Some of you have been looking for this information for a loong time. Well here it is. As many you know the data pre 1994 and post 1997 is not necessarily the same and I decided not to include 1995 to 1997 at all due to well known issues with those years.
This new information comes out of very long JCT Report from 1995 that I have not even began to read. The JCT Report also includes the names of those who renounced in 1993 and 1994.
There were only two years that have had more expatriations than 2011. 1970 in the heat of the Vietnam War and 1976 and 1978 during some very nasty tax changes for expats(This was the time Roger Conklin was living in Brazil). Also remember even during years like 1962 and 1963 prior to Vietnam the US had compulsary military service and had had so since the end of World War Two. On the other side of the equation the US still has a lot larger population than it did in 1970.
Assuming that these numbers are correct, they seem like a random variation and I see no trend to interpret. Mandatory military service in the US ended in 1973, yet the high number of renunciations only dropped around 1980. The tax changes in 1976 do not seem to have a significant impact on the numbers, all numbers between 1970 and 1980 are similar.
I don’t really see a trend even in the last four years. An increase from 231 to 1781 is 7.7 times, which sounds like a lot, but the absolute number of renunciations is still very small compared to the number of Americans abroad. Actually, the increase was from 0.004% to 0.03% of the population abroad. I don’t think this has any significance, the media is being sensationalist for calling this a “growing trend”.
This is not related to the post, but I don’t know where else to put it. I decided to dive into the US Code to see if it would be too complicated to replace the citizenship-based taxation with a resident-based system. I found that it’s not too hard, there are 166 instances of the word “citizen” in the relevant titles of the US Code, but in most cases it’s a matter of replacing “citizen or resident” with “resident”. I was thinking of writing a bill myself and discussing it with ACA when they open their office in Washington, DC later this year. Although I’ve never tried it, it’s not uncommon for organizations and even individuals to write bills and send them to congressmen for introduction. Do you think this is a good idea or a waste of time?
I already have a title for the bill: Expatriation Prevention by Assigning Taxation to Residence Instead Of Tying It to Citizenship (Ex-PATRIOTIC) Act. (I’m not implying that Americans abroad are unpatriotic, I’m making fun of Chuck Schumer’s bill.)
8000 Americans are expected to renounce in 2012: Fox
@Shadow Raider, that sounds like a good idea to me. It never hurts to try. I’ve been thinking of posting a controversial comment titled: “Renouncing Patriots”.
@swisspinoy, Go for it. I’d read it. I’ve long since felt that the true patriots–those whose minds and hearts are most in line with the thoughts and visions of the US’ founding fathers–are those individuals who seek freedom, no matter where they find it in the world. We should all hold our allegiance to freedom, life, liberty, and the individuals around us. Not to some nation state government or monarchy.
@shadowRider I think that’s a neat idea. We could put together an entire package needed to transition to residency-based taxation system, making it really easy for them to execute on it. We have the ACA writing the proposal and explaining the benefits of it–1.) residency based taxation, and 2.) only taxing US sourced income for non-residents, and no need to file if you owe nothing (basically, Canada’s model). And then your work can show how easy it actually is to change the laws on the books. Then we just get someone to write up a bill. The lobbyists seem to have more practice writing bills than even Congress these days; anybody know any lobbyists? 😉 jk And then we raise support with individuals and businesses (based on Roger Conklin’s reasoning, this is damaging to US companies even today. I’ve heard from some about this too b/c it raises the costs of sending employees overseas) to show how the currently system is harming businesses and people and raising the costs to the government even of having to maintain this incredibly complex and poorly designed system. Oh and then place the cherry on the top show how Obama would be treated if Kenya treated him based on citizen-based taxation, so average joes can understand how this is a problem too. All together, the Isaac Brock magnum opus! It’s great that Petros created this central place that we can gather. Thank you as always Petros!
Anyone know where Fox got the projected numbers for renunciation for 2012 (or the large number for 2011)? Thanks.
From this quarter, a hearty thank-you for uncovering yet another document of interest. I took a recent half-hearted and, even worse, half-witted quick run at tracking this thing down – from a semi-useless reference that provided only year and government body. Keep up the good work! (PS There are some lists of names in the appendixes.)
This data provides some amusing insights into how State works (or doesn’t). For example, every single CLN issued on 13 February 1995 was for Koreans. They issued almost sixty CLNs that day. Some of them had been waiting for almost a year since their relinquishment. What happened, did the guy responsible for Korea go on sick leave and no one replaced him?
Other fun: on page H-32 they issued a CLN to a guy named Calllvin with three Ls. Then the correct spelling Calvin appears immediately below. There’s also a guy with the first name “Test”.
@Tim, thank you. This report is fascinating.
If the legislators involved in these laws actually read this report, then they were fully aware of the many implications that have been raised here on IBS and elsewhere. It is also clear that the laws were indeed intended to catch the whales and that the legislators were totally indifferent to any collateral damage to minnows, dual citizens and accidental Americans.
I have copied just one of the many other interesting issues below as I believe it could be of particular interest to those who acquired Canadian citzenship decades ago. I assume that by “ministerial act”, they are referring to the request for a documented CLN. Should anyone have the resources to take the issue to a US court, it looks like they may have the constitution on their side….
@swisspinoy and @Michael, I was wrong, it really is too hard to write a bill to change the system to residence-based taxation. The Internal Revenue Code is monstrous, and the use of citizen, resident alien and nonresident alien is everywhere. I can’t even begin to describe it. I thought it was just a matter of replacing “citizen” with “resident”, but it’s much more complicated than that. There are too many details, it’s the result of 100 years of laws upon laws. I’d really have to go through the entire code, undestand every section and write the changes line by line. It’s not infinite but it would take a very long time, maybe more than a year. I think I need other people to help.
I may have found the root of the problem. Maybe it’s not that Congress wants to keep taxing Americans abroad (the revenue is relatively so small that it’s not worth the trouble), but that it takes a lot of work to actually write this bill. I don’t think anyone has actualy tried to write it, not even ACA. Bill Alexander’s proposal in 1992 was just to make the foreign earned income exclusion unlimited, something much more simple. I suppose that many congressmen agree with ending citizenship-based taxation, but they are aware of the complexity involved and don’t want to spend so much time on it. Maybe it would be better for us to actually try to write this thing than to keep contacting representatives or the media. They are not going to write it.
*Tim, just for clarification: Are those the years in which the CLNs were issued or the years in which the expatriating acts occurred? Will a relinquisher like me show up in the 2012 number or in an update to the number from the 1970s?
You will show up for 2012. The numbers from the 1970s are never going to be updated. The list I got them from was published in 1995.
A couple of interesting things I found when scanning the report. First is that they actually listed as an alternative (p.138) excluding individuals with dual nationalities, and those who have lived abroad for more than 10 years…The reports lists several advantages of that, but only one disadvantage, that someone could potentially still expatriate to avoid taxes. Guess that was a much higher priority since thre is no exclusion.
Second is something that I wonder if it could give me hope that maybe my oath of citizenship to Canada as a minor might actually count for something,
“Unders Section 351(b) of the INA act, a person who renounced US citizenship before the age of eighteen years and ‘who within six months after attaining the age of eighteen years asserts his claim to US nationality in such manner as the Secretary of State shall by regulation prescribe, shall not be deemed to have expatriated himself… The relevant regulation is Section 50.20(b) of the Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations which requires that the person take an oath of allegiance to the United Staes before a diplomatic or consular officer in order to retain US citizenship.”
Following, this logic, then because I did NOT assert any claim to US nationality after age 18, and I did not swear an oath of allegiance to the US, then I am not a US citizen.
Does anyone have any insight they might want to share on this issue? I might be grasping at straws, but then, I am desperate to get out from under the yoke of perceived US citizenship.
@Outraged: Unfortunately, I can’t provide any insight. Others have far more fortitude and patience at working their way through “gobbledegook” than I do.
I notice in another thread you talked about needed to alleviate some of your elderly and ill mother’s anxiety. Do you think it would be worth a consultation for her and for you with Steven Mopsick, Michael J Miller or Phil Hodgen?
Based on what both Steven and Michael have posted, I very much doubt IRS is going to go after either you or your mother–but it might help if you had a professional opinion from one of them. Because your mother was a Canadian Justice of the Peace, it may give her more peace of mind if she had a formal legal opinion on this from someone who is officialy qualified to give advice.
I certainly hope you were able to convince her not to file with IRS. I know that was a major concern for you when you began contributing at Brock.
BTW, did you hear anything further from University of Alberta about whether their constitutional law students could take on FATCA and other issues as a project?
@Blaze, yes, I was able to convince my mother that she is Canadian only and she stopped the filing process. (yahoo) She does have more peace of mind since then, but there is always a bit of worry, because we ARE talking about the IRS and who knows how they’re going to intrepret things. However, I think it’s put to bed for now. It was actually some bits and pieces cobbled together from from Steven, Phil, Calgary411 and excerpts from the INA, and CIC website that finally worked the magic!
I did have some further correspondence with the U of A, on June 29th. The Executive Director said she has asked if their students would have time to work on the issue this summer. She said she’d get back to me in a week or so, and hasn’t. I decided to give her two full weeks, and was going to get in touch with her again next week. I don’t want to become a nuisance… But, believe me, I’m not going to let it go unless I get a final answer of ‘no’.
@Outraged: Good news about your mother. I hope you can also try to ease up on some of your anxieties.
I finally heard back from Canadian Civil Liberties Association. I can’t remember if that was during your hiatus from Brock or before. In any case, their Director of Public Safety is herself a “dual” US-Canadian citizen. I have sent her a package of information. She will review it, discuss with colleagues and possibly submit to the Board for consideration for involvement.
Like the lawyer Tiger, Somerfugl and I consulted said, the CCLA director also said it is premature for legal action. But, CCLA may (emphasis on may at this point) be able to try to take some proactive steps. She will get back to me after she returns from vacation later this month.
I would welcome the opportunity to join in your meeting with the University of Alberta when and if that takes place.
Thanks for this very interesting information, Tim.
regarding comments about possible links between Vietnam War and numbers — please bear in mind that no sane person would renounce or relinquish US citizenship before first acquiring Canadian or other non-US naturalization, otherwise one would be a stateless person. The Toronto Anti-Draft Programme and other anti-draft groups specifically warned draft-age immigrants about this in their excellent publication, a copy of which I still have. If I’m in those numbers, my expatriation (which State classified as a self-expatriation via Canadian naturalization and not a renunciation, though in fact I used the words “I renounce” in the form I sent back to the embassy) was late in 1976 and would show up in that year or in 1975 the year of my actual naturalization. Back then you had to be a landed immigrant for five years before you could become a Canadian, and since at that time you could apply for landed status from within Canada and that process itself took several months, as did the citizenship application process, my Canadian naturalization took place more than six years after I entered Canada even though I applied for landed status and then citizenship as soon as I legally could, after arriving on a temporary work permit (I had a job waiting for me, which I’d started angling for right after the Chicago Democratic convention and police riot in August 1968, it was simpler in my case to cross on the work permit and apply for landed status later, also gave me a very solid landed case).
Quite a lot of us draft dodgers came to Canada in 1968 or 1969 right after My Lai, the King and RFK assassinations, the Democratic convention, and the election of “I am not a crook” Nixon all in 1968, so the spikes in 1974-1978 are IMO very consistent with Vietnam. Some women such as my wife came up with spouses (ex-spouse in her case) in 1968 or 1969 for anti-war reasons but for various reasons they didn’t get around to applying for Canadian citizenship until a couple of years later than their spouses for whom it was rather more urgent.
The last spike in that sequence occurs in 1981, which is exactly six years after the US withdrew from Vietnam but only four years after the amnesty declared by Carter. Some draft dodgers went back if they hadn’t renounced or relinquished by then, some like me didn’t and never will on various principles, and some late-comers during the tail end of the war couldn’t have become Canadians until 1980 at the very earliest, more likely 1981. So I think the interpretation fits in the aggregate, though obviously not in every case. The 1981 figure hasn’t been matched or exceeded until 2010, when one might argue that FATCA and related issues are the prime driver for the latest spike. US military and foreign policy actions right now aren’t exactly admirable, but they aren’t any different really from what the US has been doing steadily since the 1980s and aren’t as immediately related to expatriations as they were in Vietnam when a lot more young men were affected than has been the case even in Iraq (and those men were volunteers or reservists and not unwilling draftees as in Vietnam).
For what it’s worth, that’s my interpretation of the trends in the numbers. Assuming of course the numbers are accurate …