This week, millions of Americans living abroad raised their hands in celebration when the Republican party put forth an initiative to change US taxation-one that would make expat life a whole lot easier.
In the recent report on tax reform from the Republican staff of the US Senate Committee on Finance, politicians stood up for US expats and pressed for a major change to the current rules of citizenship-based taxation (which requires US citizens to file tax returns each year, regardless of where they live). This has long-been a thorn in the side of US expats, as filing US taxes is complicated, time-consuming and simply frustrating for many of the nearly 7.6 million Americans living abroad.
The report stated the following: “The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that imposes citizenship-based taxation. In other words, the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income even if the citizen resides outside the United States and has no connection to the United States other than citizenship.”
“The United States needs to rethink its taxing rules for nonresident U.S. citizens.”
The report suggested that the US consider a test that determines at what point a US citizen is officially considered a non-resident and at what point they are considered a resident again. However, this would involve significant tax reform over a number of initiatives, including FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) requirements, FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) requirements, as well as Federal Tax Return filing.
Read the full article here and make sure to email your views to the Wall Street Journal (at [email protected])– they will be compiling a ‘best of’ compendium of comments and publishing it soon. Let your voice be heard!
In Other News…
Where Is Home For an Expat?
One man returned to the US to visit family and was met with a strange greeting while getting through customs–‘Welcome home.’ As a long-time expat, he wasn’t sure where home IS. He left the US in 1977 and has worked and lived all over the world. He wasn’t quite sure how to explain that home seemed to be wherever he lived at the time. Long ago he chose the life of a nomad, not settling in one particular country for long periods of time. Along the way he married another nomad, got a nomad dog and had a daughter who has also adopted the traveling lifestyle as her own.
Don’t miss this article from the Wall Street Journal highlighting this expat’s detailed and thoughtful look at the question many Americans abroad wrestle with–where exactly IS home?
Kabul no longer an expat hotspot
Once a booming hotspot for US expats, Kabul as they knew it no longer exists. Bars are deserted, empty chairs adorn local restaurants and former all-night party spots remain eerily quiet. All thanks to recent terrorist attacks on popular expat hangouts.
According to one article, the US-led war in Afghanistan brought a flood of international aid workers, diplomats and security contractors to Kabul, creating a frenetic social scene that is now a distant memory. A series of Taliban attacks on expat hang-outs shattered any illusions that foreign civilians were safe in the city.
And now all social gatherings are held within the safer confines of their expat homes (or worse yet, the expats have left the country entirely). For the business-owners in Kabul, the desertion has had a devastating effect on their livelihood and fears of closing their doors forever linger each and every day that their former patrons remain absent.
Learn more about how the expat exodus has impacted the once-booming city of Kabul.