It’s one of the most important times of the year at Greenback, as we share the results from our 2019 US Expatriate Opinion Survey! But before we dive into the most significant findings from this year’s survey, let’s take a look at recent trends, what the survey accomplishes, and why it’s so important.
Greenback’s Annual US Expatriate Survey
Each year, Greenback studies the expat community’s opinions on taxation, citizenship renunciation, and more. Since expats are often left out of American politics as soon as they move abroad, our survey is one way to include them and broadcast their opinions worldwide. Our survey results are picked up by multiple media outlets each year, and participating in the survey is an excellent way for expats to advocate on behalf of their demographic.
Expats banding together and sharing their opinions has already started to have an impact. In France, Accidental Americans have taken legal action based on the discriminatory impact FATCA has on expats. And politicians have taken notice, as is evident by the introduction of the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act.
Last year, Greenback asked expats about their view on political issues like immigration reform, healthcare, and gun control, and which of those social issues concerned them most. Expats agreed that gun control was the most important, and wanted to see more regulations in place for Americans.
In 2017, expats voiced difficulties and frustrations with voting as an expat. And in 2016, expats expressed a deep desire for the repeal of FATCA and citizenship-based taxation. This sentiment has held steady for the majority of expats each year since.
2019 US Expatriate Opinion Survey Findings
The biggest takeaway from this year’s survey is twofold: US expatriates want change, but as for the changes currently looming, expats are unsure how they will be affected. Exhibit A is the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act. Perhaps the most shocking finding was that 74% of expats surveyed had never heard of the Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act of 2018. Congressman George Holding, a US Representative from North Carolina introduced this bill in late 2018. Also known as H.R. 7358, this bill seeks to end citizenship-based taxation.
Next up is the tax reform. 54% of expats surveyed did not know if they would pay more or less in taxes post-reform. And, 58% were not confident in their understanding of how tax reform impacts them.
Other key findings include:
- 71% of US expatriates do not feel they should be required to file US taxes while living abroad, up 4% from 2018.
- 7% of expats did not file a tax return last year.
- 89% of expats believe that they are not fairly represented by the US government, rising 3% over 2018.
- The first thing on expat wish lists is the repeal of citizenship-based taxation. 49% of expats feel that this is the chief way the US government could help expats.
CNBC shared exclusive coverage of this year’s survey findings, where they addressed the key issues Americans abroad voiced, including citizenship renunciation, FBAR, tax compliance, and more.
Get Caught Up on Your US Expatriate Taxes, Penalty-Free
This year’s survey discovered that nearly half of expats were unaware of the Streamlined Filing Procedures, an IRS amnesty program that allows certain expats to become tax compliant minus the penalties. 20% of expats said they would like to use the procedures to get caught up. If you’re part of that 20%, get started with Greenback today!