According to Treasury Department numbers, 2016 broke the record for annual U.S. citizenship renunciations with a grand total of 5,411 renunciations. As we’ve noted previously, possible reasons for the increase in renunciations include the global strengthening and influence of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) and President Trump’s election victory (the “Trump bump”). Read More

Withers Wins Victory on Behalf of U.S. Clients Seeking to Renounce Citizenship

In a press release dated March 3, 2015, the Withers Law Firm announced that it was successful in persuading the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to abandon its long-standing position of treating a U.S. citizen who is attempting to renounce his citizenship as being ineligible for a visa to visit the U.S. for business or for pleasure. As a way of background information, while a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) letter is pending, a person attempting to renounce his citizenship remains a U.S. citizen and is thus ineligible for a visa to visit the U.S. either for business or for pleasure (U.S. citizens are not eligible for visas). Read More

Over the last two years, the number of U.S. expatriations has skyrocketed. For 2013 alone, the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship has increased to 221%. As shocking as this statistic might appear, according to those in the “know,” it is grossly understated. This has inspired many to call the trend, “Ellis Island in reverse.”

What has caused so many to resort to something as extreme as renouncing their U.S. citizenship? None other than the usual suspects, or what I like to refer to as the “dynamic duo” (for all you “Batman” fans): the United States’ system of worldwide taxation, on the one hand and FATCA, on the other. While I could go on endlessly about the harmful effects of global tax reporting and FATCA, the purpose of this blog is to discuss the steps that must be taken in order to expatriate. Read More

As I reported in a previous article, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the IRS instantly began to drool in anticipation when The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was passed in March of 2010. This gives them enforcement tools to make foreign countries and banking institutions play by our rules whether they like it or not. The Department of Justice has gone even further thinking it has been given the power to make foreign treaties without the constitutionally required Senate ratification. The Senate so far doesn’t seem to mind, but some other countries and taxpayers are taking offense.

FATCA Basics

FATCA gets its teeth from two provisions: Read More

Thinking about renouncing your citizenship? After reading this blog, you may want to think twice.

Over the last two years, the number of U.S. expatriations has risen dramatically. While it might not be Ellis Island in reverse, it’s damn near close. What has caused people to resort to an option as drastic as renouncing their U.S. citizenship? None other than global tax reporting and FATCA.

For 2013, there was a 221% increase, with record numbers of Americans renouncing. This statistic is based on a quarterly list published by the Treasury Department. As high as that might sound, it might fall woefully short of the actual number. Why? According to Read More

According to an “activity” report from the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, long-time Swiss resident Tina Turner” was in the embassy October 24 to sign her “Statement of Voluntary Relinquishment of U.S. Citizenship under Section 349 (a)(1) of the INA” — the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

She has merely ‘relinquished’ her United States citizenship rather than formally ‘renouncing’ it, by adopting citizenship of her long-time home Switzerland.

She apparently hopes to avoid the USA’s exit tax on all her worldwide property, but she will be disappointed! Read More

TaxConnections Picture - We The PeopleObtaining Citizenship at Birth

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868. Section 1, Clause 1 states that all persons born in the United States are US citizens. This Clause overruled the landmark 1857 United States Supreme Court case of Dred Scott vs. Sandford. The Dred Scott case held that black persons could not be citizens of the United States.

Citizenship due to an individual’s birth in the US results regardless of the tax or immigration status of the individual’s parents. Thus, every individual born within the United States is automatically a US citizen regardless of whether his or her parents were there for a day, a month, as students, on a visit or as illegal immigrants. (There is an exception for children born to foreign diplomats officially serving in the US).

It is also often the case that a person born outside the United States becomes a US citizen at birth. Generally, this happens if at least one parent is a US citizen and has lived in the United States for a certain period of time.

For example, under US Immigration laws, an individual is considered to have acquired US citizenship at birth even if the individual was born overseas and born out of wedlock after December 23, 1952 and his / her mother was a US citizen who was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for at least one year of continuous presence prior to the individual’s birth. As another example, an individual born abroad is considered to have acquired US citizenship at birth if one parent is a US citizen at the time of birth, the birth date is on or after November 14, 1986, the parents were married at the time of birth and the US-citizen parent had been physically present in the US or its territories for at least five years prior to the birth, and at least two of those years were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday. Read More