Legislation to help American expats imminent, London audience told

reprinted with permission of the author Helen Burggraf
American Expat Financial News Service
Photos by Steven Edginton, Politics UK
steven.edginton@hotmail.com

September 24, 2018
updated 1:02 PM CEST, Sep 27

TTFI_London_2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legislation that its proponents say would significantly improve the lot of American expatriates, many of whom have been left reeling by the Trump tax reforms introduced at the end of last year, will be introduced in Congress before the end of the month.

This was the message delivered to a London audience of around 80 mainly expatriate Americans last week by Republican Overseas global chief executive Solomon Yue, (pictured above, far left, and below), and again a few days later to an also mainly expat audience in Paris.

Today Yue is due to bring his message to expats in Frankfurt, with similar events scheduled for Berlin and Rome over the next few days.

Yue’s appearances were his latest on a global whistle-stop tour of key foreign business centers around the world that aims to rally support among – and ideally as well, the active involvement of – American citizens living abroad for legislative changes in the way their country currently taxes them, in the run-up to the midterm elections in November.
Continue reading Legislation to help American expats imminent, London audience told

Non-partisan discussions set for London on efforts to end U.S. citizen-based tax regime-September 17 & 18, 2018

cross posted from AmericanExpatFinance.com

By Helen Burggraf, Editor – September 08, 2018

A panel discussion that will consider recent and growing efforts to convince U.S. lawmakers to end America’s increasingly-unpopular “citizenship-based” tax regime is set to take place at a venue in the Mayfair district of London, on the 18th of September.

American expats with concerns about the way they are being tax are being invited to the event, which is entitled “What’s next: a light at the end of the tunnel? The possible end of U.S. citizenship-based taxation.”

The discussion will feature Solomon Yue, the Oregon-based global chief executive of the Republicans Overseas, who has been a long-time and visible campaigner on behalf of expatriate Americans, but the event’s organizers say he will be joined in London by tax, legal and citizenship experts from across the political spectrum.

Some tax experts who are determinedly non-political, including at least one non-American, will also participate, the event’s organizers, an un-affiliated group of individuals who include some Republican Overseas members, said.

A question-and-answer period will be held at the end.

Last month Yue participated in three similar such events in Toronto, including one that was filmed and posted on YouTube.

This followed an earlier appearance in May in Hong Kong. Yue is set to follow up the London event in coming weeks with similar programs in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and Rome, most of which are being sponsored by the respective local chapters of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Among those scheduled to join Yue at the London event will be John Richardson, a Toronto-based lawyer who specializes in citizenship issues, and who is an American-Canadian dual national himself.

He and Yue are also set to participate in another, more informal event on the subject of America’s expat tax regime, also in London, on the 17th of September, at a venue yet to be decided (but probably near Kings Cross Station). More information about this event will be made available in due course, Richardson said.

When: Tuesday 18 September 2018 – 17:30 to 19:00

Where: Central London location – to be confirmed upon RSVP (nearest tube: Westminster)

Venue: To be provided upon RSVP (nearest tube: Westminster)
Cost: Free to attend

RSVP: drewliquerman@gmail.com by 17:00 Monday 17 September 2018

*******
UPDATE – Wednesday Sept 12 2018

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Solomon Yue WILL NOT be able to attend the “grassroots” meeting on Monday, September 17 listed below. John Richardson will run this program as scheduled.

In addition the meeting mentioned above, we will have a second, more informal program for expats and their families and friends. This format will be a more intimate question and answer session which will be focused on individuals subject to the CBT regime.

