The Voice of Americans Overseas

ACA is the premier advocacy organization for Americans overseas

FATCA

What is it and how might it impact me?

Taxation

US tax legislation is complicated, burdensome, unfair and makes Americans uncompetitive

Banking

US legislation is resulting in denial of financial services to Americans residing overseas

Citizenship

All Americans should have the right to transmit US citizenship to their children

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The ACA Tax Return Preparer Directory

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Taxpayer Advocate proposes combining FBAR and FATCA

The National Tax Advocate has recommended that the FBAR rules and the FATCA rules for reporting bank accounts on Form 8938, should in effect be merged. Also, the FATCA rules for identifying and reporting accounts of Americans abroad, where the accounts are in the same country where the taxpayer resides, should be changed. Taxpayer Advocate statement here (April 13, 2015).  Read more...

ACA Town Hall Evening in Geneva

"Changes in the US Tax Code, Wills, Swiss Banks and other Personal Financial Challenges"

Wednesday May 6th 2015 at Webster Unviersity Bellvue-Geneva, starting at 6pm  Read more...

ACA meets with Congressional and key tax reform offices

ACA’s onsite presence in Washington, DC is key to keeping awareness of the issues affecting the community of Americans overseas top of mind with the legislature. In early February 2015, ACA Executive Director, Marylouise Serrato and ACA Tax Team Director, Jackie Bugnion, were in Washington, DC knocking on doors to keep focus on ACA’s Residence-based taxation proposal (RBT).

ACA was back engaging in tactical meetings with House Ways & Means and Senate Finance, the two key tax writing offices of the US legislature. ACA has met with all the committee members for these two tax writing offices, and ACA continues to update those offices, making return visits, providing them with research, testimonials and practical information on the continuing problems facing overseas Americans. Read more...

Washington is pushing ahead with tax reform and they want to hear from you

What American Citizens Abroad, Inc. (ACA) heard in meetings it held with the legislature in February 2015 is now a reality. Washington is working on tax reform. The most recent news on tax reform is the announcement by the Senate Finance Committee that it has created five working groups for tax reform that are ready to accept input and suggestions from groups and individuals. ACA will formally submit its Residence-based taxation (RBT) proposal to the Committee but individuals also have the opportunity to be heard directly.

The most important way to influence Washington is to submit your individual thoughts on tax reform. Congress is sensitive to public opinion and reception of multiple submissions on the taxation of Americans abroad will impact their reform efforts. Form letters and templates may seem an easy way to communicate with Washington but these offices want to know they are hearing from individuals with specific, personal issues and suggestions. Take a few minutes and submit your own personal message.

ACA suggests that you highlight the specific difficulties you face with the current Citizenship-based taxation policy. You may want to highlight issues such as cost and time involved for compliance including tax preparer, complexity of filing and uncertainty on how to file, instances of double taxation, penalization caused by US taxation of foreign pension funds, foreign exchange risk and fiscal burden related to filing taxes with the US dollar as the functional currency when income and expenses are in another currency, difficulties with access to foreign banking due to FATCA.

Provide Washington with your ideas of tax reform and if Residence-based taxation (RBT) is one of them you can reference ACA proposal found here: rbt-and-tax-reform-feb-2015-final.pdf

ACA encourages individuals to submit their comments on tax reform to both the Individual Income tax working group at: individual@finance.senate.gov and, the International Tax working group at: international@finance.senate.gov

ACA recommends that you keep you submissions to a minimum - one page, not longer than two. The submissions must be filed by April 15th 2015. Requirements for submission can be found here: http://www.finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/release/?id=3bcf1fcf-9dd8-47d4-9202-21a0870cd8d6

2015 Expat Survey

Please take the 2015 Expat Survey.  Data on the community of overseas Americans and their issues are key to ACA’s work in Congress.  Educating Congress on the community of Americans overseas helps with our advocacy work so please take the time to give your input. To participate in the survey click here: www.greenbacktaxservices.com/us-expat-opinion-survey/

Obtaining your Social Security Number

Over time, the US Social Security Number (SSN) has evolved from merely the number of your account for retirement savings to something akin to a single national identification number that follows you throughout your US administrative life. It is indispensable on passport applications, tax returns, financial account reporting and numerous other business forms. And now it has gone international: under FATCA (the Financial Account Tax Compliance Act) banks and other financial institutions around the world are compelled to ask American citizen clients for an IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification), which includes their SSN.

For many American citizens (or green card holders) living abroad such requests occasion panic. They haven’t thought of their SSN for years (if ever). Some never had one; some have lost theirs, don’t remember the number, or don’t even know if they ever had one.  Read more...

Thomas Jefferson Award

ACA is calling for nominations for its 2015 Thomas Jefferson Award honoring State Department employees who have given exemplary service to American citizens residing abroad. ACA launched the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1994 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson, America's first Secretary of State. The impressive nominations submitted for prior Awards testify to deep appreciation by US citizens abroad for exceptional service received from State Department employees.

ACA is now accepting nominations for the 2015 award. For details click here.

Revised FATCA Reporting Requirements

US taxpayers both in the US and abroad should be aware of the latest foreign bank account reporting requirements which are now in effect.   Read more....

Another New Tax Form for Americans Abroad

The Affordable Care Act now requires all Americans to have "essential coverage" for health care insurance.  US citizens living overseas, subject to US income tax, can be exempted from the "essential coverage" provision if they satisfy certain requirements. Read more...     

Advocate Report Highlights Concerns for Overseas Filers

The National Taxpayer Advocate Report for 2014 highlights some serious concerns that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has for overseas filing requirements. Read more...

Senate Finance Committee Says Time to “Rethink” Tax Rules for Americans Overseas

ACA is pleased to see members of the Senate Finance Committee joining the growing chorus of supporters for Residence Based Taxation. In a new policy paper (full report here), Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee have proposed major changes to the way the United States taxes its citizens overseas. According to the report, “The United States needs to rethink its taxing rules for nonresident U.S. citizens.” Read the ACA press release dated December 19, 2014...

Why are US Mutual Fund Accounts being restricted to overseas Americans?

For once it’s not US tax policy. ACA Executive Committee and Board member, Jonathan Lachowitz explains why the landscape has changed for Americans overseas with US based mutual fund accounts.  Read more...

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ACA has released a short (90 seconds) educational video on FATCA highlighting how the legislation is affecting Americans legitimately living and working overseas.  ACA encourages all members and supporters to write to their representatives in Congress and educate them on FATCA.  Please let others know about FATCA by sharing the ACA video.

Other Updates

New IRS Streamlined Procedure adopts ACA's Suggestions and Recommendations

The IRS has listened to ACA, the Taxpayer Advocate and tax professionals and included our suggestions and recommendations in their new Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures program (SFOP).  The program emphasizes simplicity over complexity and allows individuals to come into compliance without being subject to typical tax penalties (failure-to-file, failure-to-pay, accuracy-related, etc.).  This is a great step forward and shows that the IRS is aware that the community of Americans overseas are not criminal tax evaders.  This is in great part due to ACA’s efforts in Washington, DC, the Voice of Americans Overseas working to bring about positive change for Americans overseas.  See the link to our June 23, 2014, press release here .