well-off. ... Under agreements with foreign governments, banks in those countries must report those assets to the IRS as well, or face a 30 percent withholding penalty.
"Charles Bruce, who serves as legal counsel to American Citizens Abroad and specializes in tax compliance, said he’d worked with people who’d contacted him through the advocacy group after considering renouncing their U.S. citizenship to avoid the possibility of unknowingly breaking IRS or Treasury rules. One woman living in Scotland, for example, feared she would’ve had to pay an exhorbitant fee to see a specialist who could make sure she properly complied...'I believe banks want their business plan to be dealing with compliant customers,' he said. 'You can’t help people cheat on their home country taxes. That’s not a good business to be in. It’s exactly the kind of ugly business that can ruin your reputation.'
"American Citizens Abroad, along with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who testified at [a House subcommittee] hearing, have advocated for U.S. citizens living in foreign countries to be taxed by their countries of residence, a policy known as the same country exemption..."
Daily Tax Report (May 10, 2017)
No U.S. Private Debt Collectors for Americans Overseas: IRS
"Americans living overseas don’t have to worry that U.S.-based private debt collectors will be trying to find them under an IRS program, the agency told Bloomberg BNA late May 10.
"'The companies participating in the private debt collection program are only licensed to operate in U.S. states and territories,' the Internal Revenue Service said in a statement. 'As a result, the IRS is excluding taxpayers who live outside the U.S. from the private debt collection effort.'
"The news brought immediate praise from American Citizens Abroad. The group had asked for an exemption from the program in a May 5  letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The letter cited concerns that American taxpayers living overseas don’t have adequate information about how the program—created in 2015 under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (Pub. L. No. 114-94)—would work.
"Marylouise Serrato, executive director of American Citizens Abroad, called the IRS’s decision 'fantastic news' in an interview late May 10.
"Even for U.S. citizens who didn’t know about the program, 'it takes away one more complication for them. I think most Americans would be relieved' that they won’t be confronted by private debt collectors, Serrato said."
Tax Notes International (April 3, 2017)
Group Pursuing Score of Residency Taxation to Prove Neutrality
"...'It’s got to be two things. It’s got to be revenue neutral and it has to be tight on abuse,' Charles M. Bruce of Bonnard Lawson and legal counsel for the group said about the group’s [ACA] middle-of-the road approach. 'It is absolutely the case for a significant number of these people that [what motivates them] is saving with reporting and not being worried about the system, which is scary to them. And a lot of them are not being driven by the taxes,' he said."
The Hill (April 5, 2017)
Americans abroad lobby for tax changes
"...Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the nonpartisan group American Citizens Abroad, said that 'it’s very difficult to comply with the tax code once you’re overseas' and that residency-based taxation would fit nicely with GOP proposals to move to a 'territorial' tax system where corporations’ foreign earnings aren’t subjected to U.S. tax..."
The Hill (March 21, 2017)
Group raising funds to promote tax changes for Americans living abroad
"The American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation is raising money so that it can commission professional revenue estimates that it can use to show Congress that tax changes to help U.S. citizens living abroad would not add to the deficit.
"ACA Executive Director Marylouise Serrato said that her group's meetings with lawmakers' offices lead her to believe that that legislation that moves to residency-based taxation 'is eminently doable.'"
U.S. Treasury Passes on Same-Country Exemption. Too Bad.
ACA Legal Counsel opinion piece on the US Treasury passing on Same-Country exemption for FATCA published in Tax Analyst.
Expats Find a Home for Their Money at State Department Credit Union
"...The SDFCU has experience working with expats; for years, it has offered accounts to Americans who work at embassies and other locations abroad. Under an agreement reached with ACA last year, any member of the association is eligible to open an SDFCU account (membership in ACA costs $70 a year, $55 for seniors). You don’t need a U.S. address to open an account, and you don’t have to be a federal employee..."
USA Today (Feb. 9, 2017)
More and more Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship — here's why
"...Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the advocacy group American Citizens Abroad, said her group has heard from people who were shunned by foreign banks because of the added burden of compliance.
"'Many are doing it because, simply, their lives and livelihoods are overseas and they can't function any more. What do you do when you can no longer bank your paycheck?' Serrato said. 'This narrative that Americans don't want to pay their taxes, that's not a fair representation of the situation.'..."
