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American Citizens Abroad (ACA) describes itself in public media as a "non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer association whose mission is to defend the rights of Americans living outside the United States border."[1] It was founded in 1978.[1] ACA has individual members around the world, and has developed a network of country contacts—volunteer American citizens who work without compensation in their respective host countries on behalf of not just the organization—in more than 50 countries, but to further ACA's causes.[1]

ACA maintains close contacts with a caucus within the U.S. Congress established under the direction of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.[2] ACA interfaces with subsequent government administrations and other agencies in an attempt to change laws and regulations that place Americans overseas at a disadvantage to that of their fellow citizens living inside the United States.[3] ACA sends a monthly "News Update" to its members with information on new legislation, rules and events which affect U.S. citizens, whether living overseas or at home.[4]

ACA’s web site also contains information on issues of concern to Americans overseas, including transmission of citizenship to offspring, taxation[5] and voting. On taxation, ACA has written various pieces in its ongoing efforts to preserve the Foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE), which is vital for Americans living and working overseas to avoid full double taxation.[6]

Recently ACA played a significant role in improving the ballot request form used for absentee voting.[7] Banking is another area of current activity to counteract disadvantages felt by American citizens abroad, who often cannot open new bank accounts, neither in the States because they have no address there to satisfy the Patriot Act, nor overseas because of the extra paperwork requirements imposed by the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).[8][9] ACA works with the U.S. Embassy and other groups in a bipartisan manner on issues of common concern; it has co-organized town meetings across Switzerland producing a 10-page report; ACA founder, the late Andy Sundberg, was a moving force behind this exercise.[10][11] Anyone interested in country contacts within host nations may contact ACA's main offices online for such information.

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  1. ^ a b c In 2013 it reorganized as American Citizens Abroad, Inc., a US tax-exempt organization operating under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Alongside it is the American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation, a publicly supported charity under section 501(c)(3), [1]
  2. ^ http://www.americansabroad.org/americans-abroad-caucus/ For an update on its activities as of March 2016 see footage at 30 minutes into this video from AARO, http://aaro.org/oaw-recap-march-2016
  3. ^ It is difficult for an average Congressperson to understand the concerns of an overseas voter, who appears only in small numbers in his/her district. A dedicated representative for overseas voters, though, could better take the time to understand concerns such as those of children born overseas in binational marriages or the Physical presence test.
  4. ^ A sample "News Update" (PDF) can be seen at https://www.americansabroad.org/aca-news-update/
  5. ^ Cohn, Michael (February 21, 2012). "Expats Press Capitol Hill for Tax Reforms". Accounting Today.
  6. ^ as documented in the ACA Press Kit in PDF, https://www.americansabroad.org/media/files/files/ae902b3b/ACA-press-kit-2015.pdf
  7. ^ Knowlton, Brian (May 9, 2012). "Change to Ballot Request Form Angers U.S. Expats". New York Times.
  8. ^ Bachmann, Helena (April 20, 2010). "Why More U.S. Expatriates Are Turning In Their Passports". Time magazine.
  9. ^ Bachmann, Helena (31 January 2013). "Why Americans Working Abroad Are Ditching Their U.S. Citizenships". TIME. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 'FATCA is the straw that broke the camel’s back,' says Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad (ACA), a Geneva-based expatriate advocacy group. Because this legislation forces local banks to invest in expensive new infrastructure in order to comply with the IRS rules, 'access to foreign financial institutions is being shut off and Americans abroad are treated like criminals,' she adds.
  10. ^ Report of the Americans in Switzerland Working Group, September 2012, http://pegasus.thomasruddy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/final_arawg2.pdf
  11. ^ Wallace, Ellen (14 February 2013). "US-Switzerland sign controversial Fatca agreement (update)". GenevaLunch news. Retrieved 11 March 2013. One of the groups, American Citizens Abroad, which is based in Geneva, says it 'continues to combat the negative effects of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca). In December 2012 after meetings with the Treasury Department and in a follow up letter, ACA pressed for the inclusion in Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) and in the recently finalized Fatca regulations of provisions incentivizing Foreign Financial Institutions to avoid discriminating against Americans. Treasury has included this language in most of the new IGAs and the provision has found its way into the final FATCA regulations.'


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