Monthly Archives: November 2013

Robert Wood writes on rising renunciations of U.S. citizenship and #Americansabroad

This is a good article. As always the comments add great value.

The article includes:

Most expatriations are probably motivated primarily by factors such as family and convenience. Many people like Ms. Turner have built a life somewhere else and may not plan to need a U.S. passport.

Complex or costly taxes can help sway a decision but are often only one factor. Although statistics are not available for why people say a final good-bye, many now find America’s global income tax compliance and disclosure laws inconvenient and nettlesome. Some go so far as to say that the U.S. tax and disclosure laws are downright oppressive.

No group is more severely impacted than U.S. persons living abroad. For those living and working in foreign countries, it is almost a given that they must report and pay tax where they live. But they must also continue to file taxes in the U.S. What’s more, U.S. reporting is based on their worldwide income, even though they are paying taxes in the country where they live.

Many can claim a foreign tax credit on their U.S. returns, but it generally does not eliminate all double taxes. These rules have long been in effect, but enforcement was historically less of a concern with expats. Today enforcement fears are palpable.

Moreover, the annual foreign bank account reports known as FBAR forms carry civil and criminal penalties all out of proportion to tax violations. The penalties for failure to file these forms, civil and criminal, are severe. Even civil penalties can quickly consume the balance of an account.

The coup de grace is FATCA, which is ramping up now worldwide. It requires an annual Form 8938 to be filed with income tax returns for foreign assets meeting a threshold. And foreign banks are sufficiently worried about keeping the IRS happy that many simply do not want American account holders. Americans abroad can be pariahs shunned by banks for daily banking activities.




Protecting children from transmission of U.S. citizenship to children born abroad

Big problem. There was a time when U.S. citizenship was considered to be a great gift. As the above discussion makes clear many consider it to be a toxic liability. Obama promised “change we can believe in”. Nobody could seen the destruction of the value of U.S. citizenship.

It’s change we never could have believed possible!

Here is the comment that started this discussion:

I am a US citizen and have lived abroad for 13 years. I now qualify for Norwegian citizenship. My kids have dual citizenship. Due to FACTA, FBAR reporting, taxes, etc… I am investigating the pros and cons of renunciation. Also, I am wondering why I ever saddled my kids with life long tax reporting burdens when they are US citizens in name only. They will probably never live there and clearly consider themselves Norwegian. So, does anyone have any experiences, first or second hand, with this? I think my main concern would be how it could effect my relationship with family and friends in the States.

Edit: Thanks for all the comments. For me the issue is not the process/bureaucracy but rather the impact it could have on family and friends. So if anyone has experience on how renunciation effected your US relationships, I would love to hear from you. Thanks.