International Investment (Feb 8, 2017)
UK’s Boris Johnson among most recent batch of US citizenship renouncers
"...Some American expats and others, such as the American Citizens Abroad, believe that many of the problems Americans overseas are facing could be solved if there were an exception to the law made for institutions in which the expat in question was living, which the ACA calls 'the Same Country Exemption'. Others say that if the US were to join the entire rest of the world in taxing on the basis of residency rather than citizenship, many of the worst problems expat Americans suffer could also be avoided..."
Tax Notes International (December 12, 2016)
Advocacy Group Offers Individual Residency-Based Tax Plan
"American Citizens Abroad is calling for a move away from citizenship-based taxation to residency based taxation for U.S. citizens and resident aliens, in a proposal put forth December 6 .
"The purpose of the six-page, side-by-side comparison between current law and provisions in the new proposal is to 'promote constructive consideration of the subject' and to outline the details of a change that has only been discussed broadly.
"'It is intended to lay out a middle-of-the-road version, which then can be examined and modified,' an accompanying press release states about its proposal to generally tax only U.S.-source income. 'It will provide a starting point for developing revenue estimates on the cost of switching from citizenship-based to residencybased taxation. It is, in other words, a form of baseline approach to the subject.'"
Expatbriefing.com (Decembre 8, 2016)
American Expats Lobbying For Residence-Based Taxation
"In a recent proposal, American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has set out a detailed description of its proposal for the enactment of residency-based taxation (RBT), rather than the existing citizenship-based taxation (CBT) system, for American expats.
"Under the current CBT, Americans abroad remain subject to US taxation as though they were still US residents. Under RBT, only US residents –whether Americans or foreigners – would be subject to US income, estate, and gift taxation, while Americans resident abroad would be taxed under essentially the same rules applicable to nonresident aliens.
"ACA therefore proposes that, as part of a general tax reform package, an election should be provided to citizens who are long-term nonresident citizens to be taxed as nonresident aliens if they meet certain conditions – for example, a minimum three-year period of residence abroad. ..."
Expat vote seen key in US election, but candidates avoid committing firmly to its causes
"...the non-profit, Washington, DC-based American Citizens Abroad advocacy group wrote to the two main party candidates as well as to the two leading independent candidates, asking for their positions on eight key issues 'affecting Americans living and working overseas', as it explained in a press statement.
"However, as ACA executive director Marylouise Serrato told International Investment last week, unlike in previous election years, the organisation didn’t receive responses from any of the candidates to its letters.
“'It is not clear why there was no response,' she added. 'You would need to ask the individuals we sent the requests to. We did try to follow up with phone calls, but nothing came of that either.'
"'The first hurdle was to identify the person within each of the candidates’ retinues who was responsible for handling these kinds of requests.'
"Summing up, Seratto said, 'We haven’t seen any official statement by either party or candidate that says "this is concretely what we’re going to do for the American community abroad if we get elected".'"
LearnVest.com (November 1, 2016)
Tempted to Move Abroad? 5 Things You Need to Know First
"...What if your job is with a U.S. company that is sponsoring and paying for your relocation abroad? Be sure to go through the terms of the contract with a fine-tooth comb before signing on the dotted line, says Jonathan Lachowitz, CFP®, founder of White Lighthouse Investment Management, which specializes in cross-border financial planning.
"Make sure there are certain provisions in your contract, such as a clause that brings you back home in case you lose your job while overseas, protections that guarantee repatriation expenses once your contract is over and an allocation for an independent tax advisor, since your taxes will get complicated. Also, says Lachowitz, don’t assume your employer’s human resources department or the relocation specialists they’ve hired will have all the answers you need.
"...The good news is the U.S. tax code does offer some provisions that can help reduce or eliminate the possibility of double taxation for expats. For instance, you may be eligible to claim foreign tax credits, or you may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion, which allows expats to exclude paying taxes on a certain amount of their foreign income (for tax year 2015, for example, that amount was $100,800).
"Of course, it’ll help if you get advice from local tax and financial planning pros, 'because it can certainly be a shock to the system if you suddenly realize that your tax burden actually has been increased by taking on an overseas assignment,' says Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the expat advocacy group American Citizens Abroad."
