Over on the International Tax Blog, it was reported that 1997 had more Americans renouncing their citizenship than in 2011 (1,812 versus 1,781). I was very skeptical of this number and it was Tim who finally gave me the information needed to solve this riddle. He linked to a GOA report that mentioned in passing what happened. First, the IRS keeps a CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality) database. (that would be an interesting FOI request). 1994 was the last year the IRS was tracking CLNs by year. By the time they were required to track this again (the 1996 HIPAA law), they couldn’t distinguish the data from 1995, 1996 and 1997. The GAO report states that they reported these renunciations in a group.
Thus, each of those three years had, on average, 604 renunciations, making 2011 the largest number of American renunciations in history. As you can see from the graph below, the numbers now look “correct” and there is, indeed, a sharp upswing in the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship.
I have expanded a bit on this explanation at the Overseas Exile blog.
@great work, OSE! When I read something about expatriation numbers I often recommend your blog, if I can.
Good to get the numbers right, as stats are fraught with opportunities to manipulate, or be misunderstood by the drive by reader. Thanks for doing this work.
Andrew Mitchel of the International Tax Blog now has an interesting update about this: http://intltax.typepad.com/intltax_blog/2012/06/update-on-1997-expatriation-data.html
He presents even more data, including an updated report with better numbers.
Just wait until 2012’s figures come in. And then 2013’s and 2014’s.
And Obama wants to reach out to ex-pats for votes?
@Joe Expat: It will be huge only if Consulates actually let people make appointments to renounce.
I agree. There certainly appears to be a degree of passive resistance on Uncle Sam’s part. Can’t let all the slaves escape the plantation at once.
@Joe, I’m not sure it is ‘passive’ on Uncle Sam’s part, but perhaps ‘covert’?
IBS documentation of the renunciations has been a fantastic idea. US citizenship is a significant jeopardy to many abroad and our families. @Blaze is right, if it wasn’t for the consulates who drag out the appointments, (plus the even larger barrier of the 5yr. compliance challenge) there would have been more showing by now.
For every slave that escapes, how many are trying to see how they can successfully do the same, and weighing their options?