Tag Archives: renounce u.s. citizenship

The pain of renouncing US citizenship: It’s not about the loss of citizenship

The above tweet references an article at swissinfo.ch written by Christina Warren. She describes her feelings about renouncing her U.S. citizenship. It is an interesting article which describes the pain and turmoil associated with renouncing her citizenship. Rather than attempt to comment at the site, I decided to write a comment as a post. Please read her article

Christina:

Thanks for writing this article. It’s clear how painful your “decision” to renounce your U.S. citizenship was. You “never had a say” when it comes to U.S. policies including citizenship-based taxation and FATCA.

As a result, you “never had a say” in whether you could retain your U.S. citizenship. For the most part, tax complaint U.S. citizens living abroad, can no longer survive if they continue to be U.S. citizens. Your renunciation was reasonable, necessary and inevitable.

I understand the tremendous pain your loss of U.S. citizenship has caused you. But, I would like to suggest that the “pain” may not be the loss of U.S. citizenship. I suggest that the “pain” is for at least two other reasons.

Reason 1: The realization that American NEVER stood for and embraced the values that you thought it stood for. It’s the feeling of having been “duped”, perhaps “lied to”.

Reason 2: The realization that you never did and never will matter to the United States. You thought that you could get the U.S. government to listen. To understand. To do the right thing. To treat its citizens with “concern and respect” or (considering Americans abroad) with “equal concern and respect”. The United States doesn’t care about its citizens (no matter where they live). This is evident from the response from Elizabeth Warren. The response from Ms. Warren is NOT about FATCA. The response from Elizabeth Warren is a clear statement that what matters to the United States of American is NOT “citizens” but “revenue”.

“Citizenship-based taxation” is bad enough. But, “taxation-based citizenship” is much worse. My point is that the ONLY thing that “U.S. citizenship” is about is taxation.

Here is the excerpt from Elizabeth Warren that you quote:

“…I recognize that FATCA implementation has not been perfect, and it troubles me that financial institutions overseas would deny services to Americans out of concern over FATCA compliance. However, according to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the U.S. Treasury may be losing more than $100 billion in tax revenues every year as a result of offshore tax havens. I believe measures like FATCA clamp down on overseas tax evasion and help make sure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. …”

You should be happy that you are no longer a citizen of a country that doesn’t care about its citizens. Believe me the U.S. Government understands what it is doing to it’s citizens abroad. It doesn’t care.

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Part 1 – Congressional and administrative barriers to exercising the right of expatriation – the relinquishment fee

The election of Barack Obama ushered in the era of “Change you can believe in”. For Americans abroad it is has resulted in the need to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that there is a constitutional right to relinquish U.S. citizenship and the 1868 “Right to Expatriate” statute is still on the books, the United States continues to impose barriers to relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

This will be a series of post designed to explain the administration (think Obama administration) and Congressional barriers (think laws) to relinquishing U.S. citizenship.

 

There are at least three categories of barriers. To be specific there are:

  1. Financial – Barriers imposed by the cost of relinquishing U.S. citizenship
  2. Mental – Barriers imposed by a requirement that that the potential renunciant “understand what he/she is renouncing”
  3. Physical – Barriers imposed by the requirement that the renunciation take place outside the United States and at a U.S. Consulate

Each of these barriers is deserving of a separate post.

Today, we will begin considering the financial barriers to renouncing U.S. citizenship.

To put it simply, it is far from “free” to relinquish the citizenship of the “Land of the Free”.

Although the administrative fee to relinquish U.S. citizenship is on only one (and for many the smallest) component of relinquishing U.S. citizenship, it imposes a barrier for many. The current fee for relinquishing U.S. citizenship is $2350 USD. As Robert Wood has discussed, the United States has the highest relinquishment of citizenship fee in the world. (Check out the comments to his article.) It is reasonable to conclude that the purpose of the fee is to discourage people from exercising their right to expatriate. It is clear, that many people Americans abroad have difficulty affording that fee. See this recent Facebook discussion at Keith Redmond’s American Expatriates group. It’s clear that many families are beginning to include “U.S. citizenship renunciation” in the family budget.

Renunciation Fund – “Put a little love in your heart” – A possible humanitarian gesture …

Next – tax compliance fees and the relinquishment of U.S. citizenship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shame of #Americansabroad who can’t provide for families because of US tax policies

The above tweet references an interesting Facebook discussion which includes a “reply from President Obama” from an American abroad who is questioning FATCA. The comments that follow are extraordinary.

