American expats 'must be included in covid-19 legislative relief efforts'

clock
American expats 'must be included in covid-19 legislative relief efforts'

American Citizens Abroad (ACA) has said the $2trn stimulus bill passed by the Senate this week must also apply to Americans living and working overseas, and not only to those Americans already residing in the United States.

The not-for-profit advocacy organization yesterday sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, Treasury and IRS pointing out that Americans abroad are taxed the same as Americans at home and, as a result, they should be directly affected by legislation and administrative actions intended to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individual, families and businesses affected by the current covid-19 pandemic.

ACA stated that tax legislation along the lines of the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act" passed unanimously by the Senate yesterday must ensure that Americans living and working overseas are treated in the same manner as other taxpayers, and that special issues arising from the fact that they live outside the US are addressed, so as to avoid mistakes and unintended consequences.

All too often, the organisation says, citing the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, "consideration has not been given to how changes will affect the community of Americans overseas."

All too often, the organisation says, citing the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, "consideration has not been given to how changes will affect the community of Americans overseas."  

ACA highlights that attention to such issues as deadlines, the mechanics of refunds, limitations based on gross income, and loans to small businesses, are needed as these may differ from how the IRS and Treasury deals with these for US citizens living in the United States.

Marylouise Serrato, ACA executive director, said: "The Congress, Treasury and IRS must ensure that Americans overseas are treated equitably.  In many cases, American citizens overseas claim foreign tax credits, resulting in little or no US tax liability, even though they have significant adjusted gross income. These individuals should not be adversely affected, and they should not be subject to reduced refunds/credits."

Something that can be a great help for American expats wanting to receive their 2020 recovery rebates as quickly and securely as possible, is an ACA-enabled State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) bank account. The account was developed by ACA in close cooperation with the SDFCU, in 2016. Americans overseas, even those with no physical presence in the US, can quickly and easily open and operate, entirely online, an SDFCU account. 

"This account is perfect for emergencies like this. SDFCU is a highly-regarded U.S.-based institution and SDFCU makes it easy for account holders to transfer funds to an individual's local foreign bank, or make transfers immediately to relatives in the U.S., or do all manner of other things," added Glen Frost, Associate Legal Counsel-ACA.

Subscribe to International Investment's free, twice-daily, newsletter

Author spotlight

Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.

The Big Interview - Advisers