When: Monday 17 September 2018 – 19:00 – 21:00
Where: 40 Bernard St, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1LE, UK- across from Russell Square Station
Venue: Pret a Manger
Cost: FREE
Registration: REQUIRED nobledreamer16 at gmail dot com by 5 pm (EDT) Saturday 15 September 2018

MAP
pret a manger russel square station

Reminder – Solomon Yue Visits Toronto

AMChamCanada logoDO_NOT_DELETE_AmCham_Canada_generic_event_image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL OR ANOTHER ONCOMING TRAIN: THE POSSIBLE END OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP-BASED TAXATION

Solomon Yue, CEO of Republicans Overseas will present publicly shareable information about the TTFI bill, and discuss its progress as it journeys through the legislative process. He will be encouraging AmCham Canada to lend its support in the global effort to encourage Congress to move forward with this legislation. Joined by John Richardson and Elena Hanson
When: Thursday, Aug 16, 2018 – 18:15 to 21:00
Where: St. Michael’s College, Alumni Hall, Room 400; 121 St. Joseph Street,Toronto Ontario M5C 3C2, paid parking near building; nearest subway station is Museum)
Cost: $20 +tax. Pre-registration is required. Registrations due August 13.
If you have any questions about the event, please contact carmina@gathersome-events.com
AmCham Toronto TTFI Event

Continue reading Reminder – Solomon Yue Visits Toronto

Why the proposed transition tax, if applied to individual U.S. shareholders living abroad, is analogous to the “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

 

 
The following was written by John Richardson and is a section of a larger piece yet to be published. I will provide the link at the time it is available and of course, have permission to publish this.

When I first read this, two things occurred to me. The OVDP/OVDI process represented a penalty for a failure to report. A failure to report is not a transaction to be recorded or that can be measured in relation to tax that is owed. The “in lieu of FBAR” penalty. The percentage was a figure set by the Treasury Dept with no clear connection to anything other than the value of an asset. So one agreed to allow a certain level of confiscation not based upon any amount of tax owed. The other issue with OVDP/OVDI was that it was an incredible deal for “whales”-that percentage represented far less than what they would have paid all-told. The transition tax is a gift for multi-nationals; moving to a territorial system, they will not pay what they would have been required to pay were they to repatriate the income that they will now, never be required to do.

Notably the Transition Tax is part of reforms to international taxation. The centerpiece of the reforms is that for US corporate shareholders of foreign companies there will no longer be US taxation of foreign earnings. (In other words, the US has forced corporations to move in the direction of territorial taxation). The transition tax is imposed as a mechanism to fund territorial taxation. Corporate shareholders are subject to the Transition tax and receive the benefits of territorial taxation. Individual shareholders (including possibly Americans Abroad) are subject to the Transition tax but do not receive the benefits of territorial taxation. Americans Abroad, who carry on business through non US corporations may be required to fund the move to territorial taxation (unlike corporate shareholders) and will continue to be taxed and taxed in an even more punitive way.

Of course, referring to OVDP/OVDI &/or the Transition Tax as a “gift refers only to multi-national corporations or people of wealth. For “minnows” OVDP/OVDI was an absolute abomination. The Transition Tax, should it apply to small CFC’s ( read “individuals”), will provoke the largest number of renunciations whether official or via “feet”.

This is an absolute breaking point in our process. Now that the rate on liquid assets is highter (15%), once the calculations are done, the effective rate applied to individuals will be over 18%. It will not be a matter of refusal as much as the simple inability to pay it. No one can continue to contribute to financial suicide, law or not.

**************

Why the proposed transition tax, if applied to individual U.S. shareholders living abroad, is analogous to the “Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP)”


by John Richardson

Significantly, the “transition tax” is NOT based on any income realization event. It is based only on the fact of legally earned retained earnings, which are subject to taxation in the country where they were earned.

The transition tax is a calculation based on an “account balance” – specifically the “retained earnings” account balance on the greater of two dates.

It is a mandatory payment which is based on the value of a “foreign asset”.

Therefore, the “transition tax” as applied to Americans abroad has characteristics that are more like “OVDP” than an income tax (which would be based on a realization event).

In any case, the “transition tax” is nothing more than an asset confiscation with nothing in return.

