Queen Noor is a US citizen, she’s wealthy, she is not filing her U.S. tax returns, hasn’t filed FBAR and hasn’t been paying U.S. taxes. Yet her tax evasion is honored by the IRS and many stateside Americans who frequently express great hostility against the middle class Americans living abroad, but never lift a finger against some wealthy tax evaders like Queen Noor.
She claims that she lost her U.S. citizenship, but the claim is invalid. To no longer be a U.S. citizen, one must officially renounce or relinquish at an embassy and demonstrate 5 years of tax compliance. There is no such thing as an automatic loss of U.S. citizenship.
Lisa Halaby, daughter of a Pan American World Airways executive, became a Jordanian citizen when she married King Hussein in 1978. She says she automatically lost her U.S. citizenship but never renounced it.
Time – Queen Noor
Born in London to two American parents, the glamorous actor, philanthropist and oft-married beauty relinquished her U.S citizenship twice. In 1965 at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, she made a half-hearted effort, deleting the phrase “abjure all allegiance and fidelity to the U.S.” When the State Dept. declared that invalid, she applied again at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and this time let the wording stand. When she married John Warner, the former Secretary of the Navy who would later become a Senator, she applied to reinstate her U.S. citizenship.
Haha, so many American newspapers running “lists of ex-Americans” which they cribbed from Wikipedia and thinly rewrote. One blatant example: here’s how they describe Henry James.
Washington Post, 13 November 2013: “The New York-born writer, famous for his novels about Americans living abroad, renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1915 to protest America’s then-neutrality in World War I. James, shown here with novelist Edith Wharton at her western Massachusetts home in 1904, became a British citizen. ”
Time, 13 November 2013: “This literary giant was a native of New York City. He moved to England in 1876 and began writing novels about Americans living abroad, including Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady. He renounced his citizenship and became a British subject in 1915, as a protest against early U.S. neutrality in World War I.”
Wikipedia’s List of former United States citizens who relinquished their nationality, 11 April 2013: “A native of New York City, James travelled frequently between Europe and the U.S. before settling in England in 1876, where he became famous for novels about Americans living abroad such as Daisy Miller and The Portrait of a Lady. He renounced U.S. citizenship in 1915 and became a British subject to protest U.S. neutrality in World War I.”
Anyway, it’s worth noting that back in the 70s, the State Department still could and did issue unilateral findings of loss of nationality against high-profile Americans abroad or anyone else of whose potentially-relinquishing acts they became aware. That may have happened to Queen Noor, in which case she really is no longer a U.S. citizen (assuming she didn’t challenge the finding later and reclaim citizenship).
@Swisspinoy, though I was told that renouncing my US citizenship was an irrevocable act, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they’re willing to make exceptions for the politically connected.
@Eric, I just did a little googling on the topic. It generally claims that she renounced or relinquished but I couldn’t find anything stating that the US government defined that she is not a US citizen. Here’s something of interest:
Regardless, it would ruin the USG’s running narrative that they aren’t hurting people or hunting them down like runaway slaves if they were to start making examples of high profile USC’s like the Queen of their Jordian ally (they are still allies right? so hard to keep track of these things in the Middle East anymore).
I didn’t know the Liz Taylor story – very interesting!
My advisors have told me that relinquishment is categorically irreversible; marrying an American and applying for naturalization doesn’t work – once you have relinquished, you can never be a citizen again no matter what, no exceptions, period.
My guess is that’s true. For me. But apparently not for those with the right connections. It’s so sad to see the formerly great nation I was born in devolve into a banana republic in slow motion.
For now I’m quite happy with my decision, and have no regrets. But frankly, with initiatives like Ex-PATRIOT and some of the stories I’ve heard about how expatriates have been treated by U.S. consular personnel (like criminals), I do wonder if the day will come where I regret my decision. I mean shit, the U.S. seems to be quite happy to assinate anyone they label a ‘terrorist’, without evidence. Who’s to say expatriates aren’t going to be targeted as “traitors” some day. I fear anything is possible.
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Larry King:
“KING: Dear, what are you? What are you, Jordanian, American? What you are? You are an American born.
NOOR: In my heart, I have loyalty to both countries and cultures. And I see no contradiction in that. And I never have.
KING: You’re a citizen of the world?
NOOR: I’m a citizen of Jordan.
KING: That mean us gave up your American citizenship?
