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13 Reasons Why I Committed Citizide AKA Renounced My US Citizenship



JOHN RICHARDSON

Introduction

On December 5, 2019 TaxConnections published our “Open Letter To Democrats Abroad” in which we argued that “revenue neutrality” should be irrelevant in moving from “citizenship-based taxation” to “residence-based taxation”. That post attracted a large number of comments from Americans abroad expressing the difficulties living under the citzenship-based taxation regime. The bottom line is that the United States is forcing expats to renounce their U.S. citizenship. Yes, its’ true. The comments reminded me of a post that appeared on my site in 2017. Settle in for the ride as you read the “13 Reasons Why …”

Guest post by a perfectly ordinary person who renounced U.S. citizenship for perfectly ordinary reasons

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13 Reasons Why I Committed Citizide

(Inspired by the television series, 13 Reasons Why)

Hey, it’s Jane. Jane Doe. Settle in because I’m about to tell you the story of my renunciation. More specifically, why I gave up my US citizenship. And if you’re reading this article, you’re probably thinking of doing it too. I can’t expect you to understand exactly how I feel; each person has a unique set of circumstances, a deeply personal mix of conflicting emotions, fears and problems that shape their response. But I can tell you why I did it. Let me start by saying, don’t believe everything you hear.

1.     The lost children: I am one of an estimated nine million US expats, some by design, some by accident. Some aren’t even citizens at all but simply “US tax persons.” Whatever we are, none of us is beyond the reach of the IRS. Most of us are everyday people living modest lives in the countries of our choice, not high-rolling tax cheats playing hide and seek with Uncle Sam. Most of us owe no tax money whatsoever to the US because we already pay taxes to our own governments. Yet untold millions are being spent to find us and bring us in. Confusing? Yes. Misguided? Undoubtedly. It would seem this is more about ownership than owing, more about optics than actuality.

2.     Beer and maple syrup: I am a natural born dual US/Canadian citizen. I identify as Canadian. Always have, always will. Until recently, I was proud of my dual status. But if push comes to shove, I choose Canada. Canada is my home. This fact is not incidental, even if you refuse to recognize its importance, America. You feel you have the right to walk into my house uninvited in your muddy boots and demand a key for the door. This I cannot tolerate.

3.     Privacy: Something I put a premium on, but there is none for expats, thanks to FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Created to catch whale-sized tax cheats hiding billions offshore, FATCA requires non-US financial institutions to report US citizens and the details of their bank accounts to the IRS. But whales are tricky, and boatloads of by-catch have been netted instead, flopping and wide-eyed and gulping for air. To remain an American citizen is to relinquish financial privacy — mine and my Canadian husband’s — willingly or no, to be tax compliant in Uncle Sam’s world. To say this puts a strain on my relationship is an understatement. Every part of my life is affected by it — and it has taken its toll.
4.     Tourist in my own town: To simplify, FATCA considers all non-US banks to be foreign financial institutions (FFI’s) and any country other than the US to be foreign. So by FATCA standards, anyone who is a US citizen who banks in a country outside the US — no matter if they are, say, a Canadian living on Canadian soil — is an “offshore American” consorting with foreign financial institutions for the purpose of tax evasion. Can you imagine how this feels? To be labeled and punished as foreign in my own country is deeply painful and unacceptable to me.

5.     A penny saved is a hardship earned: I’m talking about FBAR — Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts — formally known as form TD F90-22.1. If I’d known about FBAR before I knew about FBAR, I could have worked within its ludicrous parameters. But I didn’t. And I don’t want to. Add to this the IRS’s floating definition of a foreign financial account, the Treasury Department’s penchant for reserving “the right to issue regulations in the future” on just about anything, along with the mere mention of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and I’m ready to tap out. No thank you, America. No.

