Response to Senator Carl Levin
Statement attributable to American Citizens Abroad (ACA) in response to Sen. Carl Levin’s “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” Unveiled July 12, 2011
“Senator Levin’s 61-page Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act is well intentioned in its objectives but economically crippling in practice. We are already seeing the ripple effects of the Senator’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which is causing ordinary Americans to lose their bank accounts and exposing them to financial ruin. While ACA supports efforts to track genuine tax evaders, the millions of law abiding citizens who will be swept up in this dragnet is the equivalent of using a bulldozer to destroy an ant hill.
The average Americans living and working overseas are exactly the kinds of “honest, hardworking Americans” Senator Levin claims to protect, yet his bill will do the opposite. Among those living overseas are Peace Corp volunteers, employees of multinationals, clergy, housewives, and others, 44% of which are making less than $46,000 annually and 69% under $81,000. What the Senator’s press release doesn’t tell you about FATCA is that these individuals could risk losing their bank accounts or face enormous penalties for errors or omissions on their tax returns – in some cases a sizable portion of their life savings – even if they owe no taxes at all.
What’s more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, total foreign investment in the United States currently exceeds $21 trillion. If even a portion of this investment is lost – as Japanese, Australian, and European banking associations have already threatened to do – it will far exceed any sum, and far less than the $100 billion fantasy, that Senator Levin expects to collect as a result of this ill-conceived legislation.
Our crippling trade imbalance and ongoing debt crisis should be a wake-up call for government officials to stop hindering America’s competitiveness overseas with bills such as FATCA and the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and employ fair tax policies that track tax evaders without hurting law abiding citizens and our economy in the process.”
American Citizens Abroad (ACA), the voice of more than 5.2 million Americans overseas, is a non-partisan, non-profit association of volunteers based in Geneva, Switzerland, with worldwide membership in over 90 countries. ACA has represented the interests of American citizens residing overseas for more than 30 years on issues ranging from banking and taxation to voting registration. For more information, visitwww.americansabroad.org
For more information, please CONTACT:
Marylouise Serrato, Executive Director
American Citizens Abroad
Contact us by email here