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Request from Congress for a GAO review of “Section 911” impacts

Two members of the Americans Abroad Caucus (Representatives Mike Honda of California and Carolyn Maloney of New York) have been joined by Representative Jim McDermott of Washington in requesting that the U.S. Government Accountability Office conduct a review of the potential impacts of any reduction in or elimination of current I.R.S provisions for exclusion of foreign-earned income and housing costs for Americans living and working overseas.

In the context of the upcoming review of the current U.S. tax code, and in the absence of any similar assessment in the last thirty years, the lawmakers felt it important to examine the impact on exports and the U.S. economy of any steps that might make Americans less competitive in the global economy.

The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion FEIE (Section 911 of the tax code) was originally put in place as an essential element of the U.S. Tax Code to protect expatriate Americans from double taxation and to ensure that they remain economically competitive, particularly in relation to other foreign nationals whose governments actively promote their expatriate citizens. 

As the Representatives state in their October 5 letter to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, “The assessment should also explain how the foreign earned income and housing cost exclusions may be related to the competitiveness of U.S. exports, companies, and labor as well as the potential impacts of limiting or removing the exclusions.  Such an assessment, in the light of the extensive changes to the global economy that have occurred in recent years, will provide lawmakers with better information about these provisions as we contemplate changes to the U.S. tax code in the months ahead.”

FAWCO strongly applauds the efforts of these Members of Congress to protect the FEIE and in so doing, promote U.S. commercial, political and cultural interests abroad.

You can send a message of support for this initiative to the office of Congressman Honda (https://forms.house.gov/honda/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm).  In your message, be sure to give your voting address in the United States, not a foreign address, but to state in the body of your message that you are an overseas American directly concerned by this issue.

Click here for a copy of the full letter to Comptroller General Dodaro.

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