A headline from the morning news caught my attention:
“June 13 (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co Ltd said on Wednesday it will recall about 50,000 Civic small cars in the United States from the 2012 model year for a potential driveshaft assembly issue that could lead to loss of engine power. “
It occurred to me that there are more mechanisms in place to notify a consumer of an issue effecting product safety than the US government uses in informing its citizens abroad of their duty to pay US taxes. What if manufacturers were to leave safety recalls to foreign media, or to print it in mouse-type on the last page of a document that a consumer may or may now renew every 10 years, or adopt a laissez faire regard for the law that leads to sellers of the product not informing purchasers of an important safety instruction? Yet the US government continues to punish its citizens by way of onerous penalties and threats of exile for neglecting to report forms that these otherwise law-abiding citizens could not have reasonably known about, and continues to make little in the way of effort to facilitate.
When an product is defective (such as US citizenship is because of citizenship based taxation) it would stand to reason that it would, and should, result in actions similar to the recall of consumer products, even if warnings are made informally. Some of us will recognize a few of the steps to recall a product as what many US persons, and associations dedicated to US persons are taking: Wikipedia “Product Recall: General steps to a product recall”:
A product recall usually involves the following steps, which may differ according to local laws:
▪ Maker or dealer notifies the authorities responsible of their intention to recall a product. Consumer hotlines or other communication channels are established. The scope of the recall, that is, which serial numbers or batch numbers etc. are recalled, is often specified.
▪ Product recall announcements are released on the respective government agency’s website (if applicable), as well as in paid notices in the metropolitan daily newspapers. In some circumstances, heightened publicity will also result in news television reports advising of the recall.
▪ When a consumer group learns of a recall it will also notify the public by various means.
▪ Typically, the consumer is advised to return the goods, regardless of condition, to the seller for a full refund or modification.
▪ Avenues for possible consumer compensation will vary depending on the specific laws governing consumer trade protection and the cause of recall.
An important requirement such as taxation should demand at least as many resources to help taxpayers as a product recall does in protecting consumers! It’s no wonder that many are “returning” (sorry, no refunds) citizenship and green cards because of the undisclosed citizenship based taxation defect. In general terms a defect is “a frailty or shortcoming that prevents an item from being complete, desirable, effective, safe, or of merit, or makes it to malfunction or fail in its purpose”. It is fair to say that the costs of citizenship-based taxation to the US person living abroad far outweigh the benefits. For the US person living abroad, citizenship-based taxation does not allow a US citizen to vote in US elections, receive consular assistance, or unfettered access to the US. US citizenship ALONE provides these benefits. When this defect most often only makes itself apparent as a result of moving away from the ‘homeland’ it should come as no surprise that those who can’t or won’t return would choose to renounce rather than comply. As the US government continues to neglect in making adequate efforts to disclose this defect, it falls upon those who have suffered harm to warn others. Some may consider it our civic duty to do so before more people are harmed.