SWI swissinfo.ch (October 20, 2016)
US ambassador asks Swiss banks to service Americans
"...US citizens living abroad are being denied banking services in a number of countries, not just Switzerland, according to ACA Executive Director Marylouise Serrato. Furthermore, US banks are also kicking out US clients who reside in other countries for fear of running afoul of regulations – both in the US and other countries.
"ACA is lobbying the US Treasury to ease the scope of FATCA. It believes that tax compliant Americans abroad, or the foreign banks that serve them in their country of residence, should not be obliged to report accounts under FATCA.
"'The focus of FATCA was to identify the offshore accounts of US citizens who live in the US,' Serrato told swissinfo.ch. 'We do not believe the legislation was intended to catch up with Americans legitimately living abroad and who need local accounts.'"
International Investment (September 26, 2016)
US political parties target expats, as prez campaign heads into final weeks
"... the American Citizens Abroad in August wrote to the presidential candidates in order to obtain their official stance on eight key issues of concern to expats. In addition to their stance with respect to the “same country exemption” amendment for FATCA, the candidates were asked what their positions were with respect to a proposal that the US federal tax regime be changed to a residence-based system, “like every one of the 50 states, and…virtually every other country in the world”, and how they feel about certain proposed changes to the so-called Foreign Bank Account Reporting requirements which, like FATCA, have caused considerable difficulty for many expats.
"An ACA spokesperson told International Investment that it has “not heard back from the candidates” with respect to its letter, but added that “we will be following up with their offices this week to try and get a response”.
"To see a copy of the ACA’s letter, click here."
International Investment website: http://www.internationalinvestment.net/other/us-political-parties-target-expats-prez-campaign-heads-final-weeks/
"Curbed" (September 20, 2016)
How to move abroad: Practical advice for anxious Americans
"It’s common for political partisans to say a particular electoral outcome may force them to make a dramatic move and head to another country. While nobody is advocating any post-election exit, if it’s a move you’re seriously considering, it’s worth doing right. After all, there’s a rich tradition of Americans living as expats, from the literary journeys of prominent authors to post-collegiate explorations of life on the other side of the globe.
"Curbed spoke to three experts with experience moving overseas—Marylouise Serrato, Executive Director of American Citizens Abroad; Alexandra Talty, a writer and world-traveler who has spent time in Beirut and the Dominican Republic; and Ben Tyrrell, head of MoveHub, an international moving service—to pick up tips and advice about relocating to another country. Here’s some timely advice on the exigencies of becoming an expat. (And, if you decide the election has left you no choice but to bail [out], make sure you register to vote the next time around)."
Libertas Repubblica di San Marino (September 17, 2016)
Cittadini americani all'estero: a Roma l'incontro tra San Marino e American Citizens Abroad
"Si sono svolti nella Capitale italiana nei giorni scorsi alcuni importanti incontri per trattare le problematiche afferenti ai cittadini americani residenti all’estero. In particolare, al suo arrivo da Washington D.C. la Dott.ssa Marylouise Serrato, Executive Director dell’Associazione American Citizens Abroad si è incontrata con i sammarinesi Dott. John Mazza e Rag. Palmiro Zanotti per prendere in esame la situazione dei doppi cittadini RSM-USA e per avviare una collaborazione che consenta, grazie all’intervento della Dott.ssa Serrato, di prendere contatti direttamente a Washington D.C. con le Autorità americane, in primis con i membri del Congresso degli Stati Uniti, per convincerli della necessità di avviare i negoziati con San Marino per la firma degli accordi bilaterali in materia di doppia imposizione e di Social Security."
USA Today (Sept. 6, 2016)
8 million Americans living abroad may tip a close election
"They could not vote until 1975, when the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act became law. Since then, non-partisan organizations, including Vote From Abroad and Overseas Vote Foundation, have offered help, such as how to register from abroad.
"Those living abroad have different priorities from voters who live in the U.S.'It’s inevitable that our varied perspectives are influenced by having lived under other countries' political systems,' said Dorothy van Schooneveld, a former lawyer who moved to France from Bloomington, Ind., in 1987.
"The top voter issues in the United States are economy and terrorism, according to a Pew Research Center survey in July. While those are important issues to expatriates as well, their top concerns are taxes and the requirement to report financial assets deposited in foreign banks, according to American Citizens Abroad, a worldwide advocacy group for expats."
