The U.S. Internal Revenue Service unveiled a set of “new procedures” on Friday that it said would enable “certain” expatriates – a sub-group of “accidental Americans” who have renounced their citizenship, or are considering doing so – to avoid key taxes normally associated with renouncing.
Tax experts said the announcement was highly significant, and would likely be welcomed by many who fit the relatively narrow category of those likely to benefit from it. One suggested the scheme might help the IRS to focus its attention on the “bigger fish” it believes to be lurking in the overseas pond.
In a statement, the Accidental Americans Association said it welcomed the initiative, but added that it did “not go far enough”.
The “Relief Procedures for Certain Former Citizens” only applies to individuals who have relinquished their citizenship since March 18, 2010, or have not yet done so, who have less than US$2m in net worth, and who have never filed U.S. tax returns as U.S. citizens or residents, the IRS explained in a statement.
They also must “owe [only] a limited amount of back taxes to the United States.”