Push for US resident based tax regime still alive

Published:  21 Nov at 6 PM
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Spokespersons for groups campaigning for a change from citizen-based taxation to residency-based taxation are reassuring their expat supporters the possibilities for change are still alive.

Representatives of Republicans Overseas and American Citizens Abroad have been lobbying lawmakers ahead of the first reading of the Trump tax overhaul, seemingly with little success as residency-based taxation didn’t feature in the bill as it stands. Trump’s so-called tax reform bill passed in spite of strong opposition from Republicans as well as Democrats, and is now heading to the Senate for approval before it's signed into US law.

American Citizens Abroad’s executive director Marylouise Serrato is urging her members not to give up just yet as there’s still time for the inclusion of RBT in the final bill before it becomes law. The issue could be brought up and debated by Senate lawmakers before a vote, with ACA maintaining its work with offices in the Senate and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Also working hard in support of the change are Democrats Abroad, the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Tax Reform.

The fight to introduce a fairer tax regime for US citizens living and working overseas has gathered momentum since the beginning of the Trump presidency, and is matched by the ever-increasing numbers of American expats renouncing their citizenship rather than continuing with the onerous and expensive task of filing returns and being taxed twice on the same income.

The original Obama-introduced legislation sparked an immediate sprint to the exit by a good number of US expats, with well over 6,000 renunciations expected during this calendar year. Last year’s 5,411 was a 26 per cent increase on the 2014 total. It’s not just the perceived unfairness of being taxed twice on overseas income, as it’s also the effect of the legislation on tax laws relating to foreign financial institutions with American clients that’s causing misery.

The law as it affects US citizens living and working overseas also reverberates on banks, mortgage companies and financial service businesses to the extent that most are now refusing to take on US expats as clients as well as getting rid of those already using their services.
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