Tax Notes International (Aug. 22, 2016)
Will the FATCA Same-Country Exception Become the Rule?
(Andrew Velarde, Tax Analysts)
"With final regs under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act pending, advocates of the same country exemption are anxiously waiting to see whether it will be in the guidance, but Treasury is not tipping its hand. ...
"According to Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the ACA, the group has had multiple meetings and communications with Treasury addressing the possibility of a same-country exception, and Treasury seemed receptive to the idea. Serrato did not go so far as to express any certainty in its adoption, however."
Full article (pdf posted by permission)
International Investment (August 16, 2016)
American expat group calls for ‘Same Country’ FATCA exemption
"Under the 'Same Country' exemption, as the ACA and a number of other US expat groups envision it, a US person who genuinely lives in a foreign country and has an ordinary bank account, that institution should be able to treat it as if they were not American, and that individual also would not be required to list the account when filing their IRS Form 8938, which is a 'Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets'.
"Instead, the individual would provide a 'mercifully short and to the point' form to their bank (or 'foreign financial institution' or FFI, in FATCA-speak) and the IRS, explaining the facts of this arrangement, the ACA told Stack in its letter.
"'There is no doubt that the "lockout" effect exists,' the ACA letter continues.
"'As we found in our investigation, a "Same Country" exemption would make a difference – changing banks’ behaviour towards Americans abroad – in that it addresses the key concerns of banks relating to FATCA.
"'Moreover, the "Same Country" exemption will benefit the administration of the voluntary compliance system. Americans abroad, in order to obtain the benefit of greater access to banking services, will want to timely file their US tax return, with the "Same Country" election attached…help[ing] the persistent problem of noncompliance.'"
Tax-News . com (August 15, 2016)
US Expats Urge 'Same Country' FATCA Exemption
"American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has advocated the inclusion of a 'Same Country Exemption' (SCE) in the final Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) regulations, soon to be issued by the US Treasury Department.
"In a letter to Robert B. Stack, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs, ACA urged Treasury to exempt Americans residing in a foreign country from the rules requiring foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to report on US account holders' accounts.
"In its letter, ACA wrote that the provision in the final versions of the FATCA regulations 'could be surprisingly simple. The accompanying form to be provided to the FFI and the IRS by the individual "electing in" could be mercifully short and to the point.'
"There is no doubt, it added, that a 'lockout' effect exists against American customers from FFIs in foreign jurisdictions, but that a Same Country Exemption would make a difference in that it addresses the key concerns of FFIs relating to FATCA.
"ACA concluded: 'The Same Country Exemption will benefit the administration of the US voluntary compliance system. Americans abroad, in order to obtain the benefit of greater access to banking services, will want to timely file their US tax return, with the Same Country election attached. This will help with the persistent problem of noncompliance.'"
The Hindu (August 7, 2016)
U.S. tax hunt overseas causes global headaches
"A repeal of FATCA is unlikely as long as the U.S. retains its citizenship based taxation.
"However, a modification through a ‘same country exemption’ is more realistic and this is an area advocacy groups such as American Citizens Abroad (ACA), are working on. A same country exemption seeks a FATCA reporting exemption for everyday bank accounts used by expatriate Americans in their host countries.
"'ACA has been speaking extensively with Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and recently sent him documentation on his request for further information on Same Country Exemption,' Marylouise Serrato, Executive Director at ACA told The Hindu."
CNBC . com (June 25, 2016)
Moving abroad if Trump or Clinton wins? Not so fast
"The next time you hear people say they'll flee U.S. soil if so-and-so wins the presidential election, ask if they're familiar with the financial life of an expat...
"'There are a lot of issues that Americans overseas face, and it isn't easy,' said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of advocacy group American Citizens Abroad. 'We're trying to address some of [the complications] through regulatory change.'
"Specifically, Serrato's group is working to get changes made to the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
"Commonly called FATCA, it requires foreign financial institutions — banks, insurance companies, stock brokerages, hedge funds, trusts, etc. — to file formal reports about accounts held by American citizens, whether they live in the United States or abroad. The penalty for noncompliance is a 30 percent withholding on any U.S. investments held by the institution..."
Wall Street Journal (June 10, 2016)
ACA-Members/SDFCU State-side banking product highlighted in the Wall Street Journal
Good News Tax Delinquents: The Government Isn’t Yet Taking Your Passport
"Do you owe back taxes to Uncle Sam? Your passport is safe—for now.
