More Americans Giving Up Their U.S. Citizenship

The Wall Street Journal has picked up on a story about taxpatriatism that I first wrote about . Excerpts:

More Americans Sever U.S. Ties as IRS Gets Tougher

The number of American citizens and green-card holders severing their ties with the U.S. soared in the latter part of , amid looming U.S. tax increases and a more aggressive posture by the Internal Revenue Service toward Americans living overseas.

An Ohio-born entrepreneur, now based in Switzerland, told Dow Jones he is considering turning in his U.S. passport. Mounting U.S. tax and reporting requirements are making potential business partners hesitate to do business with him, he said.

“I still do dearly love the U.S., and renouncing my citizenship is not something I take lightly. But more and more it is seeming like being part of a dysfunctional family,” said the businessman, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution.

“The tax itself is only a small part of the issue,” the Swiss-based entrepreneur said. “It’s the overall regulatory environment.”

A minority of the recent expatriates are U.S. natives who have started a new life overseas. Most are people with family ties outside the U.S.: foreign professionals who acquired a green card while working in the U.S., or people who have received higher education in the U.S.

“Fifteen or 20 years ago there was a big rush to make sure your kids became U.S. citizens, for access to U.S. schools for example,” said Timothy Burns, a tax lawyer at Withers law firm in Hong Kong. “Now we’re seeing just the opposite.”

While the Journal suggests that it is a tighter regulatory environment and the prospect of higher taxes that is causing the bump in taxpatriatism, International Tax Blog made what seemed to me to be a stronger case for the idea that a recent relaxing of regulations and less-onerous tax penalties for moderately wealthy taxpatriates was the real driving factor. I suspect the Journal article’s spin made it more palatable to the anti-regulatory and anti-tax editors who can now use it as a talking point on the editorial page.

In other news…

  • NWTRCC has posted details about its upcoming Spring National Gathering in Tucson including a schedule, business agenda, registration info, and travel hints.
  • Libertarian war tax resister Jose Roldan gives his take on confronting and resolving the conflict of conscience brought about by the federal income tax at Nolan Chart.
  • More on the anti-bullfighting tax resisters from Padrón. Rubén Pérez, a spokesperson for the resisters, says that the city has at the same time claimed that it doesn’t have enough money in the budget to comply with animal welfare laws, but that it does have enough money to organize and fund an annual bullfighting festival. “The city of Padrón has no moral authority to force citizens to pay taxes when it does not comply with animal protection and animal welfare laws.”
  • Cindy Sheehan reminds anti-war taxpayers that you get what you pay for, and there’s no sense in getting shocked when the troops you “support” do what supported troops do. Then she suggests an alternative:

    I haven’t paid my income taxes since my son was killed in Iraq in 2004. I am ashamed that I ever paid taxes to fund the crimes of this Empire. I started paying taxes around and this Empire was embroiled in crimes then as it was before and has been ever since. Get this, in , Exxon, a multi-national billion-dollar crime syndicate paid zero dollars in income taxes!

    Some years since , I have made enough to be required to file, most years my reportable income has been way below the filing level. I rarely even receive letters from the IRS. However, I would rather go to prison than know that one of my dollars went to pay for the murder, torture, false imprisonment, or oppression of one person here or abroad.

    Think of it this way — what if St. Obama himself walked up to you and asked you to write him a check for two-grand so he could have money to buy a water board, or other torture apparatus, or for bullets, or for one square inch of a bomber? Would you do it? Some of you might, but most of you wouldn’t.

    There are many ways to be war tax resisters and there are a handful of us doing it. If more of us who really believed in peaceful conflict resolution did it that would be a far more effective and more courageous way of opposing this Empire than marching in circles.