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Accidental Americans respond to US Bills

Fabien Lehagre calls for stronger understanding of how Accidental Americans are affected by US Policy

Published on September 19, 2019

Fabien Lehagre, President of the Accidental Americans Association (AAA), has written a letter to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in response to news of her re-introduction of two bills aimed at supporting overseas Americans.

The two bills which Congresswoman Maloney has re-introduced are the Commission on Americans Abroad Act, which seeks to establish a commission to study and research the effects of US policy on Americans living outside of the United States, and the Overseas Americans Financial Access Act, which would provide an exemption for US Citizens living abroad from all FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) reporting regulations.

In his letter, Mr Lehagre says that "We strongly welcome your plans to introduce two pieces of legislation", but also highlights that in introducing these bills, Ms Maloney's press release "unfortunately ... does not mention the disastrous consequences of these laws for 'Accidental Americans' who are most affected. Mr Lehagre explains that the phrase 'Accidental Americans' "refers to individuals who acquired US Citizenship by accident of birth, but have no ties with America. Many of them did not live there beyond babyhood, have neither worked nor studied there, and often have no US Social Security number."

Mr Lehagre also argues that the particular problem affecting Accidental Americans is FATCA: "Because of FATCA, banks refusing to pass on full information about their American dual-national clients are now liable to be hit with a 30% withholding tax on their US dollar transactions. The upshot is that a number of banks are throwing their American and US dual-national clients out. They are also refusing to open new accounts for them, grant housing or start-up loans or to sell them life insurance and other financial services."

We reported earlier this month that concerns remain that thousands of Accidental Americans could have their bank accounts automatically closed due to FATCA regulations. In another important recent development, a US born British Citizen is crowdfunding for a legal campaign against FATCA in the UK.

Mr Lehagre concludes his letter by writing "I very much hope you will take these problems into account in your proposed legislation, and remain at your disposal to discuss the issue whenever it is convenient for you."

Mr Lehagre's letter can be read in full via their Twitter account, @usaccidental.


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