NOOR: I had to when I was married. They could have made an exception. But I don’t believe in exceptions like that. I had to make a full commitment, and don’t regret it.”
Good move, Queen Noor!
It’s all BS anyway….as everyone can plainly see…the wealthy get a pass on everything including “offshore” bank accounts…(you can’t tell me that there are no American politicians that are not hiding money from Uncle Sam??)…and when it comes to protecting what you have…or what you have worked for all of your life…the IRS threatens and comes after the low hanging fruit…like myself and others.
People like Queen Noor are exactly the people they should be going after…can you imagine what her 8854 form would look like???? but in the interests of diplomacy…I suppose it is better to go after Grandma’s lonley Canadian RRSP so she can survive off Ritz crackers and ketchup for the remainder of her existing years…
@To all, yes, it all makes me feel rather bitter. I essentially felt forced to expatriate in order to be able to lead a normal life where I live. Money’s not everything to me; had it been made blatantly clear by the IRS and Embassy that normal retirement planning for the UK was going to make ongoing compliance virtually impossible, I would have YEARS AGO, sought out specialized advice and steered clear of local mutual funds and pension plans/ISAs.
It almost feels like entrapment that I was spending almost twenty years trying to be prudent but I’ve been punished for trying to be responsible for my future. I have had to surrender my BIRTHRIGHT. I know I’m a moaner (hence the name ‘Mona’ ;)….
If they want COMPLIANCE, than dammit, they’ve got to COMMUNICATE and make it manageable as well as affordable. Instead, it does indeed seem as though they’re setting up penalty traps for the unwary as a revenue raiser (i.e. ”the most valuable FBAR is an unfiled FBAR, etc….”)
Mind you, I am ultimately optimistic that our efforts will eventually snowball into forcing real reform…and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the USA does an about face and offers to reinstate citizenships. I doubt if I’ll bother, but it would at least be good manners after true reform and a sincere apology…
All long-term American expats (rich and poor) are victims of US citizenship-based taxation, Queen Noor included!
@FromTheWilderness, I don’t mean to be critical of Queen Noor. She’s innocent as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t believe that citizenship-based taxation can be implemented fairly and consistently and thus I seriously doubt that Queen Noor is being treated the same as other expats who got slammed by the IRS even though they relinquished decades ago. Does Queen Noor have a CLN to prove to banks that she is not a US person? Probably not. Will FATCA give her trouble like everyone else? Probably not.
According to this article, printed in the Schenectady Gazette, 21. Juni 1980, she neither renounced nor relinquished US citizenship:
I read it as her having relinquished. Not clear she notified the embassy, but I don’t have the impression that that was required or expected back then. Was it?
There’s a long list of celeb who were born in the US and it’s questionable whether they’ve renounced or ever complied with the IRS much less FATCA.
They include from memory Boris Johnson, Ruby Wax, Zoë Wanamaker, Paul Gambacinni (who’s currently fight sex abuse charges in London), Michael Flatley (recently renounced but did he file all the forms and pay the exit tax etch??), Anne Sinclair (French broadcaster and wife of DSK), Barbara Cassini (former head of UK Olympics Committee and UK businesswoman), the King of Thailand (born in Mt Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Mass near Harvard).
Perhaps a list of these people should be posted front and centre on the website requesting whether they’ve ‘followed the rules or not?”
At the end of the day if they haven’t complied why should I?
FATCA is not just for the middle class!
I like what you bring up. What happens to someone who simply does not pay the exit tax? Especially someone who never plans to set foot again on the Land of the Flee. Alternatively, someone of notoriety who has the backing of fans. Most people of means wait for some sort of lawsuit to be attempted to collect, and if they should lose the lawsuit, they have to try and get it anyways.
I remember from other discussions that there are only 6 countries (including Sweden) that have tax treaties which honor tax liens from the Land of the Flee.
“Does Queen Noor have a CLN to prove to banks that she is not a US person?”
I would guess that she has something in writing, yes. The article that you quoted from 1980 is an interview of her during a visit back to the USA in 1980. The article clearly suggests a thoughtful person who is very understanding of both the opportunities and limitations of her new (as of 1980) role as queen. I think it unlikely she would have made a trip back to the USA without getting her US status clarified in writing.
Now I don’t necessarily think that every wealthy expat mentioned in this thread has formally obtained a CLN and it is probably true that some of the are getting special treatment due to their wealth. But the article you quoted from 1980 suggests someone who has carefully thought through the implications of her new role. She said she didn’t renounce–she never said she didn’t relinquish. And as she herself said earlier in the article–she is careful in how she words things.
