I am Canadian born to a US citizen mother. My other took me to the US when I was 10, but I have lived in Canada since 1977, did graduate school here, married (a Canadian) and had children. I am a physician, which means that ALL the money I have saved for my retirement, came ultimately from Canadian taxpayers. The idea that the IRS should have any claim to anything I own is unthinkable. I started filing tax forms and FBAR’s 3 years ago, Of course I don’t owe any tax, but I have sleepless nights when I worry I made a mistake or missed something on a form. I just recently discovered that a TFSA (which is a common Canadian tax free saving account) is determined by the IRS to be a “foreign trust”. I was advised by my accountant and by the institution that held the TFSA (when they heard I was a “US person”) to close it (and those of my children) immediately. Being a US citizen doesn’t give me any benefits I want. It just makes it harder to live as an ordinary Canadian. I would renounce in a heartbeat, but I have an 80 yr old mother living in the US who may need my assistance some day, and my accountant warned me there is a risk I might be excluded from entering the US sometime in the future if I renounce. I feel trapped lMy young adult daughter is going to renounce ASAP, and is on the waiting list for an appointment at the embassy on London, UK. They have no appointments available until April!
Can your accountant point to a single person who has relinquished their US citizenship and been barred from entering the United States? I know of no one so far, and I’ve been studying this issues for the last two years.
I think I would like to move this conversation to a new page, linked to at your “story” at the bottom left hand page. I’ll let you know when it is done.
Here are a couple of additional thoughts to think about at night:
1. As a doctor I would assume that you already pay substantial tax on your earned income. How about paying some tax on your unearned income?
2. You have talked about the problem of TFSAs. It is far worse than that. Here are some more four letter words to think about:
and finally – have you considered the U.S. estate taxes when you die?
Can you bring your mother to Canada. The “wait time” experienced by your daughter tells the story: people are voting with their feet.
Thanks…. I will think of you while I am lying awake. I pay lots of taxes on my earned and unearned income, in Canada. And i don’t resent it. It is my duty to support my community. But not another country! I am seeing a tax accountant in Feb to talk about estate planning. He seems to think he can do something. My mother doesn’t want to come to Canada. All her friends are are where she lives. We have talked about it for in the future, when she is not well, but I don’t think it would be easy to do then!
Ok: I didn’t really want a long conversation on the “join the blog” page. So as a maintenance issue I’ve moved this comment stream to this page, thanks.
Please carry on from here.
I had a consultation with an immigration lawyer when I wanted to bring my 85 year old mother to Canada from the US about 5 years ago. He told me that the process for bringing in an elderly parent would take years and that she would be rejected if she had any health problems, even something like minor arthritis. I decided not to try and she continued to live in the US.
This, of course, was years before I knew about any IRS issues and I traveled to the US frequently with my Canadian passport. No one ever questioned me at the border even though my passport states I was born in the US.
How imes have changed. 3 years ago someone questioned me at the border with my Canadian passport and a Canadian birthplace, because I said I was visiting my mother in the US. “Is your mother a US citizen? Are you a US citizen…..etc.” That’s when I saw the writing on the wall and started filing US tax forms in preparation for renouncing.
CanuckDoc, thanks for sharing your story. Why can’t you go back to the US if you renounce? The consulate told me there is no problem. I think the year was 1996 when CONgress said NOT letting someone back in is unconstitution, even for tax issues. I think the internet, and especially this site, are better resources than many “professionals”, especially on the broader issues.
About the comments at the border: The lunacy there never ceases to amaze me. Imagine my situation.. I feel like a passed a *disease* to my son. Luckily, there is a cure– renunciation.
Can someone please explain the difference between renounce and relinquish in regards to citizenship.
I have this gut feeling it is not so simple and if you have not been filing you cannot “get out”
S. 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act prescribes a number of ways that one “relinquishes US citizenship”. To renounce US citizenship is one of those prescribed ways. In other words: “renunciation” is a form of “relinquishment”.
Question for you: What makes you think you are a U.S. person?
I am a writer, interested in this issue of U.S. Citizenship renunciation. Can I JOIN this website, so I can have a profile, join conversations, ask questions? I can not figure out how to. Guy Bennett 604 377 6200
@Guy Bennett: a profile is not needed to join the conversation. Please feel free to contribute just as did above. You may wish to review the Archives section to identify topics that are relevant to you.