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Frequently-Asked Questions

Why is ACA needed?

US citizens overseas need an organization with knowledge and expertise in advocating to Congress.  Unlike some other countries, the United States government does not have any formalized, direct representative relationship with its citizens living abroad.  Americans living overseas vote for their representatives based on their last residential address in the United States but have no one dedicated voice into Congress.  Representatives are often unaware of how domestic legislation and regulations will affect US citizens living overseas and sometimes laws passed have unforeseen and negative consequences. ACA’s advocacy educates the Congress and Administration in the matters affecting the community of 9 millions Americans overseas (US State Department estimate) and provides offices with proposals to address problems resulting from legislative and regulatory laws.

Is my membership fee tax-deductible?

ACA, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. Memberships paid to ACA, Inc. are not tax deductible. Donations to the ACA Global Foundation (ACAGF), a 501(c)(3) organization, however, are tax-deductible. For more information, see the Donate page.


Why are there two different organizations and what does each do?

ACA, Inc. is officially allowed to advocate on behalf of its members in front of Congress, the Executive branch and elsewhere, in order to be more effective in working with the US Government, to fulfill the goals which the original organization, American Citizens Abroad, established when it was founded in 1978. ACA, Inc. can meet and otherwise communicate with and educate legislators and other government officials on issues affecting Americans overseas. Membership fees are not tax-deductible. The organization cannot endorse or otherwise work on behalf of candidates.

The ACA Global Foundation (ACAGF) works to promote the well-being of Americans abroad, identify issues and actions that affect this segment of American citizenry, develop information and research on issues and actions, provide information and research on Americans abroad to the legislative, administrative and judicial branches of the US government and, to disseminate such information to the media and other communication channels. ACA Global Foundation cannot lobby and cannot endorse political candidates. Donations to ACA Global Foundation are tax-deductible.

Why are ACA, Inc. and the ACAGF non-profit and non-partisan?

ACA, Inc. and the ACAGF, under the terms of their organizational documents and applicable law, are non-profit and non-partisan organizations. This is important as neither organization supports a political party or individual candidates and is not influenced by any political party platforms. Through these organizations, ACA is able to raise funds and donations to support of our work. The organization, in one of its forms, is able to cooperate with other organizations on a range of educational and other projects. Its directors are also able to serve on advisory committees, working groups and the like, so as to more effectively provide input on issues of concern to Americans abroad.

What are some of ACA and ACAGF's accomplishments?

  • ACA advocacy work, research and proposals has been showcased in leading media publications and tax publications referenced by Congressional legislators and the tax writing committees. 
  • ACA has provided testimony to the IRS and Treasury on the effects of the Transition Tax regime on US citizen business owners living overseas.
  • ACA has developed revenue estimates for an approach to Residency-based taxation (RBT).  Estimates of this nature being key to the passage of tax reform for Americans living and working overseas.
  • ACA has submitted testimony to the Legislative and Tax Writing Committees for use at Hearings to debate tax reform and the effects of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) on Americans living and working overseas.
  • ACA has provided data and information on the community of Americans living and working overseas to the Government Accountability Office for various studies into government legislation and regulations. 
  • ACA was instrumental in getting citizenship legislation rewritten so that children of US citizens who had not met the US residency requirements in order to pass their US citizenship on to their children were eventually able to do so. 
  • ACA was the first organization representing Americans overseas to research, develop and present a proposal for reforming taxation to the key tax committees for Americans living and working overseas: ACA’s Residence-based taxation proposal (RBT)  
  • ACA was responsible for the inclusion of Residence-based taxation (RBT) in key Congressional White Papers and recommendations from the Senate Finance Committee, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the House Ways and Means Committee. 
  • ACA was instrumental in increasing the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) Form 8938 filing thresholds for US citizens living and working overseas, from $50,000 to $200,000. 
  • ACA was instrumental in getting the IRS to introduce a third program of tax compliance with its Streamlined Foreign Offshore Program, which was more adapted to the situation of non-willful Americans overseas non-filers.  This new IRS low-risk compliance program drew heavily on recommendations from ACA’s Comprehensive Compliance Proposal (CCP). 
  • ACA was responsible for uncovering abuse in the OVDI (Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative) program which was entrapping innocent Americans overseas who had, out of error or oversight, not filed past FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) statements. ACA was able to influence IRS/Treasury to revise back filing requirements for those who had made honest mistakes of omission. 
  • ACA was instrumental in showcasing the importance of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) resulting in the introduction of legislation in 2011 by Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Garrett calling for the removal of the cap on FEIE. 
  • ACA was also responsible for bringing to light the serious concerns and issues that need investigation resulting in Congresswoman Maloney’s introduction of HR 597 which calls for a Presidential Commission to investigate a variety of issues affecting the overseas American community. 
  • ACA developed a proposal for Same Country Exemption, which will alleviate the foreign financial bank lock-out problem for Americans living overseas. This proposal is supported by the National Taxpayer Advocate and also in Congresswoman Maloney’s bill, The Overseas Americans Financial Access Act. 
  • ACA has developed ongoing dialogues with key offices in Washington, DC so that issues and problems facing the community get the attention they deserve. Without ACA's voice, your only line to Washington is via your Congressional Representative or Senator which historically has not been effective, given that your issue or concern does not represent a large voting block or constituency back in the United States. 
  • ACA has been instrumental in getting media coverage of a myriad of issues concerning Americans living and working overseas. ACA is regularly quoted in major media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Newsweek, Time and the Washington Post. 
  • ACA has developed the Tax Preparer Directory in order to provide Americans with the resources they need to remain tax compliant.
  • ACA was called upon to testify at the National Taxpayer Advocate Public Forum in May 2016 which put on record with the US Government, the compliance and tax problems facing Americans living and working overseas. Full report here...
  • ACA developed the ACA/SDFCU banking product to give Americans overseas access to a full range of US-based banking products to help them manage their lives while living and working overseas.  Full explanation here...
  • ACA's research and case work has been used in the development of congressional legislation and cited in US judicial rulings.
  • Search here for ACA's past work on issue important to the overseas Americans community.