Just because I was put in the position to have to relinquish my citizenship does not in the least mean I feel this issue is over for me. There are others sorely impacted as well. I don’t think I will ever truly accept this episode in my life as just. Life is unfair and we must accept that however, these days every time I see some heinous criminal back in the U.S. on my television the thought always goes through my mind “Yes, but that person is not going to be put in the position to have to give up their citizenship no matter what they have done.” It seems childish, I admit but, I hope others will forgive somewhat my resentment over it. I do laugh at myself for having such knee jerk reactions but, I’ll allow myself some of that for a long while to come.
My one consolation is that the State Department officer who dealt with my relinquishment bent over backwards to be kind to me about it saying “some people can’t keep it” meaning my citizenship. She very strongly hinted that she did not agree with this current situation and her effort to be so understanding got me through the day. State officials are not allowed to speak on domestic policy affairs so I doubly appreciated her effort to let me understand that she too felt this was wrong. When I handed my paper work to the clerk before seeing the officer the clerk loudly remarked “Oh, another one of these.” Meaning renounce/relinquishment paper work! How sad is that? Even embassy workers are getting used to people giving up citizenship.
I will attach a photo of what the weather was like the day my spouse and I drove the three hours to the University of Toronto for the filming to give you an idea of how determined I am that good people in the U.S. do understand the true impact FATCA is having rather than the stated press releases information. It brings a little levity to the situation and shows you that because I felt I had to relinquish with little choice in the matter, I am all the more determined to bring this issue to the light of day. After all, what else do I have to lose by speaking out?
As far as I am concerned I am still American. I had to get a document so I could live normally here and to protect my son and spouse but, that does not mean that is how I feel. If and when FATCA is amended I plan to do everything in my power to regain my citizenship. I have never had so much as a parking ticket and do not feel I or anyone else who is a law abiding person should have to pay for the crimes of a few off shore tax cheats. This entire episode is disgraceful. They caught those criminals with laws that were already in place so the worst of it is that I don’t think FATCA was even necessary at all. They almost all lived inside the U.S. Calling a bank account “off shore” that is up the street from where you live is at the bottom of this issue.
Lest anyone think I did not do everything in my power to retain my citizenship, my spouse even sought jobs back in the U.S. and we made an effort to pick up stakes and move back there. My spouse is three years older than me and is not American so very few can just “move back” as some suggest. Had I moved back with foreign spouse in tow we’d have been a burden on the U.S. system until such time as he obtained proper working documents and a job. We have never taken a dime from anyone in our lives and did not intend to start now. Some seem to not really believe that there are so many expats with so few options.
I was put in a position to have to relinquish my U.S. citizenship or not be able to live, save, and bank normally here with my Canadian spouse. My spouse strongly objected being a blue collar worker and an honest person to having the U.S. delve into his banking information as if he were a practicing criminal with no evidence of any wrong doing. Tremendous pressure is being brought on proud Americans living abroad.
I did not take Canadian citizenship until such time as it became clear I would no longer be able to remain American. I never intended to be Canadian in all the years I lived here. I was born and grew up in the U.S. and my entire family outside of my spouse and son who are Canadian are all still in the U.S. Imagine the pressure of not knowing what to do? If I relinquish will I be able to see my family back home again? What if some law is passed that punishes us further by not allowing us back? If I do not relinquish can my Canadian family live with the impacts upon them of my retaining my U.S. citizenship? I had planned should something ever happen to my spouse here to return to live near my siblings in the U.S. in my older years. However, that is no longer a possibility for me. I think this shows just how dire the situations really are for Americans abroad.
It was with the deepest regret that I gave up my citizenship. I am fifty seven years old. FATCA was poorly thought out, poorly implemented and judging from the many Americans I know who live here it is truly destroying the U.S. good ambassadors abroad.
I am a middle-class American veteran living abroad and I pay my fair share of local taxes. I had to move abroad to find work during the glutted job market of the dot-com crisis. In 2012, I had to renounce US citizenship to refinance my mortgage due to the severe discrimination caused by FATCA. Renouncing US citizenship had no impact upon the taxes that I pay every year. My retirement savings is tied to my mortgage and my mortgage has to be refinanced every few years. I cannot afford to lose the home where my family lives, since such would harm my retirement savings and increase rental costs. I have a multi-national, multi-cultural family with two children, my daughter is ten and my son is almost 2 years old. My daughter is currently having difficulties getting a local child-savings account due to discrimination against US citizenship status. Discrimination is wrong, and yet neither HUD, nor the VA, nor US representation, nor American human rights groups, nor the US Justice Department, nor the Department of State offered to assist my family with the difficulties of discrimination wrongly caused by US extraterritorial policy. The US government neither understands nor is prepared to cope with the negative consequences of its actions beyond US borders. It is armed with bigotry and misunderstandings, but unprepared to cope realities of the real world abroad.
I am an American and I will always be an American. My ancestors sailed to America on the Mayflower. Serving in the US military, I donated my life to America, for the American people. My citizenship-status is the responsibility of the US government. Not being a US citizen means that the US government fears my voice in US elections, since it understands that its foul treatment of Americans abroad is unacceptable. My voice speaks the values which America used to cherish, which include freedom, justice and liberty for all.
Over the years, I’ve observed that America is excessively hostile against the American diaspora. Much of this racism is the result of the American media, caused when journalists like you wrongly accuse the working poor abroad of not reducing your tax bill.
Enough is enough. Instead of feeding racism in America against expats, please do more to educate people living in America about why their current unnecessary hostility against the American diaspora does more harm than good.
It is not about taxes; it is about banking and being able to live their lives as homeland Americans do. We are having our bank accounts (checking, savings, etc.) closed on us and our local banks do not want to retain “US Persons” as clients. We are not able to have investment accounts or retirement accounts. We are having our mortgages rescinded and/or denied DIRECTLY as a result of FATCA. Additionally, I know many who are denied employment because of FATCA as a “US Person” is too toxic to have as an employee. The Media never reports this!
We pay taxes where we live in our respective countries of residence. FATCA has put on the front burner the issues of CBT (Citizenship Based Taxation) which the United States is the ONLY country except for a tiny African country, Eritrea, practices. The rest of the world practices RBT (Residency Based Taxation). CBT makes it impossible for families to live normal lives as others in their respective countries of residence and like homeland Americans.
We find it shameful that a country like the United States puts its diaspora in a position to choose between their livelihood, their family, and their US Citizenship!
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