Number of Americans Renouncing Citizenship Rises a Whopping 221 Percent, Reaches Record High
Emily Hulsey Emily Hulsey
On February 10, 2014 http://IJReview.com
Every year, a small number of Americans choose to renounce their citizenship. In 2012, that number was 932. In 2013? 2,999. That’s a 221 percent increase and a new record, which was previously set at 1,781 in 2011.
Those are small numbers, but their unprecedented increase is concerning. What’s causing them, however, is not quite as easy to measure:
Under U.S. tax law, it is not relevant why someone expatriates. Whether the expatriation was motivated by tax avoidance or something else used to matter, but the law was changed in 2004.
Costly double taxes are a common reason that expatriates renounce their citizenship. Others simply no longer have a need for a U.S. passport once they have established their lives in another country. What’s even more important, however, is why those Americans left the U.S. in the first place. In most cases, the explanation is opportunity; there is less opportunity here and/or more opportunity in a different country.
It really isn’t too surprising, then, that so many Americans who have left the U.S. don’t want to come back. The 2008 economic collapse (and our government’s subsequent handling of it) has created an America lacking in opportunity: fewer jobs, a less competitive education system, less affordable health care. Only when we become a land of opportunity again will we see our citizenship renouncement rate return to a healthier level.