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New members of the FBAR/FATCA Task Force

We are pleased to welcome Michael Ramos of DA Australia and International Chair Julia Bryant to the Task Force:

Carmelan, Joe Sm, DeeDee and Orlando

June 2017

 

Reforming FATCA – the Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA Task Force

Although the requirement for Americans to report accounts held in foreign financial institutions (the FBAR report) has existed for many years, new and more invasive reporting requirements were imposed in 2009 with the passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).  FATCA is the result of Congressional and IRS efforts to improve tax compliance among U.S. citizens, both living in the US and living abroad.  The majority of us living and working around the world understands and supports our government’s efforts to close the loopholes that enable tax evasion.  FATCA and the regulations established to implement it do not, however, sufficiently distinguish between those Americans with foreign accounts that live within the US and those with foreign accounts who legitimately reside offshore.  Overseas Americans have the same needs as stateside Americans for access to basic financial instruments of personal banking, business banking, investments, and savings, based in our country of residence.  Living and banking offshore clearly does not equate to illegal tax avoidance.  

Because of FATCA overseas Americans now find our financial lives exposed to a degree of scrutiny – under threat of severe penalties, fines and even imprisonment – to which Americans without foreign financial assets are not subjected.   The impact on the personal affairs and privacy overseas Americans has in many cases been very serious, including -

  • An escalation in tax filing complexity and associated costs;
  • The inability to open new financial accounts or forced closure of existing accounts;
  • Assets shared with non-national spouses subject to IRS scrutiny;
  • Exorbitant and confiscatory penalties for non-compliance;
  • And finally, the unjust assumption that Americans living abroad are tax cheats and/or money launderers.

Democrats Abroad established the FBAR/FATCA Task Force to represent the concerns of overseas Americans by outlining the impacts of the FBAR/FATCA reporting requirements to the elected officials that make the laws and the government agencies that implement the laws and write the accompanying regulations.  We advocate for reforms to FBAR/FATCA reporting requirements with the ambition of alleviating onerous and harmful impacts on overseas Americans.  In this area we have had some success, including lifting the threshold for required reporting.  Our advocacy goal is to support government efforts to improve tax compliance and thwart/catch tax evaders by providing advice on what would make the laws and regulations function more effectively.

Although none of the Task Force’s members work specifically in the area of tax accounting/compliance, we maintain an active watch on developments occurring in the area so that we can keep our members up to date and make relevant reform recommendations to the appropriate committees and agencies.

The members of the Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA Task Force are:

Joe Green (Canada)

Stanley Grossman (UK)

Maureen Harwood (Canada)

Carmelan Polce – Chair (Singapore)

Joe Smallhoover – France

You can contact the Chair with comments or questions at any time on cpolce@tpg.com.au.

January 2014

 

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