By Henry ChuOctober 7, 2013, 7:00 a.m.
COLOGNE, Germany — Genevieve Besser knows that many people would kill to have what she’s thinking of giving up. It’s been her birthright for 52 years, something she’s cherished and taken pride in.
But being a U.S. citizen, she says, now seems more a penalty than a privilege. For 25 years, the New York native has lived here in western Germany with her German husband, whom she met when he was a student in the U.S. and whom she willingly, if warily, followed back to his homeland.
“I said we’ll go, we’ll try it, but we have to keep my American citizenship and the kids have to have American citizenship,” says Besser, a onetime member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, adding bitterly, “and now I’m thinking of renouncing it.”
A good article in the LA Times, with predictably some Homelanders commenting in a very ignorant manner. I would encourage Brockers to comment and raise the bar in the discussion.
It is a good article. Henry Chu gets it. I’ve come to the conclusion that those who don’t simply don’t want to.
A very good article and it amazes me that just having the world “taxes” in it negates everything else for Homelanders. The article clearly states that these people are being denied services, which is the primary reason for renouncing, and not that they oppose – or even owe – the US any tax at all.
Someone replied to a commenter called NavyDad that his “envy” was showing and I think that is more to the point than any so-called patriotism or nationalism at work. Homelanders “love” their country mostly because they are trapped there. And that calls into question the whole idea of citizenship as a choice or a two way contract with the state. Being born into something is not a matter of choice and being unable to shed a relationship for another one that suits better is called being held hostage at best and being a slave at worst.
America’s loss is another country’s gain.
How many times can this happen without having an effect. Remember the Americans that leave tend to be better educated, more cultured, and earning more money because of the poor performance of the greenback.
For Homelanders the more money is more than cancelled out by higher cost of living abroad, and taxes so don’t get too excited.
I have tried really hard to stop saying anything to those who have never lived outside the U.S.A. Sorry but, they just don’t want to get it. They have been taught from birth they are exceptional and even if no other nation in the whole world taxed based on citizenship “except” for them they’d still say it was right. Never mind the complications, implications or hardships on anyone else.
I did comment there but, I really just don’t care what they think anymore. “Renounce and shut up” is about as intelligent as they get. So I will shut up talking to them and turn my efforts to speaking with intelligent people from other nations not plagued by such narrow minded views. They will never change. They believe anyone who used to live there but, doesn’t now is “rich” They assume this no matter what is happening and they absolutely despise expats.
It’s interesting that that Henry Chu (who appears to be a US citizen) of the LA Times is the author of this article. He often appears on the BBC (Dateline London), and I assume he’s the European correspondent for the LA Times. He must spend a great deal of time here, if not living here. He may therefore be very familiar with the problems of being a US expat and US tax, in which case, it’s not a Homelander media based journalist writing an article on FATCA, but one of us or someone with close friends familiar with the situation. Perhaps the BBC article on US expats giving up their passports may have lead to this article. Whatever, more (excellent) articles, please.
Thanks for the backgrounder on Henry Chu. When people learn the truth they will be sympathetic. If they aren’t, then they don’t know the truth. Those who choose to live in a bubble of their own creation will have the same perspective on everything else in the world.
I fully understand and appreciate the feelings of not wanting to engage in discussions with Homelanders who never lived outside the USA and don’t get it. I feel just tired and exhausted by their ignorance. I have to remind myself to push on and make articulate and fact based comments to try to educate others that read the article. It is tiring to say the least.
I agree. It is more about educating the other readers, than it is about convincing the close-minded. And yes it is VERY tiring!!
@Atticusincanada, posting is politics. It is a strategy. I don’t post to convert trolls. Rather, I hunt them down. I take their attacks, twist them around and send them back with a sledgehammer. Trolls have often complained to the mods that my attacks against them are abusive and yet for the mods I’m invincible (it took me about 10 forum bannings to learn how to win the favor of the mods in organized group attacks)!
An example is here, where I post as “The Judge”. The nickname “The Judge” was given to me by a Saudi Arab since I resisted the online abuse of Israeli Internet warriors.
Notice in the last few comments how a pro-FATCA troll stopped posting since I was beginning to get them banned.
Any discussion has a large variety of different individuals and the majority generally consists of reasonable people who can be influenced. I post to influence/educate the reasonable majority while discrediting the extremes. It’s all politics.
“But Stack denies that the law’s provisions are particularly burdensome and has dismissed complaints from Americans abroad about the unexpected fallout as “myths.”
Wow, just wow.
There isn’t much I can really say in regards to the commentary on that particular LA Times article, except to say that it’s just the same old, exceptionalist bullshit.
I think it is beneath me to bother to make a response there.
Robert Stack made the mother of all mistakes in his Myth versus Fact piece.
First, by dismissing the adverse impact, he has shown Treasury’s disregard to the plight being caused to Americans abroad due to US government policy.
