Votes for Expat Brits
   Home      No taxation without representation!
How often do we hear that cry from expat Brits who have been unfairly deprived of the right to vote?
But the situation of disenfranchised British expats isn’t the same as in the America of the 1750s and 1760s.
In general, voting rights are attached to nationality, while liability to income tax is based on residence. Countries don’t on the whole grant the right to vote to foreign residents, although exceptionally, within the EU, the Maastricht treaty allows European citizens living in a member state which is not their country of origin, to vote where they live in municipal and European Parliament elections.

On the other hand, a given country’s tax laws invariably stipulate that residents, whatever their nationality, are liable to pay income tax on their worldwide income in their country of residence. And of course most countries allow their own citizens to vote in national elections, wherever they live, but don’t allow foreign residents to vote, despite the fact that they pay tax there.

So British expats are stuck in a situation where, after fifteen years abroad, they pay their taxes, but they can’t vote in British elections, and they can’t vote in host country elections either.