Record Number of Americans Renounce U.S. Citizenship

(PHOTO CREDIT: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)
(PHOTO CREDIT: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Once again, the number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship has gone up, up 560% from its Bush administration high. In 2015, there were approximately 4,300 expatriations according to the published names of individuals who renounced. The name and shame list is published quarterly, with the most recent three-month total being 1,058. That brings the total to 4,279 for 2015.

These numbers seem tiny compared to the influx of immigrants. Yet expatriations have historically been much lower. Moreover, the published list is also incomplete, with many not counted. Surprisingly, no one seems to know exactly how big the real number is, even though the IRS and FBI both track Americans who renounce citizenship. There is no single explanation, though with global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounce keeps increasing,

2014 was also a record year with 3,415 published expatriates. The reasons that Americans renouncing citizenship is at an all-time high can be over family, tax and legal complications. Dual citizenship isn’t always possible, as this infographic from MoveHub shows. Some countries make citizens pay a fee to hand in their passport. Some countries have no fee, but America’s $2,350 fee is more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries.

Many now find America’s global income tax compliance and disclosure laws to be a burden, some say downright oppressive. No group is more severely impacted than U.S. persons living abroad, who can be pariahs shunned by banks for daily banking activities. For those living and working in foreign countries, it is almost a given that they must report and pay tax where they live. But they must also continue to file taxes in the U.S.

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SOURCE: Forbes, Robert W. Wood