Americans No More

Us-passportMany people would like to be American citizens, legally becoming “members” of the United States. However, last year a record number (more than in any other year) of Americans renounced (gave up; ended) their American citizenship.

About 3,000 people last year renounced their American citizenship, up sharply (very much and suddenly) from about 500 each year in recent years. Why the spike (sudden rise)? It’s because it’s getting more expensive and difficult to be an American, especially one living abroad (in another country).

Politicians (people with elected government jobs) are always promising Americans before elections that they will close tax loopholes, weak points or “holes” in the tax laws that allow people, especially rich people, to avoid paying taxes. That’s what the government tried to do with people taking their money abroad.

In 2008 and 2010, the government passed laws that require foreign banks and other institutions (businesses) that hold American money to comply with (follow) new laws. The purpose of the laws was to prevent (not allow) Americans from hiding money in overseas (foreign) bank accounts or investments, and thereby (as a result) avoid paying taxes on that money. These new laws, including the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act of 2010, affected all banks and other businesses accepting American money. The trouble was, many banks and financial institutions decided that the requirements for compliance were too much trouble. They started closing the accounts of many Americans, deciding that it wasn’t worth the hassle (trouble).

Added to this are the higher tax rates on rich Americans since President Obama has been in office (in the job as president). Unlike many other countries, if you are an American citizen, no matter where you live, you must pay U.S. taxes. This includes people who have lived outside of the U.S. for 20 or even 50 years. In the eyes of the American tax system, you’re still an American and must pay American taxes, even if none of your earnings (how much money you get from a job or other business) are made on American soil (in the U.S.).

With the increased difficulty of getting financial services abroad and higher tax rates, more Americans than ever who live abroad are opting (choosing) to stop being Americans. Government officials say that while this is an unintended consequence (unexpected and unwanted result) of recent new laws and regulations (rules), those laws and regulations are stopping tax cheats (people who successfully avoid paying taxes they owe).

If you were in a similar situation in your country, would you renounce your citizenship? If not, are there any circumstances under which you’d do so?

– Lucy

Photo Credit: US Passport from Wikipedia

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Americans No More

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy

    I am not sure about that.. Reading the article, it this case it almost looks like you are forced/pushed doing so given the circumstances.
    The banks refusing to open a bank account after the new legislation.

    I do not think it would be that hard for me renouncing my citizenship. That does not mean I do not love my country (Italy).
    Frankly I do not know. At the moment I do not even have a passport and I am not leaving anytime soon.

    Living along the border I visit Switzerland every couple of weeks, but not to bring money to a secret bank account.
    Just to get gas for my car because over there it is cheaper.

    Sometimes they do get someone with bags full of money trying to cross the border.


  2. emiliano says:

    Yes, of course, I like my country but I don´t care to be French, English, Italian, or which ever other nationality where I could be
    well situated having a nice air round me.
    In fact I don´t like what is happening now in Spain, so if I could go I will be off from here tomorrow morning if it would be possible.
    Italy of France even England it is a good place to be despite life it is expensive but if possible I would like warm temperature, blue
    sky and sun shining.

    Yes, usually here in Spain we have all this and that´s the reason I like the country but not to the point of wanting to be Spanish
    over all, not at all.
    I fact I consider myself like a world citizen that could live everywhere.

    Thank you Lucy, a good topic to discuss.


  3. Denis says:

    Good evening,
    I share emiliano thoughts over the idea to be considered ourselves as a world citizen,
    It’s pretty much easier for EU residents for sure, as I was born and grew up in Crimea, as you might probably heard, the region was annexed by Russia recently, so nevertheless,
    even being a part of Ukraine we have had an opportunity to travel throughout the CIS(sorta Union of post-Soviet countries), the cool thing is that it could have been even easier because you can get by without knowledge of local languages,
    as Russian is understandable over there.
    Back to the topic, we’re as a Crimean residents voted in favor of joining RF, so that means we’re literally renounced from being a part of Ukraine.
    Here is a freaking long waiting lists by occasion of passport interchange, just imagine as if 2 million would love to get rid off previous one, hope it’s worth the hassle 😀

  4. Wang Luu says:

    It is hard to opt for, Lucy!

    I think the thoughts of renouncing my citizenship would never cross my mind even sometimes I feel it’s hard to bear the rise of cost of living here day by day.

    Bluntly say, “my country” is one of the meaning sounds in the world beside the sound of family 🙂

    However, on the other hand, it seems to be insensible paying the taxation monthly while none of your earnings isn’t made on the that country soil.

    Many of mine American friends keep complaining about those unwanted regulations. They sort of feel like being milked by the US government as reluctantly

    funding the bottomless tax system.

    I found it’s funny as knowing there are people want to get rid of the citizenship while others willingly want to be tied into it 🙂 It is how life goes on, I might say

    People sometimes have to put up with what they don’t want involving in but they must endure it, kind of like for their honor-bound 🙂

    Those people are still having the dream of America which is nice to…but if they knew there are people would do the opposite way, they would think twice I guess

    Thank for your aforementioned info, Lucy

    Have a good day all 🙂

  5. emiliano says:

    Welcome Denis, this is your site to learn English.

    Of course I am aware of the new situation of Crimea being now annexed by Russia, it has been in oll the news reports
    of the Spanish country and what I can say to you and to the Ukrainen people, not knowing anything about the subject,
    it is to have the joining in peace if that is what Crimea people want as a fight don´t resolve anything, only pain and destruction
    it is the consequences of this kind of quarrels.

    In fact my country it is “my house, my family, my work, and my friends” and I could get everything every land that could
    admited me if it would be necessary now, before or in future.
    My daughter Laura is now in Demmark, and I think she is going to be in Copenhaguen for long. My other daughter Eva
    is in Canarias Islands since 14 years already, so their place in the world is not Madrid for the moment, in future who
    If my wife would be healthy it is possible we could be living in other place out of Madrid or Spain, or not? as we have
    here our dear friends (in fact the only thing that matters family, family is out, and friends) being retired already and without
    worries about work I don´t care where I live having enough money to survive, but not having the family friends are fundamental
    in our life so we remain in the big City against my will.

    My best dear Denis and good luck in future.


  6. Denis says:

    I think it’s great to have your family members to be spreed all over the world because there must be many interesting things to share with each other later on?
    i can understand your situation, being in charge for your relatives reducing the chances to leave, get lost as if you a naughty kid.
    But as for myself, I’m young and hungry for new acquaintances, knowledge and not emm tied or attached to place where i happened to born, and that makes me portray myself somewhere overseas in the foreseeable future.
    I’l definitely won’t budge with my current language proficiency, i’d say, scanty knowledge relatively eslpod veterans 🙂

  7. Betty says:

    Hello to everyone!

    Thank you Dear Lucy.

    I have learned that USA tax law requires their citizens to pay tax on their income worldwide. I used to think it doesn’t work. Rich people are not going to give up their money so easily. They must have their methods to work round the US tax law, otherwise they would not have maintained their wealth.

    The US government should rethink their way of collecting money. Collecting tax from people who are living abroad or from local people who have earnings in overseas must be very difficult, I mean not cost effective.

    Yes, I would simply give up my US passport if I am rich and living abroad, and the US government wants to make me handover my hard earned money in foreign soil. Especially if I were born in US, I could apply for a US passport in future if I wanted to.

    One of the reasons I am opposed to the US tax system is, I believe that money earned in one country should be spent mostly on that country. Otherwise it is not fair to the local economy.

    This is a very good topic for discussion, Lucy, thank you.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  8. Betty says:

    Sorry, I mean on foreign soil, not ‘in’ foreign soil.

    Lucy you probably couldn’t help laughing if you had read my post slowly and carefully.

    The chance is, you must have read so fast that you wouldn’t notice my mistake.


  9. Tania says:

    Hi! I don’t know too many things on this topic.
    But I know that if you are in trouble in other country and say “I am American citizen”, all “doors” are opened and you are recovered by the U.S. Government.
    All has a price. The wealth is made with a native ability making money from everything using people or avoiding the law.
    I take all money, I don’t care of people who work for me or for my country.
    A famous thief said that there was a fool at every corner of the street.
    You have just to profit by them.

  10. Tania says:

    Hi! At the end of the last week there was the 2014 world figure skating championship in Japan.
    I was busy watching this wonderful , magic show on ice.
    A Russian girl skated on the music from the American musical “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. She was a very charming cat.
    Many others skated on the music from “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Thank you, our dear teachers, for that you introduce us in the magic world of the American musicals.

    Best wishes,


  11. Tania says:

    Hi, Dan!
    Something odd is happening. It is displayed the same number of users of our blog, but just few want to communicate with us.
    I don’t know why. As I don’t speak English in my country, even some days if I don’t write in English I feel that I forget to write,
    I forget the words and must look up my dictionary for every word.
    And all topics are very interesting.
    I feel that I have started to see the world with other eyes.
    Anyway, America is another world for many of us.

  12. Tania says:

    Hi! Dan, I don’t know the phrase “the spider sense”.
    I think we say “the third sense”. You can understand, feel even if you don’t see.

  13. Den says:

    It would be fun if Chinese or Indian government did the same. They would have got so much money all over the world. And the most of them would have been from the US. 🙂
    Changing a good Country with a high developed society, economics etc on a poor Country is not an option for me. Thus it depends on what citizenships do you own and which one you want to get rid of.
    I have only one citizenship so far. But if I get another one and move I’m going to renounce former citizenship in case of similar regulations.

    P.S. Denis, Sorry if my Country did something wrong to you and your people. It’s really hard to tell whether it was for good or for bad.

Comments are closed.