FATCA pushes 1.5 million Americans in Asia to consider ‘citizide’

Over half of Americans residing in East Asia are having trouble accessing conventional banking services as a result of FATCA, according to a recent poll undertaken by deVere Group and Acuma Hong Kong.

More than 2,500 Americans who live in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo took part in the survey, which also found that almost a fifth have looked into relinquishing their U.S. passports. In addition, 38 per cent have come across people and/or businesses who do not wish to do business with them, and/or employ them because of the tax law.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has been a tremendous hammer blow to the 8 million expatriates living overseas since it was rolled out in 2014.

Indeed, the results of this latest survey highlight FATCA’s destructive effect on hard-working American people who happen to live and/or work abroad.

Although FATCA was set up with the noble aim of combatting serious tax evasion, rather than effectively tackling any form of tax evasion activity, it makes life incredibly difficult for Americans outside the U.S., as well as American firms operating globally.

Doug Tucker, deVere Group’s Head of East Asia says of this poll: “54 per cent of those surveyed told us that they have experienced trouble opening and/or holding a bank account outside the U.S. since FATCA’s implementation.  Non U.S. financial institutions now routinely refuse to handle American clients – even if they have been clients for years – as it is too much trouble and too costly to comply with FATCA’s onerous rules.

“Not having access to basic banking services, such as a checking account or mortgage, in your country of residence, clearly, makes life very difficult.”

Doug adds: “Similarly, 38 per cent have encountered difficulties in their professional life – for example, people not wanting to do business with them or considering them for employment – because they are an American. For example, an American might not be considered for a higher-level position which has signatory powers, because then their employers/organisation would also then have the FATCA burden thrust upon them.”

Furthermore, taking into account the vast number of unintended consequences of FATCA, the deVere survey carried out in East Asia shows that nearly a fifth of those asked are considering renouncing their U.S. citizenship.

When extrapolated to the total number of expats, this amounts to over 1.5 million Americans coming face to face with this heart-breaking decision.  1.5 million!!

As such, it comes as little surprise that two-thirds of people surveyed want the Trump administration to abolish FATCA as a matter of extreme urgency.

Indeed, as I was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal, International Investment, Global Banking and Finance Review, Fintech Finance and GFM Review, amongst others, deVere last month launched a Washington DC-based campaign to Repeal FATCA, co-led by former U.S diplomat and long-time Senate leadership staffer, Jim Jatras, a leading authority on FATCA.

A delegation of the Campaign was in fact in DC last month to put the operation into high gear. Meetings took place with tax activist groups who are playing a determining role in shaping the tax package that will be passed by Congress later this year; visits to numerous congressional offices; and a meeting was held with the Senate Budget Committee, which, according to the Campaign, is “important for scoring FATCA repeal.”

Doug adds: “FATCA has branded Americans overseas as financial lepers and is making life impossible.  FATCA is, as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says, ‘a textbook example of a bad law that doesn’t achieve its stated purpose but does manage to unleash a host of unanticipated destructive consequences.’

Consequently, now’s the time to repeal this damaging and highly controversial piece of legislation that has had the unintended consequence of disrupting the normal lives of law-abiding Americans based outside the States.

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