Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, April 27, 2009

Well isn't that neat - I wrote a letter to my congressman and he actually wrote back!

Thank you for sharing with me your support of H.R. 1798, the Working American Competitiveness Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

The Working American Competitiveness Act was introduced on March 30, 2009, and has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. It would allow taxpayers to exclude from their gross income, earned income from sources within a foreign country.

Rest assured that I will keep your support for this legislation in mind should I have an opportunity to vote on the bill.

With best wishes and apologies for the delay in responding to you.


James L. Oberstar, M.C.

A while back, there was a website circulating that would help you formulate a letter to your congressman/representative encouraging them to support the Working American Competitiveness Act. As stated above, this act would stop the double taxation of Americans living abroad and earning a fair amount of money. I obviously don't fall into this case, but I don't think it's fair for Americans who are making a good living to have to pay taxes in both their home country AND in the US on anything they make over 80,000€ (give or take a few euros).

But I think it's cool that he (or probably one of his aides) took the time to read my letter and respond back to it. Now that he knows someone in his constituency is potentially affected by this, maybe he'll take a bit more time to consider the bill. And who knows, if it's a close vote, one vote could really make all the difference. People often think "Oh, I'm just one person, what difference would I make?" But you just never know!



Blogger Sara said...

thats pretty good! all i got back was some lame emails about taxes that had nothing to do with the point.
i really hope they can finally pass this one day, the whole thing is ridiculous. Especially when one considers they are happy to take the taxes, but when you live abroad you don't qualify for most of the deductions or credits (new home credit, tax free health savings account, etc. etc.)
Its a disgrace that the US shares this policy with North Korea!

April 27, 2009 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

You do know you got lucky, don't you? Usually, when I write a Congressperson about something, they send back an email on a totally different subject, and of course, thank me for being a conscientious citizen.
One thing ex-pats have to deal with in the US is if they're getting a benefit from another country, their social security is deducted by a portion of that amount. I have an English friend who gets a small pension from England and Belgium, so the US deducts $300 dollars from his social security.

April 28, 2009 at 2:28 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Alain couldn't believe it when I told him that if I made over a certain amount, we would be taxed in the US, even though we don't live there.

April 28, 2009 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hi Sam!

That's pretty cool! Thanks for taking the time to write to him, too!! I hope they do away with double taxation! It seems stupid to be paying in both countries... esp. since one isn't reaping any benefits from the U.S. since he/she lives abroad. Taxes are high enough overseas as it is, too! I am not affected by this, but I do agree with it... I think people with more money in the U.S. should be taxed accordingly, not double taxing people who don't even live on in the U.S.
Take care,

April 28, 2009 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Vivi said...

Wow, that really is cool! And it sounds like you got a personal response, not a canned one. Nice!!

April 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

My objection is that we have to jump through a bunch of hoops, and often, nobody benefits except the accounting firm.
Last year, we paid our Swiss taxes, a few thousand CHF to an accounting firm to do our Swiss and U.S. taxes, and then we ended up having to pay $122 to the U.S. This year, the same thing except we only had to pay $93 to the U.S.
The reason I am very doubtful that anything will ever change is because accounting firms and their political action committees are contributing millions of dollars to politicians in America. Special interests & lobbyists, people! Hard to beat!

April 28, 2009 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Etienne said...

I thought that over the $80k, a foreign tax credit was available, meaning any taxes in France would be applied to the U.S. taxes owed, eliminating double taxation. No? Of course, the higher bracket still applies (so you will still be stuck with the French bracket and won't get any refund from the U.S. for taxes paid to France in excess of what you owe the U.S.), and it is a pain. I could be wrong though, and it definitely gets complicated when considering benefits etc. hmmm.

April 28, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger The Big Finn said...

Check out for another approach to U.S. taxation that is gaining momentum.

April 28, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Etienne, if you read the rules closely it seems you can take EITHER the 80K exception OR the tax credit, not both (TBF, correct me if your accountant says otherwise).

So if you make more than 80 you have to either pay full tax on everything above, or take the tax credit. But for the tax credit you only get to count things which are strictly defined as income tax, which for example is something like 10-15% in France, not the 30%+ you actually pay in taxes and other social charges.

Although if TBF is paying only $100 his accountant must know more than I do!

April 29, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

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