April 25, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 70 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
INTRODUCTION OF OVERSEAS AMERICANS FINANCIAL ACCESS ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 70
(Extensions of Remarks - April 25, 2017)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E532] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCTION OF OVERSEAS AMERICANS FINANCIAL ACCESS ACT ______ HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of new york in the house of representatives Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Mrs. CAROLYN B. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act on behalf of the estimated 6-8 million American citizens living and working abroad. This bill would amend the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to address the unintended consequences it imposes on American citizens overseas that make it more difficult to access basic banking products and services in their country of residence. As co-chair of the Americans Abroad Caucus, for years I have heard reports from constituents overseas detailing how FATCA's expensive and duplicative reporting requirements have led foreign financial institutions to deny basic banking services to American citizens. Some Foreign Financial Institutions have simply closed accounts or refused to open new ones for U.S. citizens in order to minimize their exposure to FATCA reporting requirements, withholding fees and potential penalties. This practice leaves law-abiding American citizens without access to everyday financial tools such as mortgages, bank accounts, insurance policies and pension funds--all of which are critical services regardless of place of residence. While I recognize the difficult job of the Treasury Department to make sure American money around the world remains compliant with the U.S. tax code, the current FATCA reporting procedures subject ordinary Americans to the same scrutiny as criminal tax evaders and money launderers. Revision of these reporting policies is necessary to ensure that Americans remain competitive in international business and continue to contribute to economies here in the U.S. and around the world. Unfortunately, some have resorted to renouncing their American citizenship in response. It is now time to act and provide relief. The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) has recognized this problem and on April 13, 2015, issued a recommendation that the IRS exclude from FATCA reporting financial accounts maintained by a financial institution in the country in which the U.S. citizen is a bona fide resident. To date, no action has been taken to institute such a policy to alleviate the burden on overseas Americans as a result of FATCA. That is why I am proud to introduce the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act which would implement TAS's recommendation and exempt Americans from FATCA reporting if their accounts are held in the same country where they are a bona fide resident. As Members of Congress, it is our duty to represent our constituents' best interests whether they live in the United States or overseas. I urge my colleagues to support this bill so that we may fulfill this duty and grant our overseas constituents the relief they need. ____________________