Citizenship is becoming more and more interesting. In my last post I wrote about Canada’s Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s U.S. citizenship. Theoretically, on October 21, 2019, Canada could have it’s first U.S. citizen Prime Minister. (Think of the extra pressure that the United States could bring to bear on Canada.)
The newsworthiness of U.S. citizenship continues. There has been much discussion of citizenship as a prerequisite to compete for countries in the Olympic games. It is being reported that tennis star Naomi Osaka , a dual Japan/U.S. citizen is complying with a Japanese law that requires her to choose either U.S. or Japanese citizenship. A number of media outlets are reporting that Ms. Osaka is relinquishing U.S. citizenship. Is this really true? Interestingly the Toronto Globe and Mail initially reported that:
The U.S. citizenship comes with all the arduous requirements and liabilities, hence why more people than ever started to question whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Thought of renouncing a U.S. citizenship may pass through your mind if you are already a dual citizen, have no ties with the U.S. and don’t want to carry the U.S. tax burden anymore. Some people fall into the category of “Accidental Americans” and they have never even considered themselves being Americans, so it’s the only way to free themselves from the IRS and stop playing their tax game. Read More
In a rather swift and harsh judgment, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in favor of the IRS, which assessed an approximately $1.2 million penalty against a taxpayer for failing to disclose her financial interests in an overseas account.
The decision, U.S. v. Bussell, is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it shows the magnitude of penalty that can be reached, even with respect to an individual and a single foreign account and tax year (in this case, the relevant tax year was 2006). Second, it shows the type of taxpayer arguments that courts will likely reject when reviewing an FBAR penalty case. Read More
Every country in the world with the exceptions of Eritrea and the United States claim tax jurisdiction based on “residence”. Although the tests for “residence” may differ, “residence based taxation” means that it is possible to sever your tax connection to a country by severing residence.
The nations of Eritrea and the United States impose taxation based Read More
I recently wrote a two-part series about the inadequate justification for the United States’ worldwide taxation of its nonresident citizens (Part I is available here; Part II is available here). Professor Michael S. Kirsch offers a different perspective in defense of this system. Instead of assessing the propriety of U.S. worldwide taxation on the basis of the legal benefits associated with U.S. citizenship, which lies at the heart of the “benefits rationale,” Professor Kirsch argues that, “it is reasonable to conclude that the retention of U.S. citizenship reflects a self-identification with the population of the United States (or the belief that the benefits of citizenship are worth the tax cost).”[i]
In justifying the worldwide taxation of U.S. citizens, Professor Kirsch relies on the psychological benefits of U.S. citizenship, namely, the ability of nonresident citizens to Read More
Expatriation And Exit Tax
Many individuals who previously took on United States citizenship as a second nationality or obtained a green card are now regretting this decision. Some individuals often incorrectly assume they can give up the US citizenship or the green card without adverse US tax consequences.
Under the so-called “expatriation” tax rules, harsh tax consequences will result if the individual giving up his US citizenship or “long-term” green card (generally, held for 8 out of the past 15 years) is a so-called “covered expatriate”. Only “covered expatriates” will suffer the onerous tax consequences. One is a “covered expatriate” if the individual has either a net worth of US$2 million at the time of expatriation; or, if he has a certain average income tax liability over the past 5 years prior to expatriation. One is also automatically treated as a “covered expatriate” if the person fails to notify the IRS that he has expatriated and satisfied all of his tax liabilities for the past five years even if he did not meet the aforementioned dollar thresholds.
In these cases, imposition of an “Exit Tax” (among other harsh tax results) will occur when one gives up his US citizenship or “long term” green card. Under the Exit Tax provisions, the individual is subject to tax on the net unrealized gain on all of his world wide assets as if such property were sold for its fair market value on the day before the expatriation date. Thus, the individual must pay US income tax on gain that he is “deemed” to have earned by operation of the Exit Tax rules, when in fact, the individual has not sold anything and is without any cash in hand with regard to the deemed sale. Naturally, this raises the issue of how the individual will fund payment of the Exit Tax. Read More