6.     The naked truth: I belong to a magical group called the “uncovered” expatriates because I was born a dual US/Canadian citizen. That means I don’t have to pay a punitive “exit tax” to the US if I decide to quit the game, no matter how successful my life in Canada has been. In some cases, the exit tax is ruinous; in my case, I’m free to go due to the happenstance of my birthplace and my father’s citizenship. The 2 million dollar ceiling doesn’t apply to me. It’s like a “get out of jail free” card, a secret extra game life. Hurray. But I still need to be US tax compliant. For me, this involves filing 5 years of back taxes and 6 years of FBARs, plus a punishing processing fee of $2350 US ($3,119 CAD at the current exchange rate) — and I have to hire a lawyer and an accountant for a complete playthrough to avoid Thwomps and Spike Traps along the way. Yet I am considered one of the lucky ones, one of the protected few, virtually invulnerable in my special “natural born dual citizenship” Vanish Cap as I run through IRS Lethal Lava Land collecting power stars to defeat the evil Koopa King. I am immune; I can renounce anytime. Except…

7.     The Deadly Maze: In spite of my natural born dual citizenship status, I still have to comply with two sets of tax rules. For instance, although I don’t have to pay capital gains on the sale of my primary residence in Canada, the US still wants its cut. Who can keep up? I get anxious just thinking about it. Sometimes incredibly so. And even if I could successfully find my way through the maze, I could never be 100% sure of anything because…

8.     Shifting Sand Land: Nothing is stable in IRS World; nothing is for sure. At any moment the sands could shift and a new game-changing rule could nullify my advantage. Best to cannon-blast right out of the game before the cannons are swallowed up entirely.

9.     The kids are alright — unless I leave them stranded in the Deadly Maze when I die. I like to think that I’ve done right by the people I love, that I’ve added to their overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing. I hope to bow out quietly, to leave only fond memories in my wake when I shuffle off this mortal coil. To do this I must reduce my citizenship footprint, minimize my global profile. For the sake of those dear to me, I must lighten the load.

10. Fear factor: I don’t want to look over my shoulder. I don’t want to be afraid of unknowns or worry about things I can’t understand let alone control. That doesn’t mean I need absolutes because we all know there are none in life. But there are ways to mitigate risk, which in turn, mitigates fear. The IRS penalties for non-compliant expats are absurdly harsh given the target. We are mostly everyday people who pay taxes already. Yet you shove your fist in our faces, America, to remind us that it is never enough, to remind us that you are the real danger and that we can never rest.

11. The devil you know: Canada isn’t perfect. Far from it. Our government simply rolled over when the IRS started making threats and demands. Our banks complied without protest. So how am I as an individual to manage my fear? Who is brave enough to stand up to you, America? Who is willing to take the risk? Ultimately, Canada is no better or worse than the US, but it is definitely different. And that difference is what I’m used to. We have a “wait and see” approach; we have a gentler method. There are things Canada considers immutable that some may not understand. Like publicly funded health care. That’s a big one. I sleep marginally better at night knowing that my tax dollars help my neighbors as much as me. I find comfort in that.

12. A modest proposal: My thoughtful nephew, upon hearing my predicament, proposed an expedient. He told me to view my US citizenship from a business perspective. Do the costs outweigh the gains? Am I getting a good return on my investment? What is my timetable for investing? What is my risk tolerance? If dual citizenship proves to be a solid financial venture then it’s business as usual. If not, cut your losses and move on. Above all, remember: hope is not a strategy. Have a logical reason for holding a losing position; don’t base your decision on sunk costs.  So I sharpened my pencils and set about calculating, but soon found myself scratching doodles on the page.  You see, the perceived freedoms I enjoy as a US citizen — to come and go as I please, to work anywhere in the country, to vote, to be a card-carrying member of one of the most exciting countries in the world — these things have no price, though they are far from free.  There is a hefty cost for living outside your gates, America, made worse by your government’s indifference to my plight. I will never be able to properly live and thrive and plan for the future — nor will my children. We will never be able to truly find peace because we are bound by laws that you yourself would never accept. Which leads me to reason thirteen.

13. Citizenship-based taxation: As many of us know, there are only two countries that levy taxes based on citizenship: the United States of America and Eritrea. One is a global superpower; the other is a small country in the Horn of Africa with a human rights record and press freedom index so egregious, it’s government is ranked among the worst in the world. How can this be so, America? How can you knowingly break bread in such company? Have you forgotten your history? Have you forgotten how hard you fought for the freedoms you now forcibly withhold from your citizens in other countries? You once taught the world that citizenship-based taxation is untenable, condemned it as an abusive form of control that flies in the face of all that’s reasonable and good. Your fathers taught us to resist — showed us how. Yet even as you celebrate your hard-won independence you bind your children in chains. And I cannot support it. Don’t ask me to “move on.” Don’t ask me to accept your contradictions and “get over it.” Your citizens are not a resource, Uncle Sam. Your citizens deserve the rights and freedoms for which you are so famously loved and admired — no matter where they live. Please understand that I don’t take this lightly; this is the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. They took my passport. They added my name to a public list. I could barely sign the documents because America is and always will be a part of me. But unless you change your thuggish tax laws you will forever carry the shame of your hypocrisy. It diminishes you, America. It tarnishes every aspect of everything you say and do — far beyond my eyes and those of your forgotten nine million. Even if FACTA and FBAR are repealed as unconstitutional, the fact remains: citizenship-based taxation is utterly, undeniably wrong. You need to fix this, America, as fast as you can, so no more of your children are forced to do what I did.

John Richardson

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The Reality of U.S. Citizenship Abroad

My name is John Richardson. I am a dual citizen. I am a lawyer – member of the Bar of Ontario. This means that, any counselling session you have with me will be governed by the rules of “lawyer client” privilege. This means that:

“What’s said in my office, stays in my office.”

I am also a member of the American Citizens Abroad Professional Tax Advisory Council (PTAC). This is an advisory panel focused on assisting American Citizens Abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world.

The U.S. imposes complex rules and life restrictions on its citizens wherever they live. These restrictions are becoming more and more difficult for those U.S. citizens who choose to live outside the United States.

FATCA is the mechanism to enforce those “complex rules and life restrictions” on Americans abroad. As a result, many U.S. citizens abroad are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. Although this is very sad. It is also the reality.

27 thoughts on “13 Reasons Why I Committed Citizide AKA Renounced My US Citizenship

  1. Avatar Albert Maher says:

    “I identify as Canadian. Always have, always will. …. if push comes to shove, I choose Canada.” Well, you said it yourself. So living in Canada was more important than US citizenship that you gave up. I am not sure why some people want to have their US citizenship, while keeping allegiance to another country , and while not contributing their fair share to maintaining the benefits of a US passport and protection.

    • Avatar Suzanne says:

      Actually, those of us non-residents who are US tax compliant pay more than our “fair share”, which is unfair. Truth is, US lawmakers either don’t consider, or don’t care how their laws affect Americans abroad. You should familiarize yourself with them, too. You might not be sure what’s “fair” anymore.

    • Albert, are you aware that the United States is imposing a separate and more punitive set of tax rules on U.S. citizens living outside the United States than on U.S. citizens living inside the United States? I strongly suggest that you consider the following post before jumping to your conclusion. The bottom line is that Americans abroad are being forced to renounce their citizenship in order to survive.

      I look forward to your thoughts after you read this.

      https://www.taxconnections.com/taxblog/the-united-states-imposes-a-separate-and-more-punitive-tax-system-on-us-dual-citizens-who-live-in-their-country-of-second-citizenship/#.XfA1fpNKhmA

    • Avatar Kevin M. says:

      No, what is more important than US citizenship is freedom, the US diaspora’s very freedom that is being violated by the US Federal citizenship-based taxation apparatus and its obtuse enforcement tool FATCA. Dual citizenship (or more) is a reality of the modern world we live in. Some people apparently need an urgent reality check. As for allegiance to a country or several countries, it is no one’s business but that of the individual concerned who doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. No one has the right to judge him / her in this respect. Furthermore, the US diaspora does not partake in any way in US society and does not receive anything from the US government or country at large that would begin to justify a reciprocity in the form of taxation. The same goes for all diasporas. Unsurprisingly, none are taxed by their countries of origin, with the appalling exception of the US (and dictatorship Eritrea). The US diaspora (like any other diaspora) are members of the citizenry of the societies of the countries where they reside and pay their taxes like all other law abiding citizens, thereby indeed paying their fair share in return for tangible rights, benefits and services that are objectively qualifiable and quantifiable. A US passport does not provide more benefits than most if not all EU passports and those of many countries in the world; hardly a justification for taxing the US diaspora. And last but not least, the US does not offer protection to its diaspora. That is a myth, confirmed by the US State Department itself (on its website). The US offers its diaspora embassy and consular services like any other country with comparable means and will. These services are limited and most have to be paid for. These services do not include physical protection and / or embassy sanctuary as some US citizens found out in Paris during the terrorist attacks of November 2015 when they were turned away.

    • Avatar Suzanne says:

      Ah, the old “protection” myth. What might that be? You mean the one that a US citizen has to sign a promissory note to repay the US government for prior to evacuation from some inhospitable place? The single biggest threat to Americans abroad IS the US government.

    • Avatar Laura Wilson says:

      “…while not contributing their fair share to maintaining the benefits of a US passport and protection.”

      Most curious as to what you believe is contributing ‘fair share’ to a nation you do not live in nor receive anything from. Taxation is a civic responsibility to the community in which one resides, receives benefit not a responsibility of citizenship according to all other nations. (US agreed once upon a time).

      Though many are (were) proud Americans living abroad, maintain their citizenship and passport as part of their identity at a soul level; it has NOTHING to do with benefits or protection. Under the current conditions being a US citizen living abroad only brings pain and sorrow, both financially and psychologically, certainly no benefit.

      As far as protection goes most live in stable environments. On the outside chance they’re in need of rescue their home nations are quite capable. (That ‘Black-op” rescue thing simply a myth).

      Seems US government’s current modus operandi is to reach outside its borders and destroy anything that has potential to enhance the US. Forcing people to renounce US citizenship to financially survive is totally acceptable if they can potentially garner a few pennies along the way. Their allegiance is to control and the dollar, not the welfare of their own people. (Very short sighted in a global economy).

    • Avatar Paul Malkovich says:

      Albert – What is “fair share?” Also, what makes one owe an “allegiance to another country?” Is that decided by the individual or a government? What are the “benefits of a US passport and protection?” Your arguments need more refinement.

  2. Avatar Laura Snyder says:

    What kind of country does this to its citizens? Would you really call it the greatest country in the world?

    • You ask “what kind of country does this to its citizens?” It has become very clear that “citizenship” means very different things to many different countries. In most countries citizenship means primarily one can participate in the government. U.S. citizenship means primarily ownership by the government. It’s sad but true. The United States is locked in a concept of citizenship that really goes back to World War 1.

      All of the comments on these posts demonstrate the difficulty that U.S. citizens have in leaving the United States and living elsewhere. Homelanders should take note of this.

      In any case, Americans abroad need to renounce as soon as they are able.

      • Avatar Laura Wilson says:

        Indeed, renounce if you possibly can as no one in government has any interest in addressing this issue even after years of information campaigns, begging, even pointing out how these laws are harming US itself.

        It also seems the American population in general could care less that they are no longer free to leave; who would want to leave the greatest nation on earth. They nor the government see any benefit of Americans being outside US borders, needing any knowledge or interaction with the world at large aside from control, stealing of assets and natural resources.

        The only hope I have left, only goal for expats to focus on as all else has failed, is that other nations finally find the courage to unite against US imperialism, weaponization of reserve currency, wake up to US hypocrisy. After observing how they’ve extorted other nations under FATCA to harm their own citizens, make bad faith deals, promises they do not keep (ie reciprocity), refuse to play by international norms who can trust them?

      • Avatar Dante says:

        Hopefully John will answer you.
        I think of renunciation like an insurance policy against future risks. They came up with FATCA 10 years ago, who knows what other evil they have up their sleeve next, especially with advancing technology, and new tax treaties etc. To someone with another tier-1 passport like CAD or EU, US citizenship outside USA is at best worthless and often a true menace, so if someone is over 50, settled and has no plans for moving back there, it would be prudent to abort it.

        • “John Richardson, you say “Americans abroad need to renounce as soon as they are able”. As a Canadian living in Canada and also a “US person” by birth, I find it easy to avoid FATCA reporting and ignore US tax filing and FBAR. I don’t see the necessity in renouncing US citizenship and would rather spend $2350 USD on things I really do need. Can you please explain why the urgency to renounce in your opinion?”

          Why do I suggest renouncing now? Some of my reasons include …

          Detection (staying under the radar): Yes, absolutely many residents of Canada, with a U.S. place of birth, find it easy to avoid FATCA and U.S. tax filing. That works as long as it works. Let’s hope it continues – it’s your guess whether it will or won’t. All that is required (as one example) would be for the Canadian banks to change their current lax approach on accepting certifications of tax residency. European banks are not lax on “tax residency” – turning the lives of many Americans (and some non-Americans) into a living hell.

          Tax Treaty Providing Protection To Canadian Citizens On Collection: Meaning that Canada Revenue Agency will not assist in collection for IRS debts accruing when one was a Canadian citizen. The tax treaty is irrelevant to the existence of the U.S. tax debt which remains owing whether collectable or not … Also, tax treaties can and do change. Finally, I would point out that this protection applies only as long as you are a “tax resident” of Canada.

          But most significantly: The September 6/19 new procedures for certain renunciants to avoid “covered expatriate” status were created jointly by: Treasury, State and the Social Security Administration. This is a first and strongly suggests that the days of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing” may be coming to an end (or maybe not).

          Very low CDN dollar relative to the USD: At the present far fewer people are covered expatriates (not subject to Exit Tax) than were in say 2012 when the dollar was 1 to 1.

          Eleven million dollar Gift Tax Exemption going back to 5 million in 2025: Higher net worth people can give away more assets to get under the 2 million threshold. Right now people with up to 13 million can theoretically avoid the exit tax through gifts. In 2025 that will reduce to about 7 million (plus we don’t know where the exchange rate will be).

          You speak of the $2350 cost (implying that this is how you view the total cost). This suggests to me that you have a “main stream” simple situation which means it would be easy for you to formally cut ties now. At the end of the day that $2350 is a very low cost insurance policy to protect you from the possibility of any changes in any of the above.

          One of the most interesting things about people’s attitudes toward renunciation is this: The people who can get out cheaply are often reluctant to renounce because the cost is too low (and they think the current circumstances will last forever). People who cannot get out cheaply are often reluctant to get out because the cost is high (wishing they had when the circumstances were better). You have a U.S. birthplace. If anything changes and it becomes difficult/expensive for you to renounce, you will wish you had renounced when it was easy and the cost was low. Obviously you would rather spend the $2350 somewhere else. But, spending $2350 on expatriation is an investment in your future that will pay dividends the rest of your life. (At a minimum you will no longer have to spend time commenting on Tax Connections, Brock, Facebook and other platforms for discussion. Think of the time saved on that alone.)

          My personal opinion is this. Those who can formally exit the system easily and inexpensively should take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

        • Dante mentions age as a consideration in the renunciation decision. U.S. citizenship is most valuable as an option for those who want to live and/or work in the United States. I do agree that this is valuable for people whose careers are less settled. So, yes the interest in renunciation increases as people age. But, the interest in renunciation also increases as people move from living off employment income to living off capital/passive income (which is very punitively taxed by the United States).

          Five years ago, almost everybody who approached me about renunciation was over 40. In the last two years (give or take) I am finding more and more people in their 20s and younger wishing to renounce.

          For what it’s worth: I do NOT encourage people who are in their 20s to renounce U.S. citizenship. For that group, I believe that they are losing more than they are gaining. To put it another way: the loss of career mobility is more costly than problems of investing and retirement planning.

        • Avatar Debbie says:

          @John Richardson regarding your reply to my question (“reply” is not available to your reply so please excuse the misordering), I still do not see the urgency in renouncing, and in fact can see how it may be detrimental to do so. No doubt my situation is quite commonplace, thus I feel your blanket “Americans Abroad should renounce as soon as they are able”, could be bad advice for myself and many others. Let me explain briefly.

          As someone who is not compliant (like most Canadians US persons), renouncing would force me to decide whether or not to renounce “cleanly” – i.e. become compliant. As a mature adult with investments (PCICs, etc), compliance would not be a simple or inexpensive task. Conversely, deciding NOT to become compliant (while renouncing) puts me in the cross hairs of the IRS, whereas now they know nothing about me.

          I think it is much safer (and costs 0 dollars) for non-compliant Canadian US persons such as myself, to take a “wait and see” approach rather than “renounce as soon as they are able”. Canadian banks are not forcing Canadians to reveal US person status and even if they do, there is little the IRS can do to enforce taxes and/or penalties on a non-cooperative Canadian living in Canada having no US assets.

          Of course things can change. For example, the Canadian lawsuit challenging the Canadian FATCA IGA (which currently protects Canadian US persons from FATCA), could result in the IGA being struck down thus giving FATCA more teeth in Canada. And as you point out, other laws and treaties can change for the worse.

          If the status quo evolves such that being a US citizen poses an imminent danger for a Canadian living in Canada, I will think differently. But in the meantime (quite likely for the rest of my life), I feel much safer, (and incur no expenses) if I just do as I have always done – ignore USA’s citizenship-based taxation laws and treat my US birthplace as nothing more than an insignificant detail of my history.

        • Avatar Dante says:

          @ Debbie

          I doubt renouncing would put you into anymore cross hairs than you are now. For now, life may be going on okay, but consider that you are restricted to Canada. Should you wish to invest or retire in another country, your options will be severely limited by your US citizenship and you will be easily spotted by your birthplace. Also renouncing itself may get more difficult in the future in more ways than one. So I think renouncing is still a valid insurance policy and would open the world to you than just Canada.

      • A bit of follow up for DebbieD and Dante:

        1. DebbieD – The renunciation is more urgent for those who are filing U.S. taxes (i.e. are attempting tax compliance). Of all the groups harmed by U.S. extra-territorial tax policies, it’s those who are compliant who are harmed the most. (Examples include but not limited to: Transition Tax, GILTI, etc.)

        2. Dante – You make an important point when you say – “who knows what other evil they have up their sleeve next”. True, but I would argue that the more dangerous point is steps they take without considering the impact on Americans abroad. The real problem is that Americans abroad are not considered in the legislative equation. The legal scholar Ronald Dworking writing about equality (think equal protection) said that:

        An equal concern means, I argue, that social policy must take the fate of each individual to be equally important with the fate of any other. … Equal respect means that government must respect the dignity of each individual by allowing each individual to determine for himself or herself what would count as a good life.

        Obviously Congress either pays no attention to Americans abroad or considers them to be not worthy of respect.

        • “@John Richardson regarding your reply to my question (“reply” is not available to your reply so please excuse the misordering), I still do not see the urgency in renouncing, and in fact can see how it may be detrimental to do so. No doubt my situation is quite commonplace, thus I feel your blanket “Americans Abroad should renounce as soon as they are able”, could be bad advice for myself and many others. Let me explain briefly.”

          Well then clearly if you don’t see the urgency of renouncing then you should not renounce. Just keep motoring on with the principles that you deem appropriate.

        • Avatar Debbie says:

          @John Richardson, you responded to my comment with: “Well then clearly if you don’t see the urgency of renouncing then you should not renounce. Just keep motoring on with the principles that you deem appropriate. ”

          That is a rather disappointing reaction to my challenge of your assertion that “Americans Abroad should renounce as soon as they are able.”

          I was referring not only to myself(as your response seems to imply) but also to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians with US citizenship, who likewise are not compliant, thus this issue is too important to simply dismiss my viewpoint and suggest I keep “motoring on”.

          I explained why I suggested that it is not necessarily in the best interests of many Canadians to renounce US citizenship “as soon as they are able”, if ever. Your response does not outline why you disagree with my reasoning, but rather is just a way to invalidate an opposing perspective – one that appears to be held by many Canadians with US citizenship – and cuts off further debate.

  3. Avatar Em R. says:

    These types of stories are as hard to read today as they were 8 years ago when total awareness of US tax tyranny crept into our lives. My husband may not have put his thoughts down on paper or a computer screen after he relinquished his US citizenship but I think there is a hidden script written on his heart. Glad to be free but sad to no longer be American. Canada and I, a Canadian, are lucky to have him. However, I am deeply disappointed in my country for allowing data-hogging, privacy-stripping, sovereignty-destroying FATCA enforcement to be inserted into Canadian legislation. Meanwhile the USA charges on with little or no concern for the thousands of good people who have been driven to citizide by its illogical, punitive, unjust tax system. Both countries are on my blame and shame list until Canada rejects FATCA and the USA replaces CBT with RBT.

  4. Avatar LM says:

    I too am considering renouncing because the way the US government treats Americans abroad is shameful. Why should we be treated like criminals for holding bank accounts where we live?

    • Avatar John Hanson says:

      Bang on. I could have written this. And it’s ironic we abroad are protesting unfair taxes from back home. There are no more wooden ships full of tea I can dump into a harbour, but handing in my citizenship was the most American thing I’ve ever done.

  5. Avatar Malek says:

    A clear statement from the US government telling us how it views overseas Americans would be welcome. Does the US in fact want a world where no Americans live outside of the US? Because this is the only sensible conclusion I can come up with when faced with the evidence of a country that makes it impossible for its citizens to live normal lives outside of its borders. Please, US government, enlighten us.

  6. Albert only speak about what you know about, or at least ask questions to help you learn…
    FATCA ruins families…CBT ruins families…what more do you need to know?

  7. Avatar Don says:

    You should cut all ties with Uncle Sam; who could even live under such dictatorial oppression, never really knowing what evil scheme they’re cooking up next?

  8. Avatar Cowboy says:

    I am an non-US person raised in the US who after living in the European country of my ancestors for two decades decided to renounce. It was the cost of compliance to IRS dictates that was far exceeding any dubious befit from being a US person that forced this decision. These costs are far from being purely financial either. So I paid my $450 and renounced a decade ago, I made my final decision after Barry Hussein Obama was “elected” in 2008. In the last decade I have discovered many of the unforseen consequences of my renunciation:

    1. Since I had been arrested at barely age 19 of possession of a controlled substance in the ’70’s, 35 years later, after renunciation, I am always harassed and sent to secondary screening when I fly back to the US. If you have any arrest record as a prior US person then CBP will see it and you will likely be detained. US-Persons don’t have this problem.

    2. I had been named Trustee to my Father’s and Mother’s estates. The fact that I had renounced caused major headaches for my siblings when they passed. In effect, these trusts became “foreign trusts” because of me.

    3. Because of these legal issues and costs, and the audacity of my renunciation, my siblings barely speak to me any more.

    4. My children are still US-Person’s, and three of my siblings have estranged or no children. They have all communicated to my children that if my children renounce their US citizenship, my siblings will exclude them from their wills.

    At this point in time my children are still in their 20’s and early 30’s. Their finances are still simple and their paycheck isn’t hard to declare. At they mature there will be cap gains, houses, stocks and now even Bitcoin to report. Eventually they will face a very difficult decision because one widowed and childless aunt is quite wealthy.

    • Avatar Cowboy says:

      Yes, they are dual citizens, one born in the US one not. Both have SSN’s and US passports and have already filed 1040’s and FBAR’s. There is no way for them to escape “any tax filing” short of renunciation.

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