NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Record Number of Americans Gave Up U.S. Citizenship in 2014

February 12, 2015

When it comes to Americans renouncing their citizenship, last year made records: 3,415 individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency.

The latest figures come from the Treasury Department and are 14 percent higher than the previous record (2,999 renunciations in 2013). Prior to 2008, less than 500 people renounced their citizenship each year on average.

Laura Saunders of the Wall Street Journal reports on the phenomenon. According to attorney Andrew Mitchel, the cost of complying with U.S. tax laws abroad has begun to outweigh the value. Americans living abroad are taxed on all of their income, and reporting is burdensome. Saunders also notes that those who owe taxes to the United States as well as a foreign country can only partially offset that double taxation. In 2009, the federal government began going after Americans who were hiding money abroad, and the increased enforcement efforts have made taxes complicated for everybody living overseas. 

Of note, it's not free to renounce your citizenship -- in September, the State Department raised the charge from $450 to $2,350.

Source:  Laura Saunders, "Record Number Gave Up U.S. Citizenship or Long-Term Residency in 2014," Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2015.


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