Spike in Citizenship-Renunciation Directly Attributable to Lousy 2010 Tax Law



There's been another round of Drudge-linked articles about how record numbers of Americans are giving up U.S. citizenship out of frustration over new tax laws requiring financial cavity-searches on the estimated 6 million U.S. expatriates. Bloomberg Businessweek brings the stats:

Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship surged sixfold in the second quarter from a year earlier as the government prepares to introduce tougher asset-disclosure rules.

Expatriates giving up their nationality at U.S. embassies climbed to 1,131 in the three months through June from 189 in the year-earlier period, according to Federal Register figures published today. That brought the first-half total to 1,810 compared with 235 for the whole of 2008.

The cause? An intrusive, unprecedented, and greedy little 2010 law we've been bellyaching about here for a while now: The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. This piece of revenue-scrounging legislative dogspit turns foreign financial institutions into tax-collectors for the IRS, foreign companies who hire Americans into compliance machines, and foreign-living Americans into mattress investors scared of their own shadow. More Bloomberg Businessweek:

I would never in one million years watch this movie. |||

The additional compliance costs for companies to ensure that Americans they hire are filing the correct U.S. tax returns and asset-declaration forms are at least $5,000 per person, said [Matthew] Ledvina, [a U.S. tax lawyer at Anaford AG in Zurich].

For individuals, the costs are also rising. Getting a mortgage or acquiring life insurance is becoming almost impossible for American citizens living overseas, Ledvina said.

"With increased U.S. tax reporting, U.S. accounting costs alone are around $2,000 per year for a U.S. citizen residing abroad," the tax lawyer said. "Adding factors, such as difficulty in finding a bank to accept a U.S. citizen as a client, it is difficult to justify keeping the U.S. citizenship for those who reside permanently abroad."

The Wall Street Journal also has a piece out on the topic, including the also-predictable anecdotal evidence that rich expatriates are just writing checks to pay off Uncle Sam, while the non-moneybags have to make real choices about whether being American is worth it:

"My decision was less about the actual amount of taxes I had to pay, and more about the system," said one investment banker, who renounced his U.S. citizenship and is now a Hong Kong citizen. "I'm not an ultrawealthy dude. It was the hassle with all the paperwork."

Reason on FATCA here.

NEXT: Dozens Injured in Bangladesh Protests

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I would never in one million years watch this movie.

    But you have to!

    1. Good movie, actually.

      1. the trailer already tells me what happens…

        The whole movie looks like it would be the same thing but in slow motion.

        I will never watch it either….and this is not a reflection on whether it is good or bad.

  2. “Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship surged sixfold in the second quarter from a year earlier as the government prepares to introduce tougher asset-disclosure rules.”

    The real-life version of the strike in Atlas Shrugged?

  3. Should rename it to:

    Foreign Account Tax Whaling Act

    1. Liability of Outsiders Owing Taxes Expected by Revenue Service

  4. Compliance costs are a myth, just like the slippery slope.

    Why should Society allow you to throw their money away on stuff like Ferraris and castles in Ireland, when poor defense contractors right here in America are starving due to Sequestergeddongate?

    1. Even NPR is buying the whole poor defense contractor bullshit these days. Living in the Norfolk area, I am barraged with the “end of times” fear-mongering.

      1. It is kind of funny to see left-tards falling over themselves to rush to the defense of people that just a couple of years ago they would have denounced as evil incarnate. Just further evidence that they have no principles.

        1. It’s also further evidence that they’re really, really stupid sheep.

          1. They’ll pretty much just fling their shit at whoever they’re told to. So more like retarded chimps.

    2. MEGALADON!!!

  5. Also labor justice advocates need money to educate dumb fatsos who think they have some sort of right to affordable hamburgers.

    1. Those hamburgers: they didn’t eat those.

    2. I thought the hamburger making robot was about to reduce the cost of hamburgers.

      1. B-b-but… JERBZ!!!111!!!!1!

        1. We still need someone to clean and maintain the hamburger making robot. Until the robot that does that is finished.

  6. on the estimated 6 million U.S. expatriates.

    I am the 2 percent!

  7. I thought the hamburger making robot was about to reduce the cost of hamburgers.

    This is why unionization is so important; they will need to write work rules requiring a human to sit on a stool and “supervise” the robot, at $35/hr.


  8. This piece of revenue-scrounging legislative dogspit

    I’m sorry, your subtly is lost on me, I think you’re expressing an opinion?

  9. Just for the record, at least when I was in Mexico…

    The expatriate community isn’t like how the progressives paint them to be. The headlines are always about some billionaire CEO retiring in Nevis (for six months and a day of the year), and piling up assets outside the country so he can avoid paying taxes.

    Actually, your typical ex-pat isn’t anything like that. A lot of them are retired people, who are looking to stretch their social security checks further by living somewhere cheaper. A lot of them are ne’r do wells and artsy OWS types, who are looking to live an adventure. There are a lot of women, who, after a divorce, are looking to build a new life…

    This is another example of the Obama Administration lashing out at the rich, white people they hate so much–especially if they’re in the news. …and instead clamping down on poor people, many of whom would come back to the United States and live here if they could afford it.

    It’s a standard Obama bait and switch. First, he goes all crusader on giving the working poor affordable healthcare. Next, he realizes that his well-intentioned crusade is only hurting the people he was trying to help. Last, he can’t make himself look like a fool in the media by changing course, so he ends up fining the working poor for not having enough money to buy health insurance.

    Going after wealthy businessmen only to end up hurting the poor just isn’t ironic coming from the Obama Administration anymore. It’s completely expected.

    1. Yup, they went after a friend of mine good and hard for having his export business based offshore. I doubt he makes three figures and all his p’s and q’s were in order, but it soured his Obama love quite a bit.

  10. “Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship surged sixfold in the second quarter from a year earlier as the government prepares to introduce tougher asset-disclosure rules.”

    I do not see anyone asking this yet, but I do wonder how many of these citizens renouncing their US citizenship are part & parcel of the hardcore leftists Hollywood community and were once fervent advocates for (or still are when in front of the camera) the very ideology and political party that stuck them with this new ass-rape of a tax? Kind of like the whole Matt Damon “I love public schools and so should you, but my kids are going to private school.. SUCKAZ!’ thing.

    1. I wonder… If people could renounce their American citizenship and all claim to government benefits, while continuing to live and work here without paying any income taxes – how many would take that deal?

      I would.

      1. I would. Which is why the government will never allow it.

      2. In a heartbeat, unless benefits includes access to courts. If you mean medicare, ss, and other government tax payouts, and it includes state and federal income taxes, I’d be all over it, camping out in line.

  11. 2 to 5 thousand a year to fill out a one page form? It took me 5 minutes. Not that it’s okay, but argue from principles, not from exaggerated paperwork burdens.

  12. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to understand how reverse mortgage works , the types of reverse mortgages available, and how to get the best deal. When you apply for a reverse mortgage with a lender, they will hire an appraiser to determine the current market value of your home and an actuary to calculate in reverse loan calculator .

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.