— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) May 27, 2019
This is Part 31 of my series of blog posts about the Sec. 965 transition tax. It is a “guest post” by Jackie Bugnion who is the former tax direction of ACA. The article explores the impacts of the Section 965 transition tax and GILTI on the lives of Americans abroad. Ms. Bugnion places the transition tax and GILTI in the context of the U.S. system of citizenship-based taxation.
This article is reproduced with thanks to the author Jackie Bugnion and the publisher Tax Analysts.
"What Is The Future Of Citizenship-Based Taxation?" Prof. William Byrnes (Texas A&M Law), Prof. Edward Zelinsky (Cardozo Law), John Richardson (Canadian attorney who represents US-Canada dual nationals), Kat Jennings (CEO Tax Connections) https://t.co/LP63MHEFYS
— William Byrnes (Tax Monk) (@williambyrnes) May 5, 2019
You are invited to submit your questions in advance. In fact, PLEASE submit questions. This is an opportunity to engage with Homelanders in general and the U.S. tax compliance community in particular.
Thanks to Professor Zelinsky for his willingness to engage in this discussion. Thanks to Kat Jennings of Tax Connections for hosting this discussion. Thanks to Professor William Byrnes for his willingness to moderate this discussion.
Tax Connections has published a large number of posts that I have written over the years (yes, hard to believe it has been years). As you may know I oppose FATCA, U.S. citizenship-based taxation and the use of FATCA to impose U.S. taxation on tax residents of other countries.
Tax Connections has also published a number of posts written by Professor Zelinsky (who apparently takes a contrary view).
This is the eigth of a series of post I have written as a run up to the May 17, 2019 Tax Connections discussion about U.S. citizenship-based taxation. You can read the previous posts here.
The riveting story of forty Irish Americans who set off to fight for Irish independence, only to be arrested by Queen Victoria’s authorities and accused of treason: a tale of idealism and justice with profound implications for future conceptions of citizenship and immigration.
In 1867 forty Irish American freedom fighters, outfitted with guns and ammunition, sailed to Ireland to join the effort to end British rule. Yet they never got a chance to fight. British authorities arrested them for treason as soon as they landed, sparking an international conflict that dragged the United States and Britain to the brink of war. Under the Starry Flag recounts this gripping legal saga, a prelude to today’s immigration battles. The Fenians, as the freedom fighters were called, claimed American citizenship. British authorities disagreed, insisting that naturalized Irish Americans remained British subjects. Following in the wake of the Civil War, the Fenian crisis dramatized anew the idea of citizenship as an inalienable right, as natural as freedom of speech and religion. The captivating trial of these men illustrated the stakes of extending those rights to arrivals from far-flung lands. The case of the Fenians, Lucy E. Salyer shows, led to landmark treaties and laws acknowledging the right of exit. The U.S. Congress passed the Expatriation Act of 1868, which guarantees the right to renounce one’s citizenship, in the same month it granted citizenship to former American slaves.
The small ruckus created by these impassioned Irish Americans provoked a human rights revolution that is not, even now, fully realized. Placing Reconstruction-era debates over citizenship within a global context, Under the Starry Flag raises important questions about citizenship and immigration.
In the 19th Century Britain regarded its subjects as subjects for life. Many Americans abroad will appreciate how the book applies to their lives in the 21st century. To put it simply: Americans abroad are treated as primarily Americans citizens – even though they are often citizens and residents of other countries. The FATCA IGAs are the most obvious example of this reality. (Shades of the British – History does have a way of repeating itself.) Renunciation is desirable, difficult, expensive (and for those who are in the U.S. tax system – inevitable). For many Americans abroad:
Furthermore, dual citizens (for example the accidental Americans in France) are beginning to request that their countries of citizenship/residence intervene and assist their citizens in breaking ties with the United States. History does repeat itself. Continue reading →
This is post is “based on” (not identical to) one of two submissions that I submitted in response to Senator Hatch’s request for submissions regarding tax reform.
__________________________________________________________ Why is the United States imposing full U.S. taxation on the Canadian incomes of Canadian citizens living in Canada?
The Internal Revenue Code mandates that ALL “individuals” , EXCEPT “non-resident aliens”, are subject to full taxation, on their WORLDWIDE income, under the Internal Revenue Code. The word “individuals” includes U.S. citizens regardless of where they live and regardless of whether they are citizens and residents of other countries where they also pay tax. This means that, by its plain terms, the United States imposes full taxation on the citizens and residents of other nations, because they are also (according to U.S. definitions) U.S. citizens. The United States is the only country in the world that has a definition of “tax residency that mandates full taxation based ONLY on citizenship. How “U.S. citizenship” and U.S. “taxation” interact Principle 1: The United States is one of the few countries in the world that confers citizenship based SOLELY on birth on its soil. Principle 2: The United States is the ONLY country in the world that imposes full taxation ON THE WORLD INCOME of its citizens, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THE U.S. CITIZEN LIVES IN THE WORLD. Bottom line: The United States is the ONLY country in the world that imposes full taxation, on WORLDWIDE income, based ONLY on the “place of birth”! A practical example: A person whose only connection to the United States is that he was born in the United States, who lives in Canada (and may have never lived in the United States and whose only income is earned in Canada), is required to pay U.S. tax on that income. This resident of Canada is treated AS THOUGH HE WAS A U.S. RESIDENT. NOTE ALSO THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL IS REQUIRED TO PAY TAX TO CANADA! He is subject to “double taxation”. (This “double taxation” is only partially mitigated through “foreign tax credits”, tax treaties and the “foreign earned income exclusion”.) Therefore: What academics and government officials refer to as “citizenship-based taxation” (they really don’t understand its practical effects) is PRIMARILY “place of birth taxation” and therefore a convenient way to impose U.S. taxation on the citizens and residents of other countries. As a blog devoted to “citizenship taxation” (noting the difference between the theory and reality) points out:
“A supporter of citizenship taxation is someone who THINKS about “citizenship taxation”. An opponent of citizenship taxation is anybody who has tried to LIVE under citizenship taxation.”
