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ACA to Congress: American Overseas Issues need attention not only during a pandemic

 

VIA EMAIL

September 25, 2020

 

The Honorable Edward Markey
United States Senate
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Joaquin Castro
U.S. House of Representatives
2241 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Diane Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
United States Senate
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Robert Menendez
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Ron Wyden
United States Senate
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

 

We are writing on behalf of Americans Citizens Abroad, Inc. (ACA).  ACA is a Washington, DC based, non-partisan, non-profit section 501(c)(4) representing the interests of Americans living and working overseas.  Alongside of ACA is our sister entity, American Citizens Global Foundation (ACAGF), a non-profit section 501(c)(3) educational and research organization.

Recently you indicated support of the overseas Americans community during this time of COVID through proposed legislation to assist with repatriation—return of individuals to the US—and efforts to ensure the ability to vote from overseas: (https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-and-rep-castro-announce-legislation-to-expand-protections-for-american-citizens-overseas-during-coronavirus-pandemic and https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=B3FECA87-DE2D-4CF0-BDF5-9C13D4972E44).

We applaud these efforts to help Americans overseas who wish to repatriate and to guarantee those living and working overseas their right to vote in the upcoming elections, however, it should not take a time of crisis or a pandemic for Congress to turn its attention to overseas Americans.  For far too long Americans overseas, their issues and problems relating to US policy, legislation and regulation, have not been given the serious consideration they deserve by Congress. 

ACA has met with the tax representatives in many of your offices to discuss the myriad of tax and compliance problems facing the community, many of which are causing Americans overseas to lose their ability to work, lose their financial security,  lose economic opportunities for themselves and the US, and perhaps most tragically, is leading some individuals to renounce their US citizenship simply to survive.

ACA and other overseas organizations, including both Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas, support tax reform that puts the United States in line with the global norm of residence-based taxation (RBT).  For US citizens legitimately living and working overseas, RBT would exclude from US taxation income generated outside the US and not connected with US economic activity.  In the past ten years, legislation such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the renewed enforcement of the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), has aggravated the situation for Americans overseas, forcing many to lose their foreign financial relationships – essentially leaving them without banking and investment accounts and costing them thousands in compliance costs.

Various proposals have been put forth over time to address the tax and compliance problems facing the community, but what is lacking are comprehensive hearings so that all the issues facing Americans overseas can be put on the table for Congress and everyone to examine.  Only in this manner can the appropriate legislation and regulations to correct the problems be put forth and passed into law.  The overseas Americans community supports the call for hearings as over 15,000 messages have been sent into Congress (many to your offices) through ACA’s write-in campaign calling for hearings.

You have shown an interest in, and an understanding of, the importance of Americans overseas.  You understand the significance of protecting their rights as US Citizens.  ACA encourages you to extend your support to hold hearings thus allowing to be put on record all the issues facing the 6 to 8 million Americans who live and work overseas. 

Kind regards.

Marylouise Serrato
Executive Director
American Citizens Abroad

Jonathan Lachowitz
Chairman
American Citizens Abroad

Charles Bruce
Legal Counsel
American Citizens Abroad

 

CC: 

Representative George Holding
Member, House Committee on Ways and Means

Representative Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
Member, Americans Abroad Caucus   

Representative Dina Titus
Member, Americans Abroad Caucus

Representative Carolyn Maloney
Co-Chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus