US expats in France demonstrate over hated FATCA

Published:  6 Jun at 6 PM
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US expats living in France who were born in the USA and emigrated as young children are up in arms and demonstrating against FATCA.

Some 300,000 ‘accidental Americans’ as they’re now known, live and work in France, and are all liable for US taxation, even if they left their place of birth as tiny babies. Protest groups are now forming across Europe as well as in France, in protest against the sheer unfairness of FATCA and its affect on their lives. A recent report by French lawmakers demanded more should officially be done to protect these dual-nationality citizens in France.

France finally signed on to FATCA in 2013, creating immediate problems for both dual citizens and American expats rejected by French retail banks determined to avoid risk and hassle. President of the Accidental Americans Association Fabien Lehagre left the USA at the age of 18 months, only returning as a tourist on a single visit some 26 years later. He’s now not able to invest in stocks, purchase life insurance or open an online bank account. FATCA was introduced as a weapon against tax evasion, he says, but Congress never voted to use it to track down expat citizens and tax them for simply being born in the country.

Another French lawmaker who’s studied the issue believes France should renegotiate its US tax treaty with the option of leaving should concessions not be made. Discussions on the issue could well include the plight of accidental Americans, and at worst a moratorium could be placed on the agreement. To date, several delegations from Europe have visited the USA State Department and held discussions on the issue, but the Trump administration seems to be unwilling as regards renegotiating FATCA or ending its heavy burden on accidental Americans’ lives.
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