"Late last year, Congress enacted a law that would revoke passports of U.S. citizens who are “seriously delinquent” on tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service. The threshold is $50,000 or more, and it includes penalties and interest.
"Roughly six months after the provision took effect on Jan. 1, however, there are no reports of enforcement so far.
"The reason is likely because no regulations detailing it have come out. Currently, the IRS and State Department are working to write such regulations. People familiar with the matter don’t expect them until mid-November or even later.
"The passport provision is of special concern to Americans living abroad, because they often have to use their passports for routine activities of daily life, such as banking or registering a child for school. They also may not receive notices mailed by the IRS. ...
"...In addition, American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group, recently concluded an agreement with State Department Federal Credit Union to offer its U.S. bank accounts, credit cards and other services to ACA members. (ACA dues are $70 a year, and the credit union isn’t a unit of the State Department.) ..."
Monthly News, BR Anchor Publishing (June 2016)
ACA's Roland Crim writes on how to vote easily while overseas.
"Ensuring a Seamless Overseas Voter Experience"
"So your move is planned, your future residence identified, the furniture movers are scheduled and you are ticking off the items on your checklist to ensure that your upcoming international move goes smoothly. But have you considered 'voting' as a checklist item?...Most importantly, remember that voting is more than compliance with an administrative calendar, It's a civic duty for everyone."
Tax-News.com (May 4, 2016)
ACA messaging on RBT cited again in a major tax media outlet.
"Residence-Based Taxation Put Forward For Americans Abroad"
"With regard to the increasing talk in the US Congress on tax reform, American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has provided the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee with a full reform proposal for the enactment of residence-based taxation (RBT) for American expatriates.
"ACA has said lawmakers should enact RBT instead of the present citizenship-based taxation (CBT) system because it would reduce compliance burdens for expatriates, eliminate double taxation and costly double reporting, and improve competitiveness..."
USA Today (April 13, 2016)
"You think filing taxes is hard? Talk to Americans living abroad"
"...Tax relief is not on the horizon. The Geneva-based advocacy group American Citizens Abroad has pushed for years for taxation based on residence rather than citizenship. This way, the IRS would tax income generated only in the United States, such as from real estate and dividends on U.S. stocks, but no longer tax income from overseas. 'We're in constant contact with members of Congress and the Treasury to try to convince them that this is a good thing, but our argument gets lost in the shuffle,' said Anne Hornung-Soukup, the advocacy group's finance director."
International Investment (March 1, 2016)
"Amer Citz Abroad to help expats with banking needs"
"After years of lobbying US government officials over the problems that American expats have been having in being able to get bank accounts and mortgages while abroad, the American Citizens Abroad organisation is partnering with the State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) to provide such expats with US-citizen-friendly banking services.
"The ACA said it had developed the ACA/SDFCU Account, as it is called, in cooperation with the SDFCU. It is designed to give ordinary American expats a full range of banking services without their needing to provide either a US address or be affiliated with a government agency."
Al Jazeera (January 29, 2016)
"The cost of not paying taxes in the US"
"Americans' passports could be seized if they owe more than $50,000 in taxes, but could this law be unfairly applied? ...
"Marylouise Serrato, an executive director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group, said she was 'very concerned' about the new rules and is working with the IRS and State Department to ensure they are implemented fairly.
"'Whatever systems are put in place, they must certainly take into consideration how they affect Americans overseas and ensure those people are not negatively impacted,' Serrato told Al Jazeera.
"'It would be tragic for somebody who is trying to get out of a dangerous zone internationally and discovers that, for some reason, their passport is revoked or denied.'"
South China Morning Post (January 10, 2016)
"US expats fear loss of passports as tax regulations kick in"
"A new tax collection provision which took effect on January 1  has prompted concerns among United States citizens living and working abroad — including tens of thousands in Hong Kong — that they could lose their passports if they fall foul of the taxman.
"Charles M. Bruce, legal counsel for American Citizens Abroad, a non-profit organisation based in Washington DC, described the use of an individual’s passport as a 'lever' as too harsh for an American living overseas , adding: 'They will be afraid that their lives can be ruined.'
"He fears mistakes in the system which are not the fault of individual tax payers said could lead to 'terrible' consequences."