How did this happen? It certainly didn’t start this way!
The evolution of “U.S. citizenship”
The result of legislative change and various U.S. Supreme Court decisions (primarily Afroyim ) has meant that “U.S. citizenship” is far easier to obtain and far harder to lose.
Furthermore, as people become more and more mobile, it is not unusual for somebody to have been “Born In The USA” but live outside the USA. Global mobility is now the rule, rather than the exception. The evolution of U.S. taxation and the Internal Revenue Code The Internal Revenue Code has become more and more complex and impacts more and more activities of daily life. Because “U.S. citizens” (even though they are citizen/residents of other countries) are subject to U.S. taxation, they have been tremendously impacted by the “creeping complexity” of the Internal Revenue Code (which applies equally to ALL Americans wherever they may live).
This “creeping complexity” has evolved slowly through the years. The problems have been exacerbated because Congress does NOT consider that when amending the Internal Revenue Code they are impacting the lives of tax paying residents of other nations (who happen to be U.S. citizens). Congress is “indifferent” to the plight of Americans abroad (indifference being one of the worst forms of abuse). Through the years, slowly and consistently …
The evolution of the Internal Revenue Code combined with ease of retaining U.S. citizenship has built a “fiscal prison” (legislative brick by legislative brick), in which to keep the tax paying residents of “OTHER NATIONS”, who just happen to have been born in the United States.
Introduction: It’s tax reform season and Senator Orrin Hatch wants to hear from you (again)
As reported on the Isaac Brock Society and other digital resources for those impacted by U.S. taxes, you have until July 17, 2017 to tell Senator Hatch what you think needs to be changed in the Internal Revenue Code. After great deliberation, it occurred to me that people who either are (or are accused of being) U.S. citizens or Green Card holders living outside the United States, might want the USA to stop taxing them. After all, they already pay taxes to the countries where they reside. This is your opportunity to “Let your voices be heard” (well maybe).
(July 17, 2017 is coming quickly. Please take a few moments to send your thoughts to Senator Hatch. Tell him you feel about FATCA, citizenship-based taxation, FBAR, etc.) Speaking of “tax reform”: Introducing Jackie Bugion
Jackie Bugnion is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Switzerland for many many years. She has been a tireless advocate for “residence based taxation”. She worked with “American Citizens Abroad” for many years and has recently retired. She was recently honoured with the Eugene Abrams award by ACA – an event that was the subject of a post at the Isaac Brock Society – that described her many achievements (over a long career).
She was the principal organizer of the “Conference on Citizenship Taxation” which took place in Toronto, Canada in May of 2014. The Conference was widely discussed on the Isaac Brock Society here and here. The live video of the “Kirsch Schneider debate” is here.
I have reproduced a number of her written submissions and posts on this blog, specifically:
The submission referenced in the above tweet describes the history of the construction of the U.S. “fiscal prison” brick by legislative brick! (Forward it to anybody and everybody with a interest in this.)
Jackie has returned with her 2017 submission to Senator Hatch. Jackie Bugnion – 2017 submission to Chairman Hatch – reproduced with permission of Jackie Bugnion
“Even in retirement Jackie Bugion writes the best arguments against citizenship taxation ever“. Other references to Ms. Bugnion’s work are here.
In this new post published on May 30, 2016 at Tax Analysts, Ms. Bugnion collaborates with U.S. tax lawyer Paula N. Singer to explain the problems experienced by Americans abroad who have pensions in their country of residence. This new article explains: 1. The problem – how U.S. tax laws destroy the value of the “foreign pension” as a “pension” at all 2. The treatment of non-U.S. pensions under various U.S. tax treaties (underscoring now tax treaties are very different) 3. The proposal – how the Internal Revenue Code can be simply amended to fix this simple but painful problem.
Below you will find the PDF of this must read article. Please note that this article appears on CitizenshipSolutions.ca under the following conditions:
Permission is for this one use and is contingent on properly crediting the article to the respective authors and to Tax Analysts as the original publisher. Using the PDF attached above covers proper attribution. Any other requests would need to be addressed separately.
— John Richardson – lawyer for "U.S. persons" abroad (@ExpatriationLaw) September 13, 2015
Jackie Bugnion has published a superb article describing the problems of U.S. citizenship taxation and why the United States must move to residence based taxation. Before, describing her article, for those who don’t know …
On May 7, 2015 I received notification that Jackie Bugnion had submitted her resignation to the Board of ACA “American Citizens Abroad“. I read the notification with a combination of sadness and total appreciation for the incredible efforts that Jackie has made in advocating for the rights of Americans Abroad. Jackie was largely responsible for organizing the “Citizenship Taxation Conference” (featuring the debate between Michael Kirsch and Bernard Schneider) that took place in Toronto on May 2, 2014. Some of you may have had the privilege of meeting her there. It’s unlikely that she could be replaced by any one individual. Continue reading →
Charles Cullen, Bernard Schneider, David Kuenzi, Jim Yager, Jackie Bugnion (left to right)
This newest article is an exceptionally clear statement of the problems facing Americans who choose to live outside the United States. The problem is that by moving form the United States and by being subject to the U.S. tax system that are: