There are growing calls for Donald Trump and his administration to abolish America’s long-standing and highly controversial citizen-based taxation (CBT) policy.
It is a campaign I wholeheartedly support.
The U.S. shares the dubious ‘honor’ of being the only country in the world, apart from the tiny east African country of Eritrea to tax its citizens on the basis of their citizenship. Yes, Eritrea, a war-torn nation under dictatorship which declared independence from Ethiopia in 1991 after a sustained and bloody civil war, and the United States are the only nations on earth to have citizenship-based taxation.
If you’re British, for example, and you go and live in Spain, you don’t have to pay taxes on the income you earn in Spain to the British government.
However, the U.S. can implement its tax regime anywhere in the world. Indeed, the government uses threats of imprisonment and enormous fines for not correctly filing a huge amount of complex forms – even if no taxes are due or have ever been due.
Given the enormous global reach and the stiff penalties, it is hardly surprising that many of the estimated 8 million U.S. citizens (and ‘Accidental Americans’, where one parent’s place of birth happens to be the U.S.) living outside America are now increasingly calling for CBT to be scrapped in favor of standard residence-based taxation.
President Trump should now make good on his promise that he will be “president for all Americans” including “the forgotten men and women of our country” who “will be forgotten no longer” by abandoning this achingly un-American policy once and for all.
Americans live under one of the worst tax systems in the entire world. And it’s now time that the President should recognize the embarrassment of this draconian regime and join the rest of the civilized world, which has long acknowledged that residence and/or territoriality are the only criteria upon which a fair income tax system should be founded.
The American tax policy is not the global norm. And there’s a reason for this: it is fundamentally unjust to tax a people for their national identity alone.
If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to shake things up in Washington and truly wants to fulfil his objective of “serving the people”, moving to abolish CBT would be a landmark moment in achieving this on so many levels.
It is beyond the time that America releases her citizens from the rusty tax shackles and implements a new, modern fairer tax system so that all U.S. citizens can enjoy the same freedoms and prosperity as everyone else in the world. Except for the blighted citizens of Eritrea, of course.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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