Secondly, he has also damaged Treasury’s position as an authority in voicing credible opinions on expat tax issues. We will be seeing a wave of such articles hitting the press which will strongly reinforce this point.
Thirdly and finally, he has further underscored the point that a US passport or Green Card is a growing and legitimate economic and human threat for those abroad who hold them.
You’re right about Treasury’s credibility here. There has been a recent spate of articles that contradict his claims, probably much to his frustration if he’s still paying attention. Perhaps ACA’s letter will remind him.
@bubblebustin, it is the same as with the Federal Register. No matter how inaccurate it is, most people will still believe it since they want to trust the US government. Thus, Stack will win in the eyes of most Americans no matter what he says. He could claim that the IRS collected $5 billion on Mars since expats are tax cheats, and most Americans would believe it.
@CHF Forever, good points. The choice by Treasury to release that list is a tacit acknowledgement of a problem (as defined from their point of view). The list was meant to address some problems they have identified (not as we define them). Dead silence and refusal to comment or engage is the method they more commonly chose to employ in the face of our complaints. See the clip of Carolyn Maloney questioning previous Treasury Secretary Geithner on reports of those abroad being refused banking services (see before and after 4:10 here http://maloney.house.gov/video/rep-maloney-questions-sec-tim-geithner). That was back in the spring of 2012 – a year and a half ago. He does not deny that there is a problem then. The problem is only getting worse – so glaring, that I think they were forced to speak to it – even if with the usual disingenuous bs.
And the more articles that flag the NON-US spouse issue, the better – since both the other home governments and the US have very carefully refrained from acknowledging that the IRS and Treasury have no claim to asset and account information based merely on marriage or relationship to a ‘US taxable person’. Those non-US spouses and family are not US persons, and have a clear claim on the protection of their non-US government. It would be absurd to say that all those similarly compromised should simply refrain from holding any joint accounts, mortgages, savings, etc. with their spouse or other family members. It also compromises the non-US persons living in their own country from any normal future planning for death and disability – because merely naming the ‘US taxable person’ in a Power of Attorney for future contingency planning is enough to result in an FBAR taint of their current non-US assets. It is absurd that the estate or assets of a NON-US person living outside the US, with absolutely no US connection should become transformed into an asset reportable and penalizable by the US simply because someone with a long ago US birthplace or parent is named as a POA or executor – either acting in the present, or as a contingency plan. Sophie in’t Veld has raised the point of the impact on non-US persons at the EU http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=3731046&type=member&item=244458354&commentID=-1&qid=9d545f2b-c907-474d-8fe7-349a311b4855&goback=.gmp_3731046 . Here is a letter to her from FAWCO on this specific point http://www.fawco.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=309&Itemid=200394. (I note though that I emphatically cannot agree with FAWCOs end recommendation that the EU fight should be to work to solve the problems posed by FATCA in that respect rather than work for its repeal. The underlying CBT and US extraterritorial assumptions and aggression represented by FATCA make it fatally flawed).
And another whip to continue to employ is that if the US is so adamant that we are just as much ‘US taxable persons’ as US residents, then the US had better explain why they will tax the children born and living abroad – based merely on US parentage, but refuse to ensure the wellbeing of those children by allowing them to hold untaxed education savings like our Canadian RESPs, or give them the benefit of US tax credits and policy designed to encourage the post secondary training of US resident children. Which is incredibly stupid, because the US could only stand to benefit if any of those children eventually chose to relocate to the US – having had the cost of their education and training entirely borne by non-US countries and non-US systems. A clear instance of a free lunch for the US.
The US is happy to burden our ‘US taxable’ dual children abroad with a share of the US debt, but offers even less of the imaginary benefits than we ‘enjoy’. Yet, they will offer those benefits to US residents that aren’t even citizens.
The specific number of renunciants that the Federal Register shows in any period are not what’s really significant at this time, it’s the last period’s count in relation to other periods that’s getting the press and public’s attention. It’s interesting that the homelanders choose to ignore the significance of the increase in renunciations by comparing immigration numbers against the number of renunciations, as if to say there’re still a greater number of people who find the US attractive – like somehow that dismisses what’s going on here.
FATCA is causing renunciations, no doubt, not only because it’s an increase in surveillance by the USG but also because it doubles as an educational outreach program (intended or not) causing a greater number of people to learn about their CBT obligations for the first time. FATCA throws the baby out with the bathwater, and if US immigration numbers don’t eventually appear to be affected by it, it might only be because the demographics of the immigrant will be allowed to change in order to compensate for it.
@Calgary411 has a comment here….
Where to put this LA Times Letter to the Editor (be the first to comment): http://www.latimes.com/opinion/letters/la-le-expat-tax-issues-20131017,0,6436417.story
Where to begin to explain? I commented, but it doesn’t (yet?) show.