American Citizens Abroad (ACA) Writes to Presidential Candidates on Major Issues Concerning Americans Living Outside of United States

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American Citizens Abroad (ACA), an organization representing the millions of U.S. citizens living outside of the United States, has written a letter to President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presidential candidates, asking them to respond on issues of great concern to Americans abroad. The issues mentioned in the letter, which are creating great hardship for ACA members worldwide, include aspects of tax legislation including FBAR filing (Foreign Bank Account Reports), FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), and the OVDP (Overseas Voluntary Disclosure Program), with its highly negative effects on Americans abroad. The letter asks both candidates to express support for a law recently introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), which calls for a study of how the U.S. Government serves its citizens living outside of the country.

“Imagine the administrative and financial burden if California continued to tax former residents who moved to another state," said ACA Executive Director, MaryLouise Serrato.

American Citizens Abroad (ACA), an organization of U.S. citizens living outside of the United States, has written a letter to each of the two Presidential candidates, President Obama and Mitt Romney, to ask them to show their support for this important group of citizens by addressing specific issues of most concern to voters abroad. ACA has pledged to share responses of the candidates with its members, who live all over the world, so they can make an informed decision on which candidate to support in the upcoming Presidential election.

Anne Hornung-Soukup, Director of ACA and signer of the letter, commented that voters abroad are important: “Everyone remembers how absentee ballots have been the deciding factor in several recent elections, and American citizens living outside of the United States have also become a substantial source of campaign funds for both parties.”

The issues highlighted by ACA are of vital importance to the community of Americans abroad, as described by MaryLouise Serrato, ACA Executive Director. “In our letter, we ask each candidate to express support for H.R. 6263, a law recently introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), which calls for a study of how the U.S. government serves its citizens living outside of the country.”

Serrato said the letter also calls for each candidate to pledge to introduce major tax reform that would change the U.S. tax system to a residence-based system. “Imagine the administrative and financial burden if California, for example, continued to tax former residents who moved to another state. The current citizenship-based system is all that and worse as it involves foreign currencies and different tax regimes.”

The ACA letter also asks the Presidential candidates to make several specific changes in current tax law to ease the excessive burden on citizens living abroad, including restricting provisions of the FATCA legislation (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) to U.S. citizens living in the United States and eliminating the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Reporting) requirement for citizens living abroad.

The final request made in the ACA letter is that the candidates read the report written by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson in December 2011, which provides many examples of specific hardships endured by American citizens living abroad because of current tax law and regulations.

Jackie Bugnion, ACA Director and Tax Reform Specialist, commented, “Nina Olson’s report was sent to the IRS Commissioner, who was supposed to respond to the Taxpayer Advocate’s criticism of IRS handling of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). He has not done so. The report is an eye-opener for Presidential candidates on the increasingly precarious situation of Americans abroad.”

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MaryLouise Serrato
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