Cross posted from RenounceUScitizenship.
Citizenship renunciations are soaring under the Obama administration. In a move that is sure to accelerate this trend, as part of Tax Amendments to Senate-Passed Highway Trust Fund Bill (S. 1813), the ability to get a U.S. passport is now tied to U.S. tax compliance. The provisions are detailed. But, the bottom line is that the issuance and renewal of U.S. passports is now tied to U.S. tax compliance. I suspect that (at least initially) this will affect few people. You should read the complete article (courtesy of ACA). Note the following comments from lawyer Charles Bruce.
One suspects that the State Department personnel responsible for the issuance and renewal of passports, especially those located in American embassies around the world, will not welcome these provisions. They will not make their work, which is already difficult, any easier.
In order to avoid being caught in a bind, where the individual, in effect, loses his US passport, some people undoubtedly will want to acquire a back-up passport from another country. Also, it is the case that there are hundreds of thousands of individuals that are already dual nationals, frequently by birth. If their US passport is revoked or they are not allowed to renew it, at least they will not be, in a sense, stateless, unable to travel from one foreign country to another and, as a practical matter, forced to return to the US. Some individuals who think these rules make their situation untenable, or may in the future make it untenable, may choose to renounce their US citizenship. Depending upon circumstances, they may have to “pay up” in order cleanly to renounce.
There may be constitutional issues lurking around these provisions. A US citizen generally has the right to have a passport and to travel freely. It’s not clear that the inability to pay his tax bills can be used to deny him this right.
Charles M. Bruce is a partner at Moore & Bruce LLP (Washington, D.C.) and counsel at Bonnard Lawson (Lausanne, Switzerland).
Mr. Bruce notes that “A US citizen generally has the right to have a passport and to travel freely.” I suspect that the Obama administration would argue that there is NO constitutional right to either leave or enter the United States.
Remaining a U.S. citizen is becoming increasingly undesirable. The issue is not the tax requirements. The issue is the disregard of fundamental human rights and (as Mr. Bruce alludes to) the constitutional issues surrounding much of its legislation and conduct. On the issue of respect for the constitution, see U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explain former law professor Barack Obama’s view of what due process requires (or sorry, doesn’t require).
Renounce U.S. citizenship and rejoice!