Numbers of US expats renouncing citizenship still on the increase

Published:  6 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Citizenship, England
A worrying increase in the number of US citizens returning their passports is coincidental with the introduction of FATCA and the increasing surveillance of expat finances by the IRS.

Since 2011, the numbers of expats who’ve given up on America and renounced their citizenship has risen year on year. From around 1700 in 2011 rising to 2999 in 2013, the annual total for 2015 is 4.279, a record number. According to the US Treasury, over 1000 a quarter is now the new normal.

FATCA and the necessity of filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts each year is the main reason for the increase, although the annual tax return demanded of all US expats overseas plus the fact that they must pay tax in the home country have always been controversial issues. The introduction of FATCA with its severe penalties for overseas banks’ non-compliance has also made it far more difficult for expats to get overseas bank accounts.

Americans living overseas now seem to be far more aware of the obligations of annual tax reporting. Whatever the reasons for giving up American citizenship, the treasury’s quarterly list of those who have returned their passports looks set to grow longer year by year. Several organisations and a number of individuals have recently suggested the Treasury’s list is incomplete, inferring that the totals are far higher.

Meanwhile, in the middle of one of the most controversial run-ups to any USA presidential election, it’s just possible there may be another reason for many US expats overseas to consider giving up their citizenship – the unthinkable possibility of a Trump presidency. The latest provocative statement from the billionaire businessman was aired on Fox News yesterday, with the presumptive nominee stating he backs a Brexit for Britain.
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