The reply from President Obama is:

talk about NOT responding to the question…… Asked him one question, Why FATCA?
The response:
Dear Kenton:
Thank you for writing. It’s clear you have faced great challenges, and I want you to know I am listening. Taxes affect all of us and reflect our Nation’s values, and understandably, people have strong opinions on this issue. As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does, too. That is why I am determined to fix our broken tax code and ensure it offers a leg up to Americans striving for a better future.
For too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that allow some corporations to pay nothing while others pay full freight. Additionally, the super-rich are receiving giveaways they don’t need while middle-class families are not getting the breaks they do need. By closing loopholes that allow the top 1 percent of Americans to avoid paying certain taxes, we can help more families afford college, health care, a home, and retirement. We can also reward companies who are investing here in America instead of offering breaks to those who keep their profits abroad.
To help hardworking Americans get ahead, my latest budget includes several tax benefits for the middle class and those trying to reach it—including low-income earners, two-earner households, families with children, and those paying tuition for higher education. I have also proposed a tax credit of up to $3,000 per child to help millions of families afford quality childcare. These tax benefits would help put hundreds of dollars back in the pockets of those who most need the help.
To learn more, visit WhiteHouse.gov/issues/taxes. For help with a tax problem, visit IRS.gov/Advocate. You can also visit IRS.Treasury.gov/freetaxprep to learn if you are eligible to receive free, in-person help filing your taxes each year.
Here’s the bottom line: I am committed to simplifying the tax code for individuals and small businesses, making it more competitive for American businesses investing here at home, and ensuring the biggest loopholes are finally eliminated. With a more responsible tax approach, we can help working Americans not only make ends meet, but also get ahead in the new economy so we can build a future worthy of our children and grandchildren.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama

 

 

Cook v. Tait 18: #Americansabroad by their very nature benefit the US government wherever they may be found

The above tweet references a fascinating discussion about the best Thomas Jefferson quotes. Homelander lawyers often justify U.S. citizenship-based taxation by citing the 1924 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cook v. Tait. The world in 1924 is very different from the world today. What is meant by “taxation” in 1924 is very different from what “taxation is today”. Neither the factual context nor the reasoning in Cook v. Tait bears any relation to the world today. The quote referenced in the above tweet is:

Continue reading

More on phantom capital gains and the injustice of U.S. taxation of #Americansabroad

I was alerted to the above comment that appeared on Facebook. Here we have one more casualty of the “Code of Conduct” that governs Americans abroad. You have heard the saying:

“When in Rome, do as the Romans”.

When it comes to Americans abroad, the Code says:

“When an American goes abroad, do as an American in the Homeland.”

The above tweet references an article on how dangerous Foreign Exchange rates can be to the financial health of an American abroad. It’s fascinating how fluctuating exchange rates impact the lives of Americans abroad in so many ways.

By the way, the Canadian dollar is feeling. This means that:

2015 is a very good year to renounce U.S. citizenship. To understand why, read this post.

 

 

 

 

 

Nice collection of #FATCA #FBAR #Renouncecitizenship comments from @GlobeAndMail

Very nice collection of comments from StudentAdvocate including:

Our neighbour just got more dysfunctional

US dysfunction affects all Canadians. Due to US law the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the world’s banks and financial institutions are now agents of the US Treasury Department, and are on a witch-hunt for so-called US persons – basically anyone with a US place of birth. FATCA is one of the most arrogant and dysfunctional laws to ever pass Congress, and was passed as an add-on rider, with little debate or consideration for consequence. In Canada, the Harper Conservatives capitulated to the US law FATCA, and made history by making banking and financial discrimination against any Canadian with a US birthplace mandatory. Embedded in omnibus budget bill C31 was an an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to embody the dysfunctional US law FATCA into Canadian law. This was largely covert and under-reported, the US demanded FATCA compliance and the Canadian government – at the behest of Canada’s banks – pushed it through, despite unanimous opposition from NDP, LIberal and Green Party. Now, the hunt is on for so-called US persons in Canada. All banks, financial institutions and insurers must search their customers records for indications of a US place of birth. They must ask all new customers if they have a US birthplace or similar connection. If found, the confidential bank records will be forwarded to the US IRS – via compliant poodles at CRA. The US considers the local and legal Canadian financial accounts of any Canadian with a tie of so-called US person-hood to be a potential undeclared and illicit “offshore account” – and the penalties are draconian. Because so many Canadians were either born in the US or immigrated from the US, the effect is profound. This may effect up to one million Canadians, many of whom have only a tenuous tie to the US (including border babies: Canadians incidentally born in the US due to happenstance or medical referral). Because the Canadian FATCA IGA in Bill C31 violates the Charter by making “place of birth” discrimination mandatory, it is being legally challenged. A small grassroots organization – The Alliance for Defense of Canadian Sovereignty – has raised almost $300,000 through crowdfunding and hired leading Constitutional advocate Joe Arvay to challenge this in court. All Canadians should oppose the shameful embedding of dysfunctional US law in Canadian law, because it has created a new class of 2nd class Canadians: any Canadian with a US place of birth now has significantly reduced financial