A delegation of European Parliamentarians who met with U.S. officials in July, during what was described at the time as a "fact-finding mission" aimed at coming up with "concrete solutions" to the myriad FATCA-related problems certain EU citizens have been struggling with for years, has come away with a view that "efforts are underway to correct [these] injustices".
In a brief (around 800 words) report summarizing the trip's findings and achievements that was issued by the European Parliament's press office last week, the delegation –which, as reported, had consisted of seven members of the EU Parliament's Petitions Committee (PETI) – said it had been "shown a draft legislative bill aimed at correcting the unintended effects of FATCA", as well as "a letter to Treasury Secretary [Janet] Yellen highlighting the need to correct FATCA".
These, the report added, had been shared with the seven PETI delegates during their meetings with Ways & Means Committee chairman Richard Neil (D., Mass.), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D., Texas), and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.)
The report also made clear, however, that much work remained to be done in Washington, and that further trips and other awareness-raising efforts were seen to be vital.
Said the report: "The Congressmen all commended the [PETI] delegation as, in their view, raising awareness in the Capitol about this issue is very much needed, and delegations such as [this one] are the best way to achieve this."
The report ends by noting that "legislators on both sides of the Atlantic have to continue working hard to ensure that the unintended effects and collateral damage of FATCA is eliminated.
"On our end, we will produce a mission report, with concrete recommendations, which will be voted on by the [Petitions] Committee itself.
"We also agreed with our U.S. counterparts to create a channel for active dialogue, to work together on this matter, in order to find effective, common solutions."
The report doesn't contain any detail as to the alleged "draft bill" to correct FATCA's unintended effects, nor how "a channel for active dialogue" might be set up, or who if anyone has been given the task to do so.
It also refers at one point to the Inter-Governmental Agreements that the U.S. has with EU countries that detail how FATCA is to be enforced as being "exempted from having to comply with the [EU's] General Data Protection Regulation" rules, which at least one source has told the American Expat Financial News Journal is not understood to be the case.
Petitions Committee's response
to growing number of petitions
As reported, the trip to Washington by the seven EU Parliamentarians from the body's Petitions Committee was a response, the EU Parliament said in July, to a growing number of petitions "relating to the effects of FATCA on EU citizens, especially those with dual EU-U.S. nationality," such as these individuals "[inability] to access some financial services, and alleged infringement of EU rights and exemptions from some consumer protection legislation".
The first of these petitions was filed in 2016 – the year that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act came into force across Europe, after having been signed into law by President Obama in 2010. At least three more FATCA-related petitions have been filed since then, the most recent last year.
In addition to petitions and also since 2016, there've been a number of events, meetings and even hearings on the subject of how EU/U.S. dual nationals have been struggling to cope with the demands placed upon them by FATCA, including a major, two-and-a-half-hour hearing on the subject in November, 2019, and an online hearing last September.
FATCA critics remain skeptical
Most campaigners for a change in the way the U.S. enforces FATCA, meanwhile, remain more skeptical than the PETI committee visitors to Washington that change is on the horizon. For a start, the fact that a U.S. lawmaker may have submitted a "draft bill" designed to fix the unwanted, unintended consequences of FATCA, they point out, is in itself not a cause for celebration, as other bills to fix FATCA, and related issues, have been submitted in the past, and gotten nowhere.
Nor, they told the AXFNJ back in July, as the EU PETI members were heading home to Brussels, did they see a letter to the Treasury Secretary from Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, urging the Treasury and IRS to be "willing to work with foreign governments and financial institutions to provide tailored, FATCA guidance" to enable accidental Americans might be able to keep their EU bank accounts as being significant, beyond the fact that it was said to be a "first" for a U.S. member of Congress, and showed that at least one of Washington's 435 members of the House of Representatives was properly up-to-speed on the issues.
To read an English translation of the EU Parliament's report on its trip to Washington, scroll down and click on the green box labeled "next", below....
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