US expats wait on Trump to keep his FATCA repeal promise

Published:  10 Feb at 6 PM
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Expat members of lobby group Republicans Abroad as well as their Democrat countrymen are waiting to hear whether The Donald will keep his campaign promise to repeal the unpopular FATCA tax reporting laws.

The brainchild of former president Barack Obama, FATCA was introduced in its full form in 2014, with the overall result that American expats’ lives have been made far more difficult as regards maintaining overseas bank accounts, mortgages and loans. In addition, many have reported their US bank accounts have also been closed due to banks’ fears of IRS fines and the actual cost of complying with the new law.

Since 2014, Republicans Abroad has brought several court cases in Canada, Israel and the USA itself, all aimed at disrupting FATCA’s enforcement. All met with failure, but now Trump is ensconced in the White House and Republicans have majorities in both congress and the senate, there’s an optimistic expectation his pre-presidential promise might be honoured.

Republicans Abroad has long insisted the controversial law is unfair to expatriate Americans. In addition, it claims the individual right to privacy enshrined in the US constitution has been breached by FATCA’s requirements. Since the unexpected reversal in Republican fortunes caused by the election, the expectation is that the repeal of the law as promised by Trump may well happen.

The Republican campaign against FATCA is focused on the IRS’s demand that foreign banks and financial institutions must make an annual report identifying all US clients with investments or accounts worth over $200,000. It also applies to those resident in the USA, although the amount is set at $50,000. Banks in the home country and overseas face massive fines and operating bans for non- compliance.

According to Republicans Abroad, the law allows ‘unreasonable search and seizures’ as well as preventing American expats from living normal lives. The organization is calling for FATCA repeal and a change to residency-based taxation for US citizens overseas, and is hopeful that the Republican majority in both houses will help see it through.

Source: Money International
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