Just in from Just Me....
After months of letter writing, multiple blog articles and the tireless efforts of organizations like ACA and AARO, the issues that Americans abroad have with the extra-territorial U.S. legislation, FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), have made it to the mainstream American media.
Sure, some journalists have been nibbling around the edges of the issue with articles about the rising number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship and the rising concern over FATCA as we get closer and closer to implementation but there hasn't been much that ties it all together for a general homeland audience.
Originally published in USA Today, a national daily newspaper in the U.S., this article, European banks shut Americans out over U.S. tax rules by Bill Hinchberger was picked up by ABC News, one of the largest American news networks.
The article is concise, well-written, factually correct and tells the stories of real people who are impacted by this legislation. What a relief and joy to read the words of a journalist who dug deep enough to get the real story which is not about rich Americans living it up on the Riviera (that's the main theme for other journalists who are too lazy to look farther than the ends of their noses) but about people like Scott Schmith from Sioux City, Iowa. A veteran of the U.S. military, he's worked abroad for 20 years and has a photography business in Switzerland. Or Genette Eysselinck from North Carolina who is married to a Belgian national and has lived in Europe for many years.
These people and many others like me are the collateral damage in this grand scheme to fight tax evasion - the eggs that are being broken in the making of the FATCA omelette. Like Mr. Schmith and Madame Eysselinck (two very courageous Americans abroad who allowed their names to be published in this article), I don't particularly want to give up my U.S. citizenship either. But there are days when after trying so desperately trying to capture the attention of homelanders in the U.S. or to get even the briefest acknowledgement that there might be a wee problem with their plans for world domination out of a U.S. lawmaker, one does have to wonder if cutting those ties (however painful that may be) might not be the only sane solution left.
This quotation from Mike Helmos sums up quite nicely our concern that things, as bad as they are now, could get much much worse. He says, "FBAR and FATCA seem to be tipping points. Americans who reside abroad have a lot of different annoyances and problems that come with citizenship. With FBAR and FATCA, it is like, 'What else have you got for me?'"