Obama was going to restore respect for the United States: Instead people, who used to love America, are starting to hate the United States

Remember when Obama was elected how everyone who voted for him was so happy that he was going to restore respect for the United States?  Now there are people like me who have had to relinquish our citizenship because of FBAR, FATCA and extra-territorial taxation.  There is another group of equally persecuted people, the immigrants living in the United States who did not know about FBAR and unwittingly committed violations, and now the Obama adminstration is criminalizing their behavior.  At the American Thinker, an Indian Expat, who is apprently originally from India, lived and worked in the United States for a time, and is now back in India, responded to my article, “FATCA:  A ticking time bomb for the economy”:

Mr. Dunn, you are my new hero for saving America from its stupidity. Also in the process defending innocent mistakes of honest hard working expats. We don’t mind taxes, if we owe any taxes. But FATCA and FBAR destroying our lives and businesses. Now we are toxic business partners. Even our own friends and family don’t want to do business with us. How can we subject to them to such harsh US regulations and intense disclosures, since they never even visited the USA in their lives.

In the remote area I live (or even in India), it is impossible to find a tax expert who can guide us away from landmines such as FBAR. Most small businessmen make less than 10K a year. How can they afford a US tax expert? US$ 10K is lot of money in India, where per capital income is under US$ 1000 and if a family makes over US$250 a year, they are above poverty line.

This IRS policy and threat of harsh penalties turned US loving citizens into people who hate the USA. I was strong supporter of Obama in the 2008 and contributed small amount. But Obama administration now treating me like a criminal, just because I transferred US$70K in 2009 I saved in the USA to fund university education of my kids in India.

No administration in history turned biggest supporters of the USA (i.e. US citizens living in foreign lands) into opponents. Obama administration using IRS as tool to achieve its means in many areas such as Health care, Banking. I used to fondly talk about greatness of the USA and fairness of the people and democracy. Now how can I say the same, when the same fair people treat me like a criminal just because I don’t know that I need to file FBAR?

Up to couple of years back, even the US tax experts don’t know about FBARs, how can a person living in a remote part of India know about FBAR? My family with two children don’t need to pay any taxes, if our income is below US$20K. In fact, I learned that I can gat tax credit. The IRS actively discouraged in late 1990s to not file taxes, if income is below some amount and don’t own any taxes. Now they are criminalizing for their policy

I can’t understand Obama administration is watching with smiles on their faces calling us (innocent expats) tax cheats for so many years (since 2009 OVDP). I am glad, I was living in remote part of India and didn’t know about FBAR until few days back. If had known in 2009, it would have ruined my life. How sadistic Obama administration can be?

I responded:

The IRS treatment of immigrants to the US, particularly those from the Indian expat community, has indeed been a tragedy.  As you said, you were pro-American until the IRS unjustly criminalized certain innocent activities–in your case, transferring to your children enough funds for their schooling.  What could be more innocent and indeed laudable than to pay for your children’s education? And now the Obama administration has made this into a crime?  It’s like a bad dream.

Why should the US, the richest country in the world, go after the savings of Indians, who earn so much less and whose standard of living is only recently begun to improve?  It makes the United States look like a pig.

But if it is a consolation, I have decided not to comply with FBAR, and though the IRS may go after my savings, the Canadian government has said that they will not enforce FBAR penalties.  So now I live in fear too, because I’ve made a public statement that yes, I know about FBAR, but that I’m not planning to file and thus submit my Canadian wife to the tyranny of the most corrupt government on planet earth.

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Dialogue with brave Jim_in_Houston

