The FBI has released the latest monthly report on the number of records in NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Alongside hundreds of thousands of records of convicted criminals and the mentally ill, NICS now contains 21,308 records of people who have formally renounced U.S. citizenship, up from 20,830 last month.
As discussed in our earlier post about NICS, this number includes only emigrants who lost U.S. citizenship under INA § 349(a)(5) or (6) by swearing an oath of renunciation — meaning they had lived abroad for many years and were now naturalising in a country whose laws require applicants for naturalisation to renounce all other citizenships prior to being granted a certificate of naturalisation (such as Denmark or Hong Kong), or they were choosing to give up U.S. citizenship after a long period of being dual citizens — which they might choose to do immediately after moving out of the U.S., or decades after their emigration.
NICS does not include records of people who relinquished U.S. citizenship, which normally occurs when emigrants naturalise or enter government service in a country which does permit dual citizenship, but nevertheless choose to have this treated as an “expatriating act” by the U.S. State Department. Based on 1994–1995 State Department data and the Isaac Brock Society’s own collected reports of readers giving up U.S. citizenship, the ratio of renunciants to relinquishers seems to be between five-to-four and six-to-four. That would suggest that roughly eight or nine hundred people gave up U.S. citizenship in one way or another last month.
This estimate for last month alone is twenty times as high as the mere 45 names in the Federal Register name-and-shame list for all of the fourth quarter of 2012. The Federal Register list seems to have begun omitting names of certain people giving up U.S. citizenship starting in 2006, though the basis for non-inclusion in the Federal Register is not well understood and remains a topic of debate. In the U.S. media, the sharp drop in the number of names in the Federal Register in 2006 is sometimes tied to Bush-era tax cuts, in particular the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. In reality, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), whose distaste for Americans abroad is well-known, snuck a massive tax hike on U.S. citizens abroad into that very Act, making it unlikely that the number of American emigrants giving up citizenship would have decreased.
With roughly six million U.S. citizens living abroad, eight or nine hundred renunciations in a month would correspond to 160 annual renunciations per 100,000 diaspora population. This may not seem like a large number but it is in fact quite high when compared to almost all European countries, such as Sweden where a grand total of five people renounced citizenship in 2010. Even Taiwan and Japan have lower renunciation rates — a particularly surprising fact, given that Japan does not permit dual citizenship and Taiwan requires male citizens to perform military service (though the term of service has recently been reduced to four months, this only applies to young men born after 1994; men born from 1977 to 1993 remain liable for the earlier two-year term of conscription).
The fact that European countries have such low renunciation rates points to the obvious fact that high taxes at home are not the driver of renunciations by emigrants — rather, the primary concerns would seem to be the passport country’s treatment of its diaspora (including onerous tax and paperwork requirements for ordinary overseas financial activities, which U.S. media carelessly lump under the rubric of “tax rates” in an effort to portray emigrants as “rich people fleeing the country with ill-gotten gains”), and possibly emigrants’ desire to disassociate themselves from home countries for which many of their neighbours may have a rather low regard.
Note that the FBI has now begun deleting earlier monthly reports from their website; however, most of them remain available through Google cache or the Internet Archive. I will update the earlier chart of past NICS statistics with working links as time permits.
Thanks Eric. This is a valuable service you are providing. Hopefully we will soon have more information to corroborate it and the govt will be forced to admit the reality of this situation.
Sorry, this is not the subject discussed but I don’t know how else to share this.
Washington, DC – Today, the Ways and Means Committee announced a new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org as another way for stakeholders, advocacy groups and the public to share information, facts and data relevant to the Committee’s review of current federal income tax law within the Committee’s 11 Tax Reform Working Groups.
This is our voice in Congress, I guess.
Thanks for finding that popal and please post your comment again tomorrow if it slips away unnoticed during the night. I wonder if the Isaac Brock Society could put together a submission or perhaps Shadow Raider who is our man about DC town. Or maybe Allison Christians could be asked to submit something. I’d like to see the submission go right to the heart of the problem — citizenship-based taxation — and recommend that the USA join the rest of the world in a more logical system of taxation. And, of course, FATCA must be repealed.
From the Ways and Means website:
Details for the Submission of Written Comments to the Tax Reform Working Groups
1. Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit comments can email email@example.com.
2. In the subject line of the email, please indicate “Comments: (name of) Tax Reform Working Group” (note: be sure to specify the name of the working group in the subject line – e.g., Energy Tax Reform Working Group).
3. Attach your submission as a Word document.
4. In addition to the Word document attachment, please include in the body of the email a contact name, physical address, phone number and email address.
5. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-3625 or (202) 225-1721.
Below is an analysis of naturalisations by US citizens in the EU27 countries. The approach is derived from the “Overseas Exile” website but uses 2011 Eurostat data and also list of countries Allowing, Not Tolerating and Tolerating dual citizenship from the Liechtenstein Institut:
Naturalisations in 2011 Dual Citizenship?
European Union (27 countries) Allowed Not Tolerated Tolerated
Czech Republic 5
Germany (including former GDR from 1991) 874
United Kingdom 2’588
Total 4’094 184 1’271 5’549
“Not Tolerated”: this means that the country does not allow dual citizenship.
“Tolerated”: in some cases, as defined in national laws, a citizen of this country may hold two or more citizenships but it is generally not allowed.
“Allowed”: dual citizenship is allowed.
As an example, Germany “tolerates” dual citizenship under certain circumstances. Americans who naturalise in Germany would not normally, however, be allowed to retain their US citizenship, unless s/he was a descendent of a German citizen forced to emigrate during the Nazi period. The below link to an Economist article explains the extent to which Germany “tolerates” dual citizenship.
In 2011, 1,781 US citizens and greencard holders expatriated according to the Federal Register. In this same year, according to Eurostat data, 1,455 US citizens naturalised in EU27 countries which do not tolerate or tolerate, but do not normally allow, dual citizenship.
The above posting lost its formatting. Below is a listing of US citizen naturalisations in EU27 countries that do not tolerate or tolerate but generally do not allow dual citizenship, per 2011 Eurostat data:
Total Naturalisation by US Citizens in “Not Tolerated” Countries in 2011: 184
Total Naturalisation by US Citizens in “Tolerated” Countries in 2011: 1,271
Count me as one for the March total. I did mine yesterday!
The general pattern of of how the US government deals with statistics they don’t like:
Step 1: lie about massive improvements
Step 2: once people lose interest, stop reporting entirely
Longer version of same content
Thanks nobledreamer. I’m glad to get that part done. Now it’s on to the tax part – what fun!
Good job, Medea! The last set of tax forms is a bit more daunting, but there’s the good feeling that you’ll never have to waste time on that nonsense again.
Yes, exactly @Sally!! My accountant will charge me perhaps even double but at least it will be the final time. It’s worth it to me to make sure I do it right so it can be a clean break…
According to FBI NICS statistics, 196 US citizens renounced in March 2013. This is calculated as the difference between 21’504 at month-end March and 21’308 at month-end February.
A total of 850 US citizens have renounced their citizenship in the period January to March 2013 according to FBI NICS records.
As reported by Eric, the FBI tracks only renunciations and does not track relinquishments. Isaac Brock Society reported expatriations show a ratio of 2/3 renunciations to 1/3 relinquishments.