The application of the “transition tax” to Americans abroad would raise U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” to a new and UNPRECEDENTED level of unfairness and obscenity

NO Evidence of Intent to apply the “”Transition Tax” to Small Business Corporations of #AmericansAbroad

 

It appears that we are very likely at a breaking point in this intolerable situation faced by expatriates as regards U.S. application of citizenship-based taxation. Tax reform does not happen often. It is critical that relief for expats occur in the current legislation. Many of us simply will not be around in 30 years for the next shift. It will be completely unacceptable if there is no transition (at the very least) to territorial taxation for individuals. Some people may be forced at this point to renounce if only to put a stop on future tax liability. Some will not choose to become compliant simply because it is expensive, they have no ties to the U.S., no intent to go there, etc.

In addition, there is a very dangerous aspect (the “transition tax”) that appears in both the House and Senate bills; it is arguable that it does NOT apply to small corporations owned by US citizens residing outside the United States. The biggest danger here, is that it may remain unclear. We have seen what has happened in a number of situations when this is the case. Some examples are:

1) People who relinquished citizenship decades ago (and who do not have a CLN) have been told they are still U.S citizens. Not by the State Department, not even by the IRS. And not even by the banks per sé. It is the position of many members of the tax compliance community. This is completely unacceptable and no expat should accept such a conclusion without investigating the citizenship aspects of the situation.

2) Accidentals have been told the same thing; they are Americans and must become tax compliant. Again, not directly by the US government (as in “coming after them) but by members of the tax compliance community. This is also unacceptable and no one should become compliant without a complete examination of whether it is in his/her best interests (or not).

3) People who did NOT belong in the OVDP/OVDI programs were put there by tax professionals with hideous and tragic results. The law says one has to file, nowhere does the law say one had to enter one of those programs. If anybody should have known that, it would be the tax compliance community.

4)The IRS has not given a ruling on whether or not 877A is to be applied retroactively. This is another area where tax compliance professionals have decided it is the law. This is definitely NOT in the best interest of anyone renouncing their citizenship and most definitely should not be applied to anyone who renounced/relinquished before it became law.

5)One of the most egregious and limiting situations involves owning foreign mutual funds. There is nothing to support the practice of treating non-US mutual funds as PFICs. Again, guess who insists on this treatment?

All of the above points are as unacceptable as is a lack of change for Americans abroad in tax reform. We have had enough.
 
THIS HAS TO STOP
 
We, as a community, have to make a conscious decision that what they say does not apply to us, is not in our best interests. The application of U.S. law outside of its borders is highly questionable, and should not override the laws of the countries we are residents of. (The IGAs do not represent approval/acceptance of US policy; they are merely proof of what happens when the US threatens to destroy the economies of other nations). “It’s U.S. law.” This is always the argument used to justify application of these ridiculous actions, often with absurd results. Penalties, FATCA “outing” us, application of the Reed Amendment (or worse, the ExPatriot Act if it ever passes)- all can be quite frightening if applied as the tax community claims. Yet there is nothing to suggest that these things are realities. The only people who have been harmed by these things are the ones who are/or tried to comply.

It is time to resist not only the idea that U.S. law should run our lives but also, that the tax community should determine what courses of action we should take. We need to be consistent in our message on this, on FB, in tweets, blogs etc. No more. No more. No more…………

**********

Shortly before the House of Representatives released the Markup for H.R. 1 a Canadian tax lawyer Max Reed authored an article (also here ) claiming that:

New punitive rules that apply to US citizens who own a business. Currently, most US citizens who own a Canadian corporation that is an active business don’t pay tax on the company’s profits until they take the money out. The House plan changes this. It imposes a new, very complicated, set of rules on US citizens that own the majority of a foreign corporation. The proposal would tax the US citizen owner personally on 50% of the entire income of the Canadian corporation that is above the amount set by an extremely complex formula. At best, this will make the compliance requirements for US citizens that own a business extremely complicated and expensive. At worst, this will cause double tax exposure for US citizens who own a Canadian business on 50% of the profits of that business.
Imposition of a 12% one-time tax on deferred profits. Under the new rules, the US corporate tax system is transitioning to a territorial model. As part of this transition, the new rules impose a one-time 12% tax on income that was deferred in a foreign corporation. Although perhaps unintentional, since US citizens will not benefit from a territorial model, the new rules impose a 12% tax on any cash that has been deferred since 1986. Take a simple example to illustrate the enormity of the problem. A US citizen doctor moved to Canada in 1987. She has been deferring income from personal tax in her medical corporation and investing it. Now, 12% of the total deferred income since 1986 would be subject to a one-time tax in the US. That may be a significant US tax bill.
It is unclear what, if anything, will be enacted. However, US citizens in Canada – particularly those that own a business – should pay close attention as their tax situation could get significantly worse. Renouncing US citizenship may become an increasingly attractive option.

There has been much discussion of whether or not this is going to happen (assuming a tax reform bill containing these measures actually is passed).
A very good argument for why this should NOT apply to #AmericansAbroad is
here.

The following comment appeared today on Brock. It reiterates the position that the “transition tax” cannot be viewed as applying to Americans abroad who own small corporations. We can expect that tax professionals are going to claim it does. Start now to learn why it doesn’t make sense and why no one should listen to the notion they owe a tax to the US based upon this new “tax reform.”
 
USCitizenAbroad
November 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm
 
@ Patricia Moon

With respect to the discussion of whether there is a tax on the retained earnings of Canadian Controlled Private Corporations:

First, pick this discussion of the changes to the territorial tax system for corporations at the 35 minute mark here:

https://www.finance.senate.gov/hearings/continuation-of-the-open-executive-session-to-consider-an-original-bill-entitled-the-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act

There is NO evidence of any intention to apply the “transition tax” to anything other than large corporations and certainly not to small business corporations owned by Americans abroad.

Second, an interesting summary was published by the Toronto law firm Oslers which talks about U.S. tax reform and makes NO reference to a possible tax on the retained earnings of CCPCs.

TaxAuthorities/US Tax Reform for Busy Canadians

Note no mention that this could affect CCPCs owned by Canadians:

” Foreign minimum tax – Current taxation of “Foreign high returns”:

Under this provision, a U.S. parent corporation would be subject to
current U.S. taxation (at the new 20% rate) on 50% of its controlled
foreign corporations’ (CFCs’) “high returns.” Tax would be required
to be paid on these imputed income streams regardless of whether the
corresponding earnings were actually distributed to the U.S. parent.
“Foreign high returns” are the excess of the CFC’s net income over a
baseline return (7% plus the federal short-term rate) on the CFC’s
adjusted tax bases in depreciable tangible property, reduced by
interest expense included in the CFC’s net income. “Foreign high
returns” would be defined to exclude certain types of income (including
“effectively connected income,” income from the disposition of
commodities produced or extracted by the taxpayer, and income subject
to tax at an effective rate of at least 18%). This provision, which
cuts against the theory of a “pure” territorial tax system, was
designed to counterbalance incentives that may otherwise linger for
U.S. companies to locate high return generating assets/activities (like
intangible property) in offshore locations.”

My feeling is that regardless of the language that this was not intended to apply to Americans abroad.

What should be done:

The danger is that the compliance community will make the law by interpreting this to apply beyond its obvious intention. The obvious solution is to NOT use the services of any tax firm who interprets the law as applying to CCPCs. After all, it was the compliance firms who created the notion that Canadian mutual funds are PFICs.

US tax reform bill appears to confiscate 12% of retained earnings of certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporations

 

UPDATE November 9, 2017

Today Chairman Brady concluded the “Mark Up” period of his proposed tax legislation. The “Mark Up” period contained NO move to “territorial taxation” for individuals. It did increase increase the “proposed confiscation” of the retained earnings of certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporation, from 12% to 14%.

See the “Manager’s Amendment” here:

summary_of_chairman_amendment_2

Now back to our regular programming …

*******

cross-posted from citizenshipsolutions

by John Richardson, J.D.

US tax reform bill appears to confiscate 12% of retained earnings of certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporations

 
Kudos to Max Reed for his quick analysis of the how the proposed U.S.
tax reform bill might affect Canadians citizen/residents who also have hold U.S. citizenship. You will find the bill here. His analysis, which has been widely discussed at the Isaac Brock Society (beginning here) includes provisions that are very damaging to those who are the owners of Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (noting they are also under assault from Messrs Trudeau and Morneau). The damaging provisions are both prospective and retrospective.

Continue reading US tax reform bill appears to confiscate 12% of retained earnings of certain Canadian Controlled Private Corporations

Will Territorial Taxation Solve All the Problems of #AmericansAbroad?

 


 
Tomorrow’s the big day! Will there be something for us in tomorrow’s Ways & Means Committee bill? Lots of hints suggest something is there. Most seem to expect a shift to territorial taxation for individuals. That’s a great start! There are still likely to be lots of issues remaining and this comment from the Isaac Brock Society lays it out.

This is not meant to be negative in any way. However, to expect that suddenly ALL of our issues will simply disappear is extremely unlikely. Better to have a reasonable expectation to offset disappointment! But, who knows? Tomorrow will tell….
 

USCitizenAbroad says
November 1, 2017 at 9:26 am

Fred (B)

I’m sorry, but anything that truly makes life easier for US persons abroad is fine by me. I have been skeptical of TTFI, and dream of true simple RBT. But frankly, at this point, if the US says what you do abroad stays abroad, I’ll take it.

I wonder if TTFI would do away with FBARs. After all, if they don’t need to look at your income abroad, they don’t need to look at your accounts abroad. Well, I know that’s not true — they want to make sure people aren’t spiriting funds abroad to hide them there.

Fred (IMHO) they will NEVER get rid of FBAR. The FBAR statute in its purest form requires any person who enters the USA on business to report his/her foreign bank accounts. The original purpose of FBAR was not primarily about taxation. Treasury has considered getting rid of FBAR for Americans abroad and declined to do so. Recent events make it clear that FBAR is an effective tool of intimidation … Mr. FBAR embodies what it means to be an American.

A move to “territorial taxation” (what income is subject to U.S. taxation) has nothing to do with (1) the definition of “tax resident” (what persons are subject to the U.S. tax system) and (2) the FBAR requirements found in Title 31.

It follows from this that a move to “territorial taxation” (absent further legislative change) would in no way affect:

– FBAR rules
– the FATCA IGAs (which are based on the U.S. definition of “tax resident”)
– Chapter 4 of the IRC (Sections 1471 – 1474 which are FATCA)
– the requirement to file a tax return and other information returns
– the draconian “Exit Tax” rules
– gift tax rules
– estate tax rules (unless the estate tax is abolished)

and much more.

ONLY a move to RBT can affect the above …

Of course a move to “territorial taxation” is helpful to Americans abroad. But, (without additional changes) it is only a beginning.

What a move to “territorial taxation” would probably achieve is, that foreign source income would not be subject to U.S. taxation. I would think (but wouldn’t count on) that territorial taxation would lead to the elimination of certain information return requirements: 8938 and 8621 (which have already been eliminated for Green Card holders who make a treaty election).

But, these are just some thoughts. Who knows what the final product will look like? It’s possible to move to “territorial taxation” for individuals and retain A LOT of the pain for Americans abroad. On the other hand, a lot of the pain could be removed.

Neither RO nor ACA has proposed the elimination of CBT. The RO proposal makes CBT more tolerable for Americans abroad. The ACA proposal reinforces CBT, but allows a “buy out” for specified individuals (and is ultimately better for those who can take advantage of it).

