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US expats continue to give up passports, green cards

10 May 2016

US expats continue to give up passports, green cards

According to Treasury Department statistics published in the Federal Register, another 1,158 US taxpayers gave up their passports or their green cards in the first quarter of 2016, in line with the 1,058 expatriations in the final quarter of last year, reports Tax News.

As pointed out by international tax lawyer Andrew Mitchel, "only a few years ago, we would have been surprised by such a large quarterly number. Now having over 1,000 published expatriates per quarter appears to be the new normal."

The number of individuals giving up their citizenship has been notably greater in the last three years. In 2015, a record 4,279 US taxpayers gave up their passports or their green cards – over 25 percent more than the previous record of 3,415 set in 2014. The number in 2013 was 2,999, and the highest level in the years before that was 1,781 in 2011.

The acceleration in the number of individuals giving up their citizenship has coincided with increased actions by Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service to trace American undeclared assets and income held abroad, particularly by enforcing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the requirement to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.

According to representative bodies, Americans living abroad are becoming increasingly aware of their US tax reporting obligations. In particular, US citizens are finding it more difficult to bank in foreign territories as a result of FATCA.

Treasury is required by statute to publish a quarterly list including the name of each individual who has lost or renounced US citizenship during the period. For the purposes of this listing, long-term residents or green card holders are treated as if they were citizens of the US who lost citizenship.

 

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