Hofstra Law Review


Laura Snyder


Even though most Americans living outside the United States do not owe U.S. federal income tax, the U.S. nationality-based income tax system nevertheless places considerable burdens on them. In doing so, the system violates Fourteenth Amendment equal protection as well as other constitutional and human rights. The purpose of the system is not to raise revenue. Instead, its purpose is to punish and scapegoat American nationals living outside the United States, for no reason other than the fact that they live outside the United States. This is evidenced by the statements and actions of policymakers as well as by Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) data and the approach the IRS takes with respect to international taxpayers. The amounts collected by the system are insignificant, as compared both to income tax revenue from all individuals and to government spending. Congress has abdicated to two unelected bodies—the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (“JCT”) considerable power to determine the outcome of policy initiatives. If these bodies do not assign a positive budget score, the initiative is likely to die.

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