Brian Garst has written a fine article on how certain government policies, including FATCA, are driving foreign capital away.  I responded with a comment.  Garst had a very nice reply.  But then, a certain Jim_in_Houston accused me of cowardice for relinquishing my US citizenship to escape the oppressive burden of IRS regulations.  Since this is not an atypical response that those who are relinquishing their US citizenship will face, I decided to try to counter his bigotry with reasoned responses.  But his recalcitrance in accepting that my response was anything but laziness and cowardice continued unabated.  Normally, it is necessary to simply to walk away from people when they are this stubborn, but I found that it gave me an occasion to write more explicitly about American tyranny, not so much for brave Jim_in_Houstan’s benefit, but perhaps for the benefit some less stubborn readers who might occasion upon the correspondence.  But not only so, but to buttress my fellow expatriates who are feeling very discouraged that the IRS is forcing them to renounce.  Conversations like this do not shake our resolve but confirm the necessity of our decision.  If even right-wingers like brave Jim_in_Houston are clueless, people who are opposed to the destructiveness of the Obama adminstration, then we have no hope whatsoever that a right-wing president or a right-wing Congress would bring us relief.  The only choice is to leave this country and its arrogant people with as little regret as possible, knowing that the laws of economic reality, as explained by Mises and other true economists, will soon impoverish that entire nation.

I wrote (as P.W. Dunn):

Thanks Brian for this excellent article. Now I would like to point out a couple things from the stand point of those of us Americans (and former Americans who like myself have recently renounced or relinquished our citizenship). (1) You wrote: “Members were concerned about the human rights implications for foreigner depositors, particularly from Latin America, who face kidnapping and extortion threats back home, but most importantly the capital flight this concern would cause should the rule pass.” Now I want to point out that from our point of view, the reason why our countries should not become FATCA compliant is that we do not want to face “extortion” from the IRS, forcing us to face hefty FBAR fines. There is a very large expat community in the world, that is scared out of its wits now by what the United States is doing. (2) In my article at the American Thinker, “FATCA: a ticking time bomb for the economy” I bring out this human dimension of a very angry and scared expat community. You say nothing about it here. But I suggest you speak to people like me who have relinquished our American citizenship in the last year. We are very angry, angry, angry. I gave up my birthright this year, so I would not have to face the extortionate fines of FBAR. Some of us are the most anti-American folks out there now, telling all our friends to stop investing in the United States and to make this government pay for its arrogance. https://righteousinvestor.com/2011/11/28/fatca-a-t…

Brian Garst wrote:

Thank you P. W. With regard to (1), that statement was actually describing the non-resident alien deposit reporting regulation from the IRS. While the objections are similar as those to FATCA on principle, there are differences in the arguments against it.

But I’m glad you raised the issue of the impact FATCA has on the ex-pat community. I only chose not to bring it up here for the sake of brevity, but it is certainly one of the major problems the legislation. We’ve heard from a number of folks who already have been dropped from their institutions over this legislation. But I know groups like ACA are doing an excellent job of making the case for its impact on Americans living abroad.

P. W. Dunn wrote:

It’s very kind of you to respond. As I said, your article is excellent and I appreciate your willingness to respond to the issues facing American citizens abroad.

As for point (1), the differences are not that significant. I consider myself an economic refugee in Canada, since the United States has threatened me with imprisonment and substantial fines of up to 300% of my wealth if I do not comply with FBAR. But this is something that I refuse to do on many grounds: I will not expose my Canadian wife to this draconian law and the possibility that her wealth could be stolen by the IRS. I will not under any circumstances ever reveal any of my account information to the IRS, because it would expose her to the capricious confiscatory programs of the IRS. I will die first. Besides, it is a violation of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th amendments of the Constitution of the United States.

I wish to mention further that the Human Rights Code in Canada where I live does not permit discrimination on the basis of citizenship: so that the Canadian banks which are currently gearing up to implement FATCA will face human rights lawsuits. The expat community in Canada is currently in the process of organizing. We are not going to sit here and allow our rights under the Human Rights Code in Canada be stripped from us by a law that was made in the United States where we have no representation. The Canadian banks may think that they have the right to insist that people reveal their citizenship to them, but the fact is that the code does not even permit us to ask a legal Canadian resident where they were born, or what their citizenship is, in a job interview (unless the job requires Canadian citizenship–then “Are you Canadian?”, not –“What is your citizenship?”). So FATCA cannot be implemented in Canada under any circumstances, except if the Federal and each of the provincial governments severely curtail their Human Rights Codes to permit this kind of discrimination. Thus, I predict, that within a few months, the banks will tell the Yanks that there is no possibility of implementing FATCA.

Many other countries will do the same. And if the US doesn’t back down from FATCA, $14 trillion or more in foreign investment will leave the United States; then printed US dollars will start pouring back into the US and their will be the mother of all hyperinflations. The date is January 1, 2014. The hyperinflation will probably happen in any case, but now you have my prediction for when it will happen.

Jim_in_Houston wrote:
Sorry, but I think you took the cowards way out by giving up your citizenship and not joining the fight to shake off the yoke of oppression we are now under with this administration. I for one will stay here and fight them to my last breath.

P. W. Dunn wrote:
Mr. Jim in Houston:

Thanks for this suggestion. When I left the United States in 1986, Ronald Reagan was president. I wanted to study abroad. So first I studied in Vancouver Canada, then I moved to England and studied at Cambridge, then I went to Switzerland and studied there. Now when I was in Vancouver I met a Canadian girl, and I’ve been married to her ever since. When I finished my studies in Switzerland, her family took us in, she started working for them, and now, well, it just turned out that we’ve stayed here in Ontario. So I haven’t lived in the United States since 1986. Now, I relinquished my citizenship on February 28, 2011, because of the Obama administration’s application of the FBAR law made me into a criminal, because there is no way that I will waive my 4th and 5th amendment rights and hand over my bank account information to the United States treasury. I live in Canada–my normal accounts out of which I conduct my daily affairs have become a felony.

Instead of upbraiding me for cowardice, you should be ashamed that your country is making criminals out of law abiding citizens–about 5-6 million Americans live abroad. You should be apologizing to me that I had to give up my birthright.

Since you don’t seem to know much about the plight of American citizens abroad, I suggest you could start by reading the following article that I wrote (with Monty Pelerin) for the American Thinker:
https://righteousinvestor.com/2011/11/15/when-gove…

If you have any wealth at all, I’m not sure you would be willing to put up with its confiscation either. A simple trip to the US Consulate in Toronto, and now I am relieved of future filing requirements to the IRS.

Jim_in_Houston wrote:
Sorry, but your explanation still doesn’t fly. I am ashamed of the current government and am doing everything I can to ensure it doesn’t get four more years; however, I will NEVER abandon my country, only fight all the harder to correct it.

P. W. Dunn wrote:

Mr. Jim in Houston:

I didn’t abandon my country. It criminalized me and therefore my country abandoned me.

I want you to know however that I am doing what I can to fight this injustice. I am writing polemical articles and I am now in the open, and for some that takes courage, for I am staring the IRS in the face and saying, go ahead, make an example of me. Meanwhile, you are some guy in Houston named Jim. That is really courageous. Tell me what your real name is then you can brag about how courageous you are.

See this post: https://righteousinvestor.com/2011/11/15/pillaging…

Also I should mention that I consider temporal political alliances such as the current nations of the world, e.g., USA or Canada, to be passing away like chaff in a fire. I am only a sojourner here:

“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

I will do whatever is expedient in this earthly life so as to better prepare for that everlasting country of which I am a true citizen.

Jim_in_Houston responded:

Sorry PW but you are still taking the lazy cowardly way out.

P. W. Dunn wrote:

And you still haven’t told me your name. Very brave.

As for your suggestion that I’m taking the lazy cowardly way out, I would argue that no, I’m being true to my American roots. I am standing up for my rights under the constitution. FBAR in the case of Americans abroad violates their 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th amendment rights. In this case, if you–who refuse to lose your citizenship–you have to submit to a government that continually violates your rights. What kind of pathetic American is that who is a slave of the government? Because I believe in freedom, I believe that as an American I have the right to go somewhere else and renounce my citizenship in order to escape an evil and oppressive government, just as our forefathers escaped and then fought against England and King George, expatriating en bloc. You can indeed fight for your rights within American, but that option is not available to me. Irwin Schiff fought for his rights and he rots now in a Federal Prison. I also have a wife to think about, and I therefore have expatriated in order to protect her and her assets, but you would just fight, and when the IRS has impoverished both you and your wife, you would laugh and say, “I will never abandon my country”. So if you want to fight for your country, then do this: fight for the US expatriates that have to renounce their citizenship because of FBAR. Many of the 6 million Americans overseas are contemplating it. And stop insulting them, because that is not helpful. They only want what every true American wants, freedom.

Furthermore, the persecution of expatriates by the IRS, will make it nