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Schumer and Casey launch "Ex-PATRIOT Act" for taxes

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While they're not completely wrong with criticizing the former Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin for giving up his US citizenship, they're also missing a few big problems. For starters, many expats like myself would be much more supportive if Senator Schumer and Casey did the exact same thing for corporations. Corporations continue to live by their own rules. Heck, if "corporations are people" as some say, let's start acting that way on all counts and not just when it benefits the corporations.

As it stands today, any American who rescinds their US citizenship still has to pay taxes for ten years plus an exit tax. For corporations the tax change happens immediately. Why is that fair? Remember when Halliburton decided to pack their bags and move to Dubai? I don't recall the same eagerness by Congress to create any special laws to punish them or any other US company that shifted their headquarters overseas.

While we're at it, what about all of the US corporations who shift their money to offshore locations to avoid taxes. Why not tack on something to the Ex-PATRIOT Act to punish them as well? If Schumer and Casey don't, it's only because they're a little too happy picking on individuals rather than corporations who pay out big dollars for campaigns.

Why bother with a new tax law that impacts a small number individuals each year when a tax law that could impact thousands of corporations would have a much stronger impact? This double standard on individuals versus corporations can only make sense in Congress. Corporations keeping money offshore and changing countries for tax reasons is much more costly than individuals moving away. I don't agree with Saverin's extreme move but Schumer and Casey are also being unreasonable if they're only going after Saverin.

The other big point that Schumer and Casey miss is that yes, being a US expat is a lot more of a hassle than being an expat for other First World citizens. Even if an individuals is under the annual income level for paying US taxes, they still need to both report income as well as report extensive and very private details on their banks. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, you're lumped into one group in terms of documentation.

If you are a multi-millionaire or billionaire, you have a team managing your accounts and it's easy enough. For regular individuals with normal middle class incomes and savings, it's a heavy and expensive process. Even for US residents - rich or poor - living in the US, the reporting on foreign accounts has become a painful exercise. I have plenty of normal, middle class friends living in the US who grew up elsewhere who now have to report on the details of what they have in their birth country or risk painful fines.

Again, Schumer and Casey have a very valid point that Saverin didn't mind taking advantage of the stable environment of the US to build his soon-to-be billions, but now that he's cashing in he's moving to a country that does not have capital gains taxes. That said, the two senators are kidding themselves if they think the system is working well today.

Stop picking on regular individuals and at least be fair to both individuals and corporations. There's no reason why corporations should continue to get the free rides as they are receiving today. When Congress does this, it only makes it even more obvious how bought off they are by corporations.

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