US election: taxation for overseas nationals on agenda as factions battle in Netherlands

With over five million citizens who live abroad eligible to vote, the US elections have a particularly international angle.

Each and every one of those expats is required to file an annual tax return to US authorities – no matter how long they’ve lived outside the country.

Renee Nielsen heads up the Dutch wing of Republicans Abroad from her home in The Hague.

She thinks, the re-election of Donald Trump is the only way to repeal a 2010 Obama administration rule which forces all Americans who live abroad to file taxes.

She thinks the current situations is unfair:

“With President Trump, we have a voice now to have this changed to – instead of citizenship-based taxation – residency-based taxation.

And Republicans Overseas has led the way in trying to file lawsuits and litigate on behalf of all Americans overseas.”

However, after four years with Trump in office, the so-called FatCa system is still in place. It brings in nearly $9 billion in tax revenue per year.

Based 65 kilometres north east of Renee in Amsterdam, Kendra Borgen is in charge of the Democrats Abroad movement for the Netherlands. She says four years with Trump in office have been difficult in a liberal country like the Netherlands.

Her group also wants changes to the tax issue for US citizens abroad:

“The double taxation issue was enforced by Obama, but the policy was always around and the idea behind it is that it’s trying to catch tax cheats.

“It’s not trying to catch Americans who live abroad, who have bank accounts abroad, that wasn’t its intention.

“But this is what we’re seeing. Policies change slowly when there’s obstruction going on in Congress. So that’s what we need to stop.”

Eligible American voters in the Netherlands send in their ballots long before election day, but the result of this election doesn’t only affect them and that’s why it’s being watched so closely by Europeans as well.

Perhaps predictably, people living in the heart of Amsterdam that I spoke to weren’t as fond of the current president as Dutch people in more rural areas might be. One told me that if Trump gets re-elected, the USA would “go down faster.” Another told me she regarded Donald Trump as “a kind of monster.”

Even a woman who said he had done “good things” for the American economy said the way he had been president was “terrible for the Americans.”

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