The Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen to Expatriate for Q4 2016 has been placed on public inspection for printing in tomorrow’s Federal Register, ten days later than required by law. The IRS gave 2,365 names in this list, making it the largest they’ve ever published. We had a total of 5,411 published expatriates in 2016 (1,158 in Q1, 509 in Q2, and 1,379 in Q3). That’s slightly larger than the 5,321 federal additions to the “Renounced U.S. Citizenship” category in the FBI’s NICS gun control database last year. However, NICS only includes 8 USC § 1481(a)(5) renunciants, whereas the Federal Register is supposed to include relinquishers under other paragraphs of 1481(a) as well.
How many non-renunciant relinquishers are there? We’re not sure. In January, the State Department published updated Paperwork Reduction Act estimates stating that about 600 people per year file Form DS-4079, “Request for Determination of Possible Loss of United States Citizenship”. After the Foreign Affairs Manual update two years ago, DS-4079 is no longer used for renunciation cases, so that gives a lower bound on the number of 1481(1) to (4) relinquishers. The tens of thousands of people who abandon green cards each year definitely aren’t in the IRS list either, even though it misleadingly claims that “[f]or purposes of this listing, long-term residents, as defined in section 877(e)(2), are treated as if they were citizens of the United States who lost citizenship”.
The list is not only incomplete, but slow to include names; for example, Rachel Heller, who renounced all the way back in November 2015, didn’t show up until this quarter. Brockers who gave up citizenship as recently as August of last year did get their names published, but Japanese politician Kimi Onoda, who renounced in October 2016, is not included in the current list. In other words, we are not yet seeing the impact of the U.S. election results. The sudden growth in the list has some other cause.