DA has yet to make a specific proposal. But, in the DA worldview, CBT is essential to ensure that a small group of people don’t escape paying their “fair share”. For this reason, DA does NOT really support RBT – time for the loyal Democrats to stop drinking the “Kool Aid”.

The ONLY proposals for RBT are found in the some of the individual submissions to House Ways and Means (2013) and Senate Finance (2015).

But on the other hand: We don’t know what the proposed legislation will look like. It could incorporate various suggestions from various proposals and could actually be RBT. But, given the fact that there has been no organized support of RBT, I think this is unlikely.

I read somewhere (or did I just dream it) that:

“All roads lead to renunciation!”

Perspectives on Announcement of Possible Tax Reform for #AmericansAbroad

 

Our big news broke yesterday and in spite of the fact it is not actually confirmed, many are
counting on this to become reality. Discussions are covering quite a range of issues/reactions;
2 comments from the Isaac Brock Society deserve a post of their own.

On October 26, 2017 at 6:25 am USCitizenAbroad says
says

@Polly

The title of the article (presumably) comes from the Financial Times authors and NOT from Rep Brady. It’s very important to stay supportive of the main message and not be distracted by small aspects that one doesn’t like.

@Plaxy

The White House does not write the legislation. Unless the White House actively opposes changes for the taxation of Americans abroad, it’s response is not as important as the response of Congressional tax writing committees.

When you read the complete article you will see it has been reported that a change in tax policy for Americans Abroad appears to be supported (or at least not opposed by):

1. Mark Mazur of Obama Treasury fame

2. American Chamber of Commerce

3. It appears that Brady is saying that the lawmakers supporting that area of the tax code have also made the change for RBT (which suggests that the 2013 and 2015 submissions have done their work).

4. The White House sees no problem with it (maybe)

5. RO is mentioned as having brought the signatures to the White House

Appears that the collective work of a lot of people/groups, over a period of years, may be paying off. I think that the most significant support (from the perspective of change) may be from Homelanders: the American Chamber of Commerce and perhaps Mark Mazur.

Assuming the truth of this article, the biggest hurdle has been crossed. Congress is acknowledging and considering the issue (I suspect that this may already have been written into the draft legislation).

Considering that the effects of CBT cannot be understood by those who have never lived it, this is a tremendous achievement – which reflects the work of large numbers of people (and organizations) since 2011.

It’s vitally important that those large number of people and organizations, come together in support of change.

What unites all people affected by this issue (the end of “place of birth” taxation) is far more important than the specific aspects of what divides them (RBT vs. Territorial, etc.).

 

On October 26, 2017 at 7:39 am USCitizenAbroad says
says

@Petlover

My worry is that any advantageous changes made to the tax code now could just as easily be undone when the next tax reform comes along. It is nerve-wracking not knowing where you stand and what to expect in respect to year-to-year filing obligations. What US person can possibly live a normal life abroad with that uncertainty hanging over them? I just reliquished my citizenship in August this year and the feeling of relief is enormous. Even if these tax reforms pass, I’m glad I’ll never have to waste another thought on whether I am compliant with the US/IRS in every conceivable way.

Those who have lived with the US/Obama/FATCA/FBAR/ Condor enforced assault on Americans abroad since 2009 (this is when the rollout began) would agree with you. Interestingly, this experience has put people to some hard thinking of what U.S. citizenship is really worth. For those who have another “First World Passport”, U.S. citizenship is clearly more of a liability than a benefit.

Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense for those who can easily renounce to renounce. Good decision.

From a practical perspective, the people most affected by this are those who have been U.S. tax compliant. What has become clear is that the only Americans who can live outside the United States are those who do NOT file U.S. taxes. Filing U.S. taxes is (whether known at the time or not) always the first step toward renunciation. It’s not the taxes, it’s not even the reporting. It’s that U.S. tax compliance means that one cannot integrate into the retirement and financial planning programs of other countries. And then (as you point out) there is the constant fear and anxiety.

