In 2011, close to 1,800 people renounced their citizenship from the United States, according to the IRS. The IRS began keeping these statistics in 1998 and 2011 was the largest amount to renounce so far. That amount was also more than 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined. A large chunk of those who renounced their citizenship live abroad. The United States is one of a few countries to tax citizens who live abroad, which totals 6.3 million citizens. The only method of escaping the tax filing process is to renounce citizenship completely. Even American citizens who are married to citizens of another country and live in that other country must file taxes with the United States.
It has been reported by lawyers that a major reason people renounce is banking.
“I hear about banking problems again and again and again,” says Phil Hodgen. Hodgen is an attorney who helps people expatriate. “The new rules for reporting present a huge administrative burden. It’s made Americans too expensive to keep.”
“They’re going to drop Americans like hot potatoes,” Francisca Mordi says. Mordi is the vice president and senior tax counsel for the American Bankers Association. “The foreign banks are upset enough about the regulations that they’re saying they just won’t keep American customers, and it’s giving (Americans living abroad) a lot of sleepless nights.”
In a report released in December, Nina Olson, the U.S. taxpayer advocate for the IRS, said the following:
“The complexity of international tax law, combined with the administrative burden placed on these taxpayers, creates an environment where taxpayers who are trying their best to comply simply cannot,” the report states. “For some, this means paying more U.S. tax than is legally required, while others may be subject to steep civil and criminal penalties. For some U.S. taxpayers abroad, the tax requirements are so confusing and the compliance burden so great that they give up their U.S. citizenship.”