Now, did Queen Noor have to book an appointment months in advance at the consulate and then wait in line along with everyone else? Probably not. I’m sure it was handled discretely at a high level and, in that case, of course it was easier for Queen Noor than for an ordinary person. But I suspect strongly that it did get handled–I doubt it has just been left hanging all these years.
@Mark Twain – I was interested in your collections comment.
Indeed there are five countries with ‘Mutual Collection Assistance Requests’ in their US tax treaty:
◦Canada — All taxes
◦France — Income, Estate and Gift, Wealth and other specified taxes
◦Denmark — Income and other specified taxes
◦Sweden — Income and other specified taxes
◦Netherlands — Income and other specified taxes
Please note that France, and Sweden have MCARs in their treaties. The Netherlands is in advanced negotiations for FATCA.
Obviously once a country signs an IGA the IRS would naturally push for the MCAR provision to be added in the tax treaty in future.
Perhaps in the IGA countries a Freedom of Information request should be made to find out if each respective government has engaged in any negotiations concerning MCAR.
Citizens of these countries have to realise MCARs allow the US to ‘rob’ their country of money that could have been spent in their economy rather than ship it off to the US Treasury. This stealth taxation is going to become a wider issue in future. FATCA gets the ball rolling, MCAR earns the money.
However which ever way you look at it, it’s expensive money to collect. The US would be better to implement a VAT and change the tax system domestically. Collecting money from MCARs is unpredictable and expensive. Domestic US VAT would raise a lot more money very quickly allowing the US to balance the books.
Here’s a couple of links if anyone is interested:
Of course one of the links is some company flogging their tax services!
Correct there’s a mutual assistance clause, but important to note in the case of the Canada-US Treaty, that s. XXVI A(8) provides that CRA will not assist IRS in collecting against a Canadian citizen if the tax claim relates to a period in which the person was a Canadian citizen, and there is no provision for collection of FBAR penalties against either citizens or permanent residents.
@pacifica777 – That’s interesting. I just had a look at the US – Netherlands treaty and it doesn’t seem to have any ‘citizenship’ restriction. It seems the Dutch has sold their citizens down the river to the US Treasury.
Phrases like this concern me –
4. Where an application for collection of a revenue claim in respect of a taxpayer is accepted: (a) by the United States, the revenue claim shall be treated by the United States as an assessment under United States laws against the taxpayer as of the time the application is received; and (b) by the Netherlands, the revenue claim shall be treated by the Netherlands as an amount payable under appropriate Netherlands law, the collection of which is not subject to any restriction.
It seems this part essentially links up US tax demands into the Dutch tax collection system. How can the Dutch be happy about shipping off those valuable Euros to Washington while they stand to gain relatively little in return because they have RBT not CBT.
I haven’t read the treaty word for word, however, it’s obvious it’s riddled with US citizenship-based taxation including references to the ’10 year period’ of taxation if someone has the gall to renounce their US citizenship.
It’s becoming more and more apparent the rest of the world still only regards FATCA and MCAR a US citizen problem not theirs. Sell US citizens down the river and they believe the US won’t eventually in future demand some elderly Dutch woman to sell her house to pay US taxes because she made the mistake to be married to a ‘US person’ who died unexpectedly living a tax mess behind.
The Dutch should know better.
@monalisa 1776 – Here is possibly another route if you are a dual UK-EU/US citizen.
The Race Relations Act 1976 makes it unlawful to discriminate on the ground of race. It is unlawful to refuse a service, or to not give the same standard of service extended to others, on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.
It is direct discrimination if a firm refuses to lend money because of the applicant’s racial origin. But indirect discrimination is also unlawful. It would, for example, be indirect discrimination where a lender refused to lend money on properties below a certain value – if such properties were located in an area that was largely populated by a particular racial group – unless the refusal was justified on non-racial grounds.
It’s possible they could be breaking this Act. If a bank asks you to supply additional information or sign a W-9 form, they could be breaking this Act. They are asking you to do something different based on your nationality or perhaps ethnic origin. In other words it could be construed they are not offering you the same standard of service.
Remember one man turned the banking industry upside down a few years ago with bank charges. If FATCA is deemed discriminatory, it could force a debate to change the Race Relations Act 1976 for FATCA? I would like to see that debate in the Commons.