For a long time I have listened to the message from the State Department that if you relinquish/renounce your US citizenship you are giving up a large number of precious “rights”. I would be interested in some perceptions of what exactly those “rights” are.
Yesterday I looked at the current passport application which asks for information they say will be shared with the IRS. The US is moving in the direction where the issuance of a passport may be conditional on tax compliance. As you know under US law, US citizens are required to both enter and leave the US on a US passport. What this tells me is that US citizens do NOT in fact have the right to either leave or enter the US. In fact, there is no constitutional right to leave the country regardless.
Again, my question is: what is your understanding of the precious rights that US citizenship implies?
*The US citizen has the right to pay debt interest:
‘U.S. Per Person Debt Now 35 Percent Higher than that of Greece’
4:27 PM, Nov 5, 2012
If you were born today as U.S. citizen you share of the public debt would be $1,532,026
Outside the US, there are no real rights at all apart from paying taxes and higher visa fees and being a scapegoat due to US policies. In a small tiny country with very few US citizens, the US *might* extend shelter to you in an absolute emergency. But don’t really count on it. Evacuations are not free (and are very pricey). Refuge is only really given to spies, favorable dissidents and when it can be used to score political points. You, the average person… no one cares.
Interesting calculator. One has to wonder if extraterritorial USP’s are included in the base, and how many we are determined to be when so many USC’s were born outside of the US and never counted.
On further thought, another thing to terrorize us: home landers wanting to lower their average national debt load by making sure every USP pays their “fair share” even though many USC’s are only so through descent-but that may be too nuanced for the average American to contemplate when fighting for their social security and Medicare, both out of reach to those born abroad as they have lived their entire lives as citizens of another country.
*@Bubblebustin, US persons living abroad are most unlikely to be included in the person count. The US census counts persons resident in the the US, irrespective of citizenship, but does not count US persons who live outside of the US.
There was an attempt a few years back at census time to count US citizens living abroad. I am not sure excactly why since they are not part of the population of the US. But it was a total failure. Based on that expiriment, efforts to do so were totally suspended.
Probably because of US citizenship-based taxation the US government records of US citizens living abroad is very poor. Amercians living abroad in general are not eager to disclose to the US government where they may be found. Consequjentlhy there is almost no communication between the US Government and these persons. Alhough the are allowed to vote in US elections in the last voting precinct where they lived before going abroad, they represent such a small percentage of the voters in that precinct that those elected generally totally ignore the issues affecting their overseas constituents. They cannot even contact their congressmen via their websites if they have an address outside of the geographic area which this congressman represents. Adresses without US zip codes are totally rejected from these website email systems.
Contrast this if you will with Swiss citizens who live abroad. Switzerland has a very strong tradition of maintaining official contact with its expatrate citizens and they have a very strong tradition of informing their embassies abroad of their whereabouts. And there are regular meetings in Switzerland of expats who come back home to participate in these meetings and share their thougts and impressions with government officials. When they speak at these meetings they are encouraged to so so in whatever language they feel most competent in using to express their thoughts and opinions. (I once had a conversation with the Swiss Ambassador to the US who conveyed these thoughts to me very clearly and with deep conviction.).
They do not have direct representation in the Swiss legislatiure, as for example do French, Colombian and expats from several other countries who elect their own representatives, but there is very high confidence in Switzerland that they have excellent records on Swiss persons living abroad. Preserving their Swiss nationaly to them is a very important part of their culture and having a valid Swiss passport, as well as the passport of the other country for those born abroad and which are dual citizens of another country, is very important to them
*@Bubble, I’d like to think that most American homelanders would become more sympathetic if they fully understood our plight.
*Monalisa & Bubble, unfortunately most homelanders have absolutely no realizaion that US citizens living abroad are subject to US tax laws as well as paying taxes to the country where they live.
If you mention this to the average man-on-the-street that Americans abroad must file US tax returns, the reaction in 99% of the instances is “They do?” They are totally unaware and have just never thought about it before.
Tragic, but true. The US has the smallest perseentage of its citizens living in another country than any OECD country. as I rcall it is about one half of one percent., whereas for most other countries is it 10% or more.
I am in Florida now and of the locals I spoke to, all have been sympathetic as I put my grievances in the context of being a fellow American. Some suggest renouncing, then I tell them about the Reed Amendment. One of our friends here said that our story was so bizarre that it was making him feel sick and angry. Understanding is there when I make the effort in a way that doesn’t cause defensiveness, and the skill is in being able to convey in such a way that we inspire rage against the policies, not at us.
*@Roger, I agree that very few understand that we’re still having to file despite living abroad. And @Bubble, I agree that when they do finally understand that they tend to be sympathetic, especially as it is effectively taxation without representation, something our forefathers fought against. But it is the Reed Amendment that serves as the ultimate deterrent though. In spite of the ongoing burdens and costs, I couldn’t bear to never be able to ever visit my mother again.
It makes me think renouncing may simply not be worth it unless one is prepared to risk never being allowed to ever visit again. I especially feel this way because I chose to leave the US and make a new life in the UK with my British spouse. I made a decision to move abroad deliberately which is why I partially blame myself for not having kept fully aware of my filing and reporting responsibilities.
It seems completely different if we’re talking about an accidental US Person, such as one who had never even been to the US and had merely inherited their US citizenship from one of their parents, or moved abroad as a child. The main difference with some of the others here on this forum is that I still have many ties to the US. I have a niece and two nephews who could be screwed out of most of their inheritance if I renounced.
I have concluded that once I’m fully compliant, that I am prepared to put up and shut up as long as the annual accounting and double tax amounts to less than $5000 annually in today’s prices. But if it goes any higher, I simply won’t be able to afford the ‘rent’.
*@Bubble, and as a Morman, they believe that America is indeed the Chosen Land and that when Jesus comes back, he’ll rule from Missouri, LOL 😛
Believe he will be even more of an American Exceptionalist than Obama.
Here in the US we frequently hear comments about how easy it is for immigrants, both legal and illegal, to send funds back to their families in countries where they live and how potentially the US is loosing billions of dollars because it does not subject these remittances to taxation.
But nobody ever mentions that when Americans live abroad they are required by the provisions of US tax laws to remit tax payments, not to their families back in the US but to the US government itself. And as far as I know none of those countries subject these obligatory remittances to the US IRS to any tax either
Some countries do not recognize that either the US or any other foreign power has a right to levy and collect taxes within their sovereign borders, but they are few. All with which the US has tax treaties include a provision which specifically guarantees that the foreign country recognizes the right of the the US Government to do this. In a few, like Venezuela, US citizens are denied access to US dollars with which to comply with this treaty provision, but Washington simply brushes this aside with “that’s their problem,” referreing to persons with US citizenship that live in Venezuela.