In 2018 AARO’s goals of eliminating citizenship-based taxation for Americans abroad and reducing the administrative burdens of regulations such as FATCA were not crowned with success. But, like AARO founder Phyllis Michaux who fought ferociously on behalf of Americans abroad, we will persevere.
We will continue to press our case in Congress. An AARO delegation will attend Overseas American Week (OAW), an event that provides an annual focal point for advocacy in Congress.
We will meet with Congressmen and women, some of whom are new to Congress and are emerging leaders. AARO advocacy will use the results obtained by the excellent work of AARO Communications in its 2018 Congressional midterm election questionnaire.
We urge all members to contact their representatives on a regular basis—to familiarize the new members with the challenges faced by Americans abroad, and to remind the incumbents that we are 8.7 million strong and we have issues that require their attention.
US Government Agencies
We will strengthen our advocacy with key agencies like Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), building on the work of the Banking Committee under Paul Atkinson who met with the General Accountability Office (GAO) in 2018.
We will continue our dialogue with the US State Department bringing home to them the harm caused to individuals from the curtailing of consular services and to America’s competitiveness and influence by its poor treatment, in sharp contrast to that of other nations, of its natural “citizen-ambassadors” abroad.
We will continue to familiarize private banks and credit rating agencies with the difficulties, sometimes severe, of their failure to take into account the effect of their policies on Americans abroad, or Americans returning to the US from abroad. We will advocate for change in those policies and study possible legislative or legal action in the event no action is forthcoming.
The Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358)
AARO Advocacy along with the Tax Committee will closely examine this bill introduced by Representative George Holding (R-NC). If it is a good replacement for citizenship-based taxation (CBT), we will work with other organizations on getting it passed.
The Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act (H.R. 2710)
Representative Carolyn Maloney, co-Chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus, introduced this bill which would create a bipartisan commission to look at how US policies and laws impact Americans living outside the US. AARO supports the creation of this commission and we will advocate for its passage.
We will research legal avenues aimed at obtaining our goal of eliminating citizen-based taxation. We will continue to monitor and publicize to our members legal cases that may provide relief from the application of CBT worldwide or in particular nations, such as the Eshel v. Commissioner case.
We will also support litigation efforts to contest regulations, such as AARO member Monte Silver’s efforts against the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) and Repatriation taxes.
In The Unknown Ambassadors, Phyllis Michaux wrote that when she went to Washington, D.C. to lobby she was unfazed by the windy weather and cool receptions from staff members because she knew that she “was playing a real part in the political process.”
In 2019 AARO is just as committed to continuing that work on behalf of Americans abroad through the American political process with our members and partner organizations around the world.
This article contributed by Fred Einbinder, AARO VP for Advocacy