US expat woes increase thanks to FATCA

Published:  28 Oct at 6 PM
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A recent survey undertaken with a sample of US expats living in popular destinations revealed that almost three-quarters of respondents had considered voluntarily renouncing their citizenship to avoid the onerous FATCA requirements.

The complications of endless form-filling, the threat of being barred from opening local bank accounts and the invasion of personal financial privacy have already resulted in an unprecedented number of US expat citizens giving up their passports. According to the survey, 73 per cent of respondents admitted they were considering dumping their US citizenship.

The study, carried out last month, involved US expats living in Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, China, Japan , India, the UAE, UK, South Africa and Indonesia. Only 16 per cent stated they would remain as US citizens, with a further 11 per cent in the ‘don’t know’ category.

Foreign banks, insurers and investment companies are as uncertain about the effects of FATCA as are their clients, with many now refusing to take on new business from Americans living overseas and several already closing their doors to new and existing US expat bank accounts. The tax law was originally intended to identify tax-evading USA residents holding offshore accounts, investments and other assets.

However, it's grown to include all expat USA citizens with taxable assets of over $50,000 held overseas. Penalties for financial institutions in offshore jurisdictions which refused to sign up for the controversial law were threatened with damaging restrictions on their trade with USA financial firms as well as by huge fines.
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