I know this isn’t an issue that gets much traction with voters, but for seven million American Citizens, the taxation of US non-residents is by far the most pressing topic in the upcoming election. I’m a lifelong Democratic supporter. I have traveled to the US during presidential elections to volunteer for Democrats. I’ve donated, canvassed, delivered pamphlets, and driven voters to the polls.
And yet, in 2014, as difficult as it was, I voted Republican. I wrote to my Senators, Congressman, and the President about this issue, but nobody on the Democratic side seems to care that the current US approach to taxing non-residents is a nightmare for ordinary people who live outside the US. While the details are too complex to discuss here, the short version is that tax rules that are designed for US residents cause incredible complexity for those living permanently outside the US. I pay more in Canada than I would living inside the US - this is not an issue of tax-avoidance. I would gladly provide specifics if you’re interested.
At this point, beyond simply voting, I’m realizing that I need to start actively campaigning for Republicans among overseas Americans. This saddens me, but unfortunately this issue dwarfs everything else in terms of impact to me.
I find it appalling to realize that I may be forced to cast my vote for Donald Trump’s party in November. The current Republican platform addresses the tax issues for nonresident Americans, and explains how they will fix this. From the Democrats, there is nothing. Every change that has been made to non-resident taxation has been a step to increase the complexity. There are many solutions that could be proposed, but to date only the Republicans even acknowledge that the problem exists.
From the Republican Platform:
“FATCA not only allows ‘unreasonable search and seizures’ but also threatens the ability of overseas Americans to lead normal lives. We call for its repeal and for a change to residency-based taxation for U.S. citizens overseas.”
Other solutions than the one proposed by the Republicans exist. I’m hoping that between now and November the Democratic candidates can join the Republicans in proposing a common sense solution that addresses the concerns of overseas Americans.