In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the Canadian government’s call to increase social distancing, the U.S. Embassy and all Consulates General in Canada are suspending all routine American Citizen Services from March 23 through August 4.
We will resume routine American Citizen Services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.
The Embassy and Consulates will continue to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens.
So it looks very likely now that there will be a second round of stimulus cheques next month. This means that the full cost of renunciation can be offset for an individual receiving $1200 twice. (It’s possible that the AGI limit may be reduced, or other conditions imposed – we’ll know more in a week or two.) Those who are not compliant and who do not wish to file a full return can obtain the funds by submitting the simple “non-filer” form; direct deposit to a Transferwise US dollar account is much faster and safer than waiting for a paper cheque.
The Great 2020 Coronavirus Renunciation Giveaway. Who saw that coming?
What does one need to qualify for the stimulus cheque? I had to get a social security to fulfill the tax part of renunciation but I’ve yet to file.
Just so you’re aware, one is not obliged to file any tax returns in order to renounce. Renunciation has nothing to do with tax status. If you wish to “exit the US tax system” after renouncing, there are a number of hoops to jump through. But you can also ignore the whole silly tax business and simply renounce – it’s an increasingly popular choice among those who have no US assets to complicate matters.
To collect the stimulus cheque, you could file a 2019 return with an adjusted gross income (AGI) under US$75,000. Note that for a non-resident, AGI is calculated after applying the FEIE, so you could potentially earn up to US$180,000 and still collect the full benefit. (If you earn more than that you probably wouldn’t notice the renunciation fee.)
Alternatively, if you want to keep things simple – take the money and run, as it were – you can do this:
All you need is a Social Security Number, a foreign mailing address for the nice letter from Mr. Trump, and a US bank account (Transferwise works fine) for direct deposit. Be sure to file with “single” status.
Disclaimer: There is some unquantifiable risk of bureaucratic harassment if after a lifetime of not filing US tax returns, one uses the non-filer form to claim this money and then renounces. I expect the risk is quite low.
Susan It’s not too late. In most cases, we advise not filing any tax forms unless you absolutely have to. If you have no overriding US connections, it is best not to enter the tax system. You do not need to file in order to renounce. In my opinion, it would be better to forego the stimulus checque than to start filing US returns.