Contrary to the expectations of Isaac Brock Society voters, the “name and shame” list for the first quarter of 2012 showed up in Monday’s edition of the ever-fascinating Federal Register; you can view it here. It contains 460 names, more than in last quarter’s list which had 360, but fewer than in the Q1 2011 list which had 499 (see our discussion of last year’s statistics here). Thanks to Rick for letting us know. I guess we won’t have to arrest Timothy Geithner. Or will we? Several names which were expected to turn up in this quarter’s list are missing, including Belizean politician Yolanda Schakron who renounced in February, South Korean politician Nam Moon-key who renounced last September but still hasn’t shown up in any list, and our very own Peter Dunn.
Update: Phil Hodgen just wrote a post about The List too. He says:
This is the list people that the Secretary (of the Treasury) heard about in January, February, and March of 2012. It is not the list of people who actually terminated their citizenship or green cards in the first quarter.
I happen to know several people who pulled the plug in Q1 of 2012. They are our clients. They won’t file their final tax returns–with Form 8854 attached–until sometime in 2013. Filing tax returns is the way you notify the Secretary of the Treasury of anything tax-related.
So even though our clients are former citizens at this time, the much-maligned Treasury Secretary legitimately has no clue about these people. And he won’t know until next year. Therefore they are not on this list.
Which would explain why Peter Dunn isn’t on the list. But this is where I get confused. § 6039G(d)(2) specifically provides other ways for the Treasury Secretary to get information about people losing citizenship — the Secretary of State is supposed to send all the CLNs to him, and ICE is supposed to send all the cancelled greencards to him. (Of course, the law doesn’t impose any deadline on them). If someone doesn’t file Form 8854 but State forwarded the CLN to Treasury in a timely manner, then he is still “an individual … with respect to whom the Secretary [of the Treasury] receives information under the preceding sentence”. So is he also “an individual losing United States citizenship (within the meaning of section 877 (a) or 877A)”?
Amusingly, §877(a), which imposes the old 10-year exit tax regime, doesn’t even define what it means to “lose United States citizenship”; it only defines what classes of persons are subject to §877(a) (namely, “covered expatriates”). However, §877(a) is only applicable to people losing citizenship prior to 2008, so we don’t have to think too hard about it. §877A(g)(4) in contrast actually does define “relinquishment of citizenship”, in such a way that “an individual losing United States citizenship … within the meaning of section … 877A” (i.e.: everyone) seems to cover a far broader class of persons than “an individual losing United States citizenship … within the meaning of section 877 (a)” (quite possibly, covered expatriates only). Congress apparently didn’t notice this discrepancy when they monkey-patched §6039G(d) to account for their shiny new §877A exit tax regime. I wonder if this explains the sharp jump in the Federal Register numbers beginning in 2010: Congress didn’t bother reading the law they wrote, but Treasury did and realised they had to start publishing the names of everyone and not just the “covered expatriates”. But anyway, the main point is: someone who never filed Form 8854 still seems to be “an individual losing United States citizenship … within the meaning of section … 877A”, and if the Secretary of the Treasury got information about him in some other way (e.g. if State provided him with a copy of the CLN), he should have published it.
So the conclusion is: my head hurts. We know that our Peter Dunn clearly relinquished citizenship within the meaning of §877A(g)(4) last quarter, didn’t file an 8854 by the end of Q1, and is not in the list. However, that brings us back to the other guy I mentioned, Nam Moon-key. Nam has a pretty successful real estate business down in Southern California, catering to the region’s giant Korean American population. Based on his reported public comments (sorry, in Korean only) he very clearly knew about the exit tax and intended to get his 8854 in ASAP. I guess we’ll have to wait to see if they show up in the Q2 list.
Update 2: Andrew Mitchel, as always, has a nice chart of the statistics going back for several years. Apparently he’s settled on the term “Published Expatriates” for referring to the group of people in the Federal Register. As Phil also pointed out in his post, this is the first quarter in which the list includes the following clarification: “For purposes of this listing, long-term residents, as defined in section 877(e)(2), are treated as if they were citizens of the United States who lost citizenship”.