Actually, U.S. citizenship-based taxation is okay, except for the following four points:

1. Totally Unjust: It’s extremely unjust. Why should people be taxed just based on “place of birth”:?

2. Completely incomprehensible: It’s so complicated that Americans abroad can’t understand what is required of them. For example, when it comes to the forms, there is a lack of agreement in the tax compliance community.

3. Compliance is impossible: Even it U.S. tax compliance for Americans abroad could be understood, it is basically impossible to comply with.

4. Escape is impossible: And finally: Even though it’s unjust, incomprehensible and impossible to comply with, there is no way to to escape without paying lots of fees and in the case of many a a Nazi and Soviet style “Exit Tax”. (The U.S. “Exit Taxes” are far more comprehensive than any Exit Tax imposed by any other country.)

But, other than those four things, U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” really isn’t so bad!

Time to Reach Out to Another Community for Support Regarding Tax Reform

 

For some time an idea has been considered by ADCT and the letter below is the result of that idea. We have yet to tap into another community who is in a unique position to possibly offer us help – the tax compliance community. There are plenty who have voiced their opposition to FATCA, who think CBT is an abomination, etc. So why not ask them to join us?

We will be sending this letter to a “known” group of professionals which may expand in the future. In the meantime, please consider asking your tax accountant, lawyer or advisor to consider it.

*******


 
 
From The Desk of John Richardson

October 18, 2017

Greetings:

Re: Tax Reform as an opportunity to end the U.S. practice of imposing direct taxation on people who live in other countries.

(If you do not have time to read, please go directly to the last page of this letter.)

I am writing to you personally, on behalf of the millions of “hard working” American citizens living outside the United States and on behalf of the “Alliance For The Defeat Of Citizenship-Based Taxation”. American citizens living outside the United States are “Ambassadors For American Values”.

You are receiving this letter because you have been identified as a person who assists Americans abroad with tax, retirement planning, investment counselling, basic financial planning or a combination of the above. You are well aware of the devastating impact that the current rules of “citizenship-based taxation” have on the lives of “every day people” who have chosen to live outside the United States.

As you are aware, the United States is engaged in a process of tax reform. The last major tax reform was in 1986 (how the world has changed). Tax Reform 2017 appears to be a continuation of the work done by the House Ways and Means Committee (2013) and the Senate Finance Committee (2015). A discussion of “International Tax Reform” has featured prominently in these discussions.

Most of the discussion of changes in “international taxation” has been about changes in the rules governing corporations. There is a growing consensus that the U.S. system of “worldwide taxation” is damaging to corporations. As a result, momentum has been building towards changing corporate taxation from “worldwide taxation” to some form of “territorial taxation”. What “territorial taxation” (subject to the specifics) means in broad terms is that:

U.S. corporations would NOT be subject to taxation on profits earned outside the United States.
 
 
 
Individual (DNA) U.S. citizens are ALSO currently subject to a system of “worldwide taxation”.

The effects of being subject to a system of “worldwide taxation” based ONLY on “citizenship” (all other countries impose taxation based on residence) are:

1. U.S. citizens living in other countries are subject to the Internal Revenue Code, as though they lived in the United States, even though they do NOT live in the United States.
2. U.S. citizens living in other countries are subject to taxation on their “worldwide income” which includes income earned in their country of residence.
3. U.S. citizens living in other countries, who own financial assets or have pension plans locally in those countries are required to treat those “local” assets as “foreign” for the purpose of “reporting” to the IRS. This creates the possibility of “every day people” being subjected to punitive taxation and reporting penalties for attempting to live an “every day lives”.

In practical terms this means that a U.S. citizen living in France (who is subject to full taxation in France), is ALSO subject to taxation on his/her French income by the United States. In addition, because that U.S. citizen living in France is subject to all of the rules of the Internal Revenue Code, that individual is also subject to a collection of “penalty laden” reporting requirements that make full U.S. tax compliance difficult and costly. The cost of U.S. tax compliance for U.S. citizens living in other countries must be considered in terms of both “Direct Costs” and “Opportunity Costs”.

