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Americans renounce citizenship for a variety of reasons: taxes, political environment, and more. But typically, one of the top factors is US expat taxes. Let’s take a look at renunciation reasons, consequences, and trends to get a sense of the expat mindset.
Citizenship renunciation and US expatriate’s tax requirements are inextricably tied. Yes, there are many other factors that Americans consider when they take the plunge to renounce citizenship. But being reminded every year during tax season of a significant financial drawback to being an American citizen has compelled even some of the most patriotic expats into the decision to relinquish their citizenship.
In addition, the birth of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) in 2010 made the routine task of finding a place to bank an absolute nightmare for some expats. These elements are often the deciding factor when Americans elect to become citizens of other countries.
If you are an American who has decided to renounce your US citizenship, you’ll need to follow these steps to complete the process:
Renouncing citizenship is not just a big decision – it’s also a very permanent decision. Expats who decide to renounce are relinquishing their right to vote in American elections, government assistance provided overseas, and unhindered travel in and out of America. For expats with family members who still reside in the US, giving up these rights and privileges can be especially difficult.
Further, once you surrender your citizenship, you can never reclaim it. But even with these consequences looming on the minds of expats, sometimes the endless taxation in their future is enough for them to pull the plug on their citizenship.
If you look back through the annals of citizenship renunciation, it’s evident that an immense upswing started in 2010. That year, the vast financial implications of FATCA stirred frustrated expats to action. Renunciation figure jumped from 100 to 200 per quarter to over 1,000.
For nearly a decade, US citizenship renunciations continued at this high rate. It was not until recently that the US began to see a major decline in renunciations. At the end of 2019, only 261 Americans renounced their citizenship, indicating a potential return to pre-FATCA numbers.
However, it’s unclear if this slowdown will continue. Tax laws and political environments change rapidly, and there is no way to know how new policies will impact Americans abroad.
Whether or not you renounce your citizenship, becoming tax compliant is essential. Greenback’s experts can help with that. Get in touch with us, and we can help answer any questions you have.