Republican Representative George Holding will discuss his recently-proposed Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad legislation in April, in a public forum for American expats in London that the organizers say they are hoping will build the solid cross-party consensus that Holding’s bill will need to be approved by Congress.
The event, which will also include Republicans Overseas vice chairman and chief executive Solomon Yue, and Toronto-based lawyer and citizenship expert John Richardson, is expected to take place at a venue in Mayfair on April 24, from 6 to 7:30pm, a spokesperson for the Republican party told the American Expat Financial News Journal.
Yue will also speak on “territorial taxation for individuals” (TTFI) in Athens during the week of May 6, again accompanied by Richardson, at a venue and time to be announced.
In a statement, Yue stressed that the London event is being organized as part of efforts to work directly with rank and file expatriate members of the Democratic party and other groups to agree a way forward, so that the Holding bill will stand a chance of passage this year, and thus begin to deliver the relief that Americans abroad "so desperately need at the moment."
There have been concerns recently that the currently-fraught state of party politics in Washington could see Holding’s bill defeated, even though many Democrats familiar with the issues it addresses say that it would be a step in the right direction, and should be passed.
A hunt is currently under way for Democratic sponsors willing to back the bill, as thus far no Democrat has formally lent their name to it.
Yue, pictured left, said the London event's organizers are extending a Holding/Richardson/Yue show invitation to members of the Democrats Abroad who may be able to attend the event in London, which he said is being viewed as a chance for Republicans and Democrats “to come together over these important issues” in a neutral venue.
London is understood to have been chosen as the site for the meeting because it is a key American expat center, and easy for expat Democrats and Republicans throughout Europe to get to.
Awareness of the meeting is expected to be spread to Democrat and Republican expatriates throughout Europe over the next few weeks through those parties’ usual expatriate information networks.
Democrats: 'awaiting invite'
A spokesperson for the Democrats Abroad UK, DAUK Tax Committee chair Rebecca Lammers, said in a statement that she had "not received an invite" yet, and therfore couldn't say whether the Democrats would participate in the event.
She added that the Democrats Abroad will shortly release the results of a comprehensive survey it carried out earlier this year, of how U.S. persons resident overseas are being impacted by the U.S.'s current citizenship-based tax regime. As reported, the 2019 Non-Resident Taxation Research Project was designed to educate Congressional representatives about the tax and citizenship issues American expats are currently struggling with, in order to make it easier for them to understand how best to address the problems with the current tax regime, Carmelan Polce, chair of the Democrats Abroad’s Taxation Task Force, said in January.
The Democrats Abroad will also be in Washington "again next week to meet with the new Congress, to continue discussions [aimed at encouraging a move to a] Residence Based Taxation [regime]," Lammers said.
Last September, Yue and Richardson spoke at another London gathering, as part of a global whistle-stop tour Yue was at that time making of key foreign business centers around the world as he sought to rally support among American citizens living abroad for the legislation that eventually came to be known as Holding's Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act, or TFFAAA2019.
Call for unity
John Richardson, a visible campaigner for the rights of expatriate Americans, who is himself an American expat resident in Canada, stressed the need for “U.S. persons” around the world to come together to support Holding’s legislation, and any follow-up bills that might ultimately emerge.
“Achieving change in the taxation of Americans abroad is far more important – for this and the next generation – than any one individual, group or political party,” Richardson, who says he is himself politically independent (rather than being aligned either with the Democratic or Republican parties) and who publishes a blog on citizenship, told the American Expat Financial News Journal today.
“As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘If we don't hang together, we will hang separately.’ We need focus, and not distraction.”
Yue said he saw the London event as a potentially “great opportunity” in which he, Congressman Holding and Richardson would be able to “engage a bipartisan group of Americans abroad directly.”
He said the plan was to discuss the key features of Holding’s bill, messaging, and co-sponsorship recruitment, and answer questions, which he said were likely to include a full airing of views as to why some advocates of the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad are concerned about the potential damage that house committee hearings could do to it, and why others think such hearings are necessary.
Key points of Holding bill
As reported, among the central features of Holding's bill is an option for American citizens who are living abroad to elect to be non-resident U.S., taxpayers and thus be taxed only by their local tax jurisdiction, rather than on worldwide basis.
Those who wished to continue to be taxed as U.S. citizens under the current citizenship based taxation regime would be allowed to do so.
The key change for those Americans living abroad who chose to be taxed on the basis of the country in which they now live – and who could prove that they actually are tax resident there, and spend a certain amount of time there during the tax year in question – is that all of their foreign-earned income would be free from potentially being taxed by the U.S. And if they had no U.S. earnings, under Holding's bill, they wouldn’t need to file a U.S. tax return, as all Americans living outside of the U.S. are required to do now.
Holding's bill also provides for an annual self-certification feature, whereby, under penalty of perjury, U.S. persons would agree to inform the IRS each year that their non-resident taxpayer status hadn’t been changed.
This feature is seen as raising the question as to whether, and for how many years, the U.S. government should continue to track the financial situation of expats who, as per the legislation, have not needed to pay U.S. taxes nor file U.S. tax returns for some time, and are unlikely ever to again.
To read and download Holding's bill on the U.S. government's website, click here.
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