updated 9:32 PM CET, Feb 22, 2020

2020 Election: Where the candidates stand on the key expat financial, tax, citizenship issues

Just which candidate for U.S. president would be the best for America's estimated 9 million citizens who reside overseas anyway?

It certainly is not an easy question to answer, given that without exception, the candidates are more interested in Homeland voters than in the relatively-small expat contingent – even if, in fact, 9 million is more than the population of all but 10 U.S. states.

Nevertheless, as a service for our readers – and with their help – we present the following compilation of where the various candidates currently running for president stand on seven key issues that matter to Americans resident abroad. 

Where the candidates have not been known to have expressed a view on these six issues, which tends to be the rule rather than the exception as we embark on this project,  we will say that this is the case, and possibly, where possible, indicate where observers believe they stand, based on where they might stand on a related issue.

This project is being overseen for us by John Richardson, the Toronto-based lawyer and American expatriate rights campaigner, with the help of others. 

Anyone interested in contributing information or other material to this page should contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Democratic Primary Presidential Candidates

As reported, the Democrats Abroad, the Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the U.S., is holding its Global Presidential Primary (GPP) March 3 to 10, with in-person and remote voting options available.

In alphabetical order, the 11 candidates whose names will be on the GPP ballot are Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.

Below, in order, the candidates and their positions on the following seven key issues of concern to Americans resident overseas:

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA);
  • Position with respect to proposals to change the U.S. tax regime from its current "citizenship-based" model, unique in the world apart from Eritrea, to a residence-based tax (RBT) regime, like the rest of the world currently has;
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362), which is similar in concept to a proposal to exclude the financial accounts of American expats in the non-U.S. countries in which they live, from the need for their accounts to be reported under FATCA;
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363), which would provide for the creation of a commission that would be tasked with “examining the concerns of U.S. citizens living and working abroad”;
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358)
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 (“Transition Tax”) that, as written, enables the U.S. to extract a retroactive tax on the set-aside but already-taxed earnings of the small overseas businesses owned by American expats, dating back to 1986
  • American citizenship may be difficult to obtain, but perversely, it is also world-leading in how difficult and expensive it is to give up, even for those who have never lived in the U.S., had a passport or considered themselves to be American, having lived their lives as citizens of another country. Expats would like to see this situation change

 Michael Bennet

Senator representing Colorado since January 2009

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Joe Biden

Former Delaware Senator who served as U.S. vice president from 2009 to 2017

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Michael Bloomberg

Former mayor of New York City (2002 – 2013) and founder of Bloomberg LP

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Pete Buttigieg

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana (2012 – 2020)
Overseas experience: attended Oxford University after Harvard College on a Rhodes Scholarship; spent seven months in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2014

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): (Interviewed on a Democrats Abroad "Global Webinar" on Sept. 25, 2019, and available on YouTube): "It’s very clear that this law has had a lot of unintended consquences for law-abiding Americans living overseas. And so [as president] I will direct the Treasury Department to evaluate those unintended consequences, and propose improvements and fixes – whether they can be done administratively, or whether it’s going to require a legislative improvement to the law."

  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: (Also from the Democrats Abroad YouTube interview): "I believe in the principle of revenue-neutral improvements to this. I do think the revenue-neutral part is important, because we’ve seen how much overseas activity is a way that high earners and corporations – two categories that I think most of us feel now are not paying their fair share – have sometimes taken advantage of.

    "But I think there is a way to do that, to be responsive to some of the ways that some, for example, multi-national corporations or some well-connected individuals could abuse the law. There are ways that we can get ahead of that.

    "So I do support the principle that we should find a revenue-neutral way to ensure that taxation is fair, and that people aren’t being hit unfairly, as happens.

    "I remember with my very modest earnings, even as a student [at Oxford University], discovering that I was liable both to British council taxes and to U.S. income taxes, and learned a lot first-hand about what’s at stake there."

  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Tulsi Gabbard

House of Representatives member for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, since 2013; ex-U.S. Army, currently Army National Guard major
Overseas experience: 12-month tour of Iraq with U.S. Army in 2004

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Amy Klobuchar

Senator representing Minnesota since 2007

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Deval Patrick

Former governor of Massachusetts (2007 – 2015); currently managing director of Bain Capital (private equity company)

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Bernie Sanders

Senator representing Vermont since 2007, before which he was in the House of Representatives, also from Vermont; ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): Interviewed on a Democrats Abroad "Global Webinar" on Nov. 11, 2019, and available on YouTube:  “I absolutely [would commit to direct the U.S. Treasury Department to study and then implement new guidance that would provide relief to ordinary Americans living abroad who are demonstrably not evading taxes].

    “I know, and I’ve heard from many Americans living abroad, that this is a serious problem.

    “I’m not going to hide from you the fact that I believe in progressive taxation. I think we’ve got to end the ability of large corporations and the wealthy to stash their monies in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg – and that I’m going to end.

    “But on the other hand, where you have hard-working Americans, who do not try to evade their taxes or responsible American citizens – I don’t want to see them double-taxed. I don’t want to see them have to go through a bureaucratic maze in order to obey the law.

    So...absolutely we will study it and we will make the necessary reforms. I can make sure that people simply pay their fair share of taxes, and nothing more.”

  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime:  (Also from the Democrats Abroad YouTube interview): "I think I will be [that leader who will implement residency-based taxation] I have heard, as I said before, from many Americans abroad; we are one of, I believe, very few countries in the world that do not work under that principle. So this is something that I think we can take a hard look at, and implement."

  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Tom Steyer

New York-based hedge fund manager(Farallon Capital, Hellman & Friedman) and philanthropist

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Elizabeth Warren

Senator representing Massachusetts since 2013; former law school professor

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown

Republican Presidential Candidates

 Donald Trump 

Incumbent president of the U.S.; property developer/businessman, television personality

Below, in order, the positions of the Republican party's incumbent candidate, Donald Trump, as they are understood to be, on the six key issues of concern to Americans resident overseas: 

  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA): position unknown
  • Move to a residence-based tax regime, from the current CBT regime: position unknown
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Overseas Americans Financial Access Act (H.R. 4362): position unknown
  • Rep. Maloney’s Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act of 2019 (H.R. 4363): position unknown
  • Rep. George Holding’s Tax Fairness for Americans Abroad Act (H.R. 7358): position unknown
  • Key elements of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017: position unknown 
  • Make it easier and less expensive for Americans to give up their citizenship if they wish to: position unknown