“Direct Costs”: U.S. citizens living in other countries are likely to be subjected to punitive taxation on the normal instruments of financial planning because their vehicle for financial planning is (although local to them) foreign to the United States. In addition, the cost of tax return preparation (when competent help is available) is often very high.

“Opportunity Cost”: Compliance with the Internal Revenue Code means that U.S. citizens living in other countries will often NOT be able to benefit from the financial and retirement planning opportunities available to their neighbours who are NOT U.S. citizens. For example, Australia has a public Superannuation plan. It appears that U.S. tax laws would deprive U.S. citizens living in Australia from benefitting from this plan.
 
 
 
“Role of Tax Treaties”: It’s important to recognize that in many cases these problems are not alleviated by U.S. tax treaties. In fact the problems are exacerbated by U.S. tax treaties which contain a “savings clause” which “saves” the right of the United States to impose taxation on (U.S. citizen) residents of other countries, according to the rules of the Internal Revenue Code.

The time has come to end this “relic of the past” which began as a form of deliberate punishment during the Civil War (yes in the 1800s) and continues to be a punishment today.

Significantly, the definition of “U.S. citizen” includes people who have NO CONNECTION to the United States and are residents and citizens of other countries!!!

It’s not Taxation Without Representation it’s Taxation Without Connection

It’s also important to note that the rules of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” apply to the “citizens and residents” of other countries, who just happen to also be U.S. citizens because they were born in the United States. In many cases, these people have no connection to the United States (sometimes not even knowing that they are considered to be U.S. citizens). In other words, the United States is currently imposing direct taxation on the foreign incomes of people who do NOT live in the United States!

Previous advocacy, comments and requests – from “U.S. tax compliant” Americans abroad

In 2013 a large number of the comments from individuals submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee came from Americans abroad who were trying to comply with U.S. tax requirements.

In 2015 a large number of the comments from individuals submitted to the Senate Finance Committee came from Americans abroad who were trying to comply with U.S. tax requirements.

These submissions and comments may be found at:

http://www.box.com/citizenshiptaxation

A collection of very specific comments from those personally affected have been collected in the 195 page “book” found here:

https://app.box.com/v/citizenshiptaxation/file/28745871102
 
 
 

A rare display of bi-partisan unity

In 2017 a number of organizations, from across the political spectrum, including Republicans Overseas, Democrats Abroad and American Citizens Abroad have requested a change from the rules that require U.S. citizens living outside the United States to pay U.S. tax on their income earned outside the United States. Although the specific proposals advanced by these groups vary in the details, they all request that:

U.S. citizens living outside the United States, who are therefore tax residents of another country, should NOT be subject to the rules of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to Homeland Americans.

No person should be treated as a “tax resident” of more than one country! The time has come to correct this injustice. U.S. tax laws should be amended so that the United States does not impose U.S. taxation on the:

Non-U.S. source income earned by people who do NOT live in the United States.
 
 
 
So, what am I requesting you to do?

I intend to send a simple request to the various committees working on tax reform, which simply focuses on the result sought with the following request:

“Please amend the Internal Revenue Code so that the United States no longer claims the right to impose U.S. taxation on non-U.S. source income which is earned by people who do NOT live in the United States. For example: The United States should not be imposing U.S. taxation on the French income earned by a resident of France.”

This petition is supported by the following professionals (lawyers, accountants, investment advisors, etc.) who work with non-residents who are subject to U.S. taxation on their foreign income.

This petition is supported by the following professionals:

John Richardson – lawyer

Your name – capacity

All other names – capacity

If you simply reply to this email with your name and capacity, I will add your name to the petition. It’s that simple.

Thank you for your consideration and assistance.

John Richardson

http://www.citizenshiptaxation.ca

citizenshiptaxation@gmail.com