Unhappy US Expats Grumble About FATCA Problems

US expats believe FATCA tax rules blights their lives with unnecessary compliance and financial problems, according to a new survey.

Most expats quizzed about FATCA and their finances feel that their government has abandoned them and does not care how the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) impacts on the lives of the 8 million US taxpayers who live or work overseas.

Three out of four expat professionals working overseas told researchers for the Americans Abroad Global Foundation and the University of Nevada that the law put them at a professional disadvantage with workers from other countries.

Nine out of 10 expats called for the US government to review FATCA to allow Americans easier access to banking services when they are overseas.

They also called for an extension to the ‘same country exemption’ provision to lift any burden on reporting bank accounts and investments held in the country where they live.

No confidence in government

Many also complained that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) failed to keep expats up-to-date on changes in rapidly changing tax laws.

“The conclusion is that Americans abroad do not have confidence in the government supporting them and that the IRS and politicians do not care or realise how FATCA is posing such a negative impact on their lives,” said Sonja Pippin, a professor at the University of Nevada.

“In effect, the government has given up taking responsibility for a group of honest citizens who obey the law but chose to live or work overseas.”

Charles Bruce, who chairs the Americans Abroad Global Foundation, also explained that the expats were more American than citizens who remained at home in some ways.

Feeling of abandonment

“The study showed that nearly two-thirds of expats voted in the last Presidential election, which is a much higher turn-out than the state average,” he said.

“This report is also important because the statistics and opinions uncovered will form the basis of informing the public and lobbying politicians and opinion formers about what Americans overseas are thinking.

“The message is they want to comply with the law, but want more help from the IRS and more support from the politicians they are supporting with their votes.”

The survey covered almost 700 US expats living in 60 countries.

Read the full report about how American expats view FATCA

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