Expat Tax Statistics 2024 (Annual Expat Survey)

Expat Tax Statistics 2024 (Annual Expat Survey)
Updated on May 15, 2024

Beyond new cultures and landscapes, have you ever wondered what life is like for American citizens living abroad? It’s a complex world of financial and political considerations, particularly when it comes to US taxes and citizenship. This year, the Greenback Expat Tax Services team surveyed over 1,000 US expats about their sentiments on these topics.

Our 2024 Annual Expat Survey draws back the curtain on the expat experience, from the intricacies of US tax filing abroad to US government representation and foreign banking laws. The results reveal compelling insights into the challenges and decisions facing Americans abroad. Whether you’re an expat yourself, considering a move overseas, or simply curious about the expatriate lifestyle, this article details the unique perspectives and predicaments of US citizens around the globe.

Key Takeaways

  • Nearly 1 in 3 US expats plan to renounce their citizenship or are seriously considering it.
  • Over 1 in 2 expats interested in renouncing their citizenship said it was due to dissatisfaction with the direction of the US government.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 US expats haven’t felt fairly represented by the US government.
  • About 1 in 5 US expats haven’t felt confident about filing their taxes while living abroad.
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Citizenship at a Crossroads

This year’s survey revealed a growing trend among US expats considering renouncing their US citizenship. Our findings suggest that tax complexities and political dissatisfaction could be common reasons. We discuss these and more below.

US expats consider renouncing citizenship, factors listed in this expat tax statistics infographic.

Last year, 20% of US expats were on the fence about keeping their citizenship. That figure jumped to 30% this year. The reasons behind this surge are as diverse as the expats themselves, with sentiments varying widely based on where they currently live. These are the percentages of US expats living in various countries who, at the time of this year’s survey, were seriously contemplating or planning to renounce their US citizenship:

  • Australia: 42%
  • Germany: 33%
  • United Kingdom: 31%
  • France: 29%
  • Canada: 23%
  • Spain: 20%

The future of little ones appeared to play a big part in these decisions for many expats. Parents with kids under 18 were 14% more likely than those without to either plan to renounce their US citizenship or at least ponder the decision. 

So, why the itch to make such a change? Three common reasons stood out:

  • 75% were tired of the tax headaches of being an American abroad.
  • 58% had built stronger ties to their new country of residence.
  • 55% were not on board with where they felt the US government was heading.

The decision to renounce is not to be made lightly, but it’s clearly a path many Americans are considering with good reason.

statistics on US expats' views on government representation and voting plans.

Despite the distance from their homeland, nearly 3 in 4 US expats haven’t felt fairly represented by the US government. Yet, this hasn’t dampened their interest in the political happenings back home—an overwhelming 96% of expats said they’re keenly interested in the outcome of the 2024 US Presidential Election, with 78% gearing up to cast their votes. This level of engagement speaks volumes about the global American community’s commitment to their home country’s future despite geographical separations.

However, American expats’ likelihood of voting in US elections diminished the longer they had lived abroad. For those who’ve done so for over 30 years, the intent to vote in the 2024 election dropped to 68%. This contrasts with the fresh expats who’ve lived abroad for only a year or less, a robust 83% of whom said they plan to vote. It seems that as expats grow more rooted in their new countries, the urgency or priority to vote in US elections may wane, illustrating the complex relationship between identity, citizenship, and civic duty over time.

The Expat Tax Dilemma

The complexities of US tax obligations from abroad are challenging for many expatriates. The next part of our survey sheds light on these tax-related hurdles, alongside expats’ perceptions of double taxation and the support provided by the US government.

Challenges and tax-filing attitudes among US expats - statistics.

It’s not news that the US tax system is a burden on Americans, but it can be even more so for those who are expats. We found that about 1 in 5 US expats haven’t felt confident about filing their taxes while living abroad. The hurdles they’ve encountered are multifaceted:

  • 62% said the biggest one has been managing dual tax obligations.
  • 55% said it was complex tax laws and regulations.
  • 51% bemoaned the high cost of tax preparation and compliance above all else. 
The IRS tax code is 7,000 pages. Want the cliff notes version for expats? Let us help.

Another 7 in 10 US expats said they believe Americans living abroad should be exempt from filing US taxes. This viewpoint was bolstered by nearly 3 in 4 US expats (73%) who argued that the US government falls short in offering sufficient credits and deductions to mitigate the impact of double taxation. This breakdown by country of residence reveals varying percentages of each who shared this sentiment:

  • Australia: 82%
  • United Kingdom: 79%
  • Spain: 76%
  • Canada: 66%
  • Germany: 63%
  • France: 22%

These figures illustrate a significant discontent among expats regarding how double taxation is handled, signaling a call for more robust support and clearer pathways to compliance for US citizens living globally.

Financial Hurdles Abroad

The intersection of foreign banking laws and US tax obligations creates another unique set of challenges for American expatriates. We asked them how these regulations impact their financial planning and investment strategies—here’s what they had to say.

Statistics regarding US expats' banking challenges and tax compliance adjustments.

Many banks limit services such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and mutual funds for Americans abroad to avoid burdensome regulatory and tax complexities. This is likely why 38% of the expats we surveyed said they’ve reduced or eliminated their use of certain financial products to comply with foreign banking laws and regulations. It’s led another 28% to simplify their financial portfolio and 25% to alter their investment strategies.

These are just some ways foreign banking and tax regulations, such as the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), can limit expats’ financial planning and investment options, which was the case for nearly 7 in 10 respondents. It’s easy to see why managing these banking laws and US tax filing requirements has caused significant stress for 77% of our respondents.

However, these might get easier with time. Expats who had lived abroad longer were more likely to have taken advantage of streamlined filing procedures designed for delinquent taxpayers. These services have become increasingly relevant as fewer expats are aware of them than last year: In 2023, 32% were unaware of these procedures, and that figure jumped to 45% this year. This points to a need for enhanced outreach and education to ensure US expats are well-informed and can meet their financial and tax obligations.

Preparation is key.

Dreading the last minute scramble pulling together your tax documents? Despair no more! This simple checklist lists the documents you need to have on hand when preparing to file.

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Help Navigating the Expat Path

The expatriate journey can be as demanding as it is enriching. Considering how many have been contemplating renouncing their US citizenship and their widespread concerns over tax filing and representation, American expats face unique circumstances and can use all the help they can get. Foreign banking laws’ impacts on their financial planning further complicate things, pointing to the need for heightened awareness and support for these global citizens. We at the Greenback team advocate for solutions to concerns like these and aim to facilitate a smoother path through the complexities of living abroad.

Knowledge is power. Get personalized advice from one of our expat expert accountants.

Whether you need tax advice to prepare for a move abroad, to buy property or even retire, Greenback can help. Consults upfront can help avoid costly mistakes and stress later.

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We surveyed 1,007 American expats to explore their sentiments about citizenship, taxes, and foreign banking. The data collection took place from February 8-28, 2024. In presenting data on US expats by their current country of residence, only countries with a minimum of 40 survey respondents were included.

About Greenback Expat Tax Services

Greenback Expat Tax Services offers hassle-free tax preparation for US expats. Our expert team ensures accurate, personalized services, empowering expatriates to tackle US tax compliance with confidence.

Fair Use Statement

Feel free to share this article for non-commercial use, helping spread valuable insights among the expat community. Please link back to this page for full access to the study and methodology.