Accidental Americans in France plead for French government assistance

Published:  19 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, USA, Citizenship
Representatives of the France-based Accidental American Association are urging the French government to offer its support to a new campaign aimed at ending the burden of unfair income tax liabilities due to their being born in the USA.

American dual nationals are being considered as expats living overseas and are being chased for taxes due under the hated FATCA system, with those refusing to pay also being hit with penalties by the US taxman. The new campaign aims to collect enough signatures from dual-nationality ‘accidental Americans’ living in France for a motion to be presented to France’s National Assembly. At present, the association has just 320 members, but is experiencing a rapid growth in numbers as the word gets around.

According to its leader Fabien Lehagre, the vast majority left the USA with their parents at less than 10 years of age, with Lehagre himself returning to France with his family when he was 18 months old. Estimates show that around nine million people accidentally stuck with US citizenship are living outside the USA and have been doing so from early childhood. Unlike citizens in the vast majority of all other world countries excepting Eritrea, individuals are taxed based on citizenship obtained at birth, no matter what nationality their parents claimed.

Many of those affected didn’t even realise they had dual nationality until fairly late in their lives, with everyday occurrences such as bank officials noticing a USA place of birth on their non-US passport pages giving the clues. Since FATCA, bank officials are compelled to report such anomalies, thus drawing more accidental Americans into the IRS’s net. After FATCA became law, a good number of protests to foreign governments by those unwittingly affected have brought no results even although several court actions have been heard. As a result, many of those affected have renounced the American citizenship they’d had no say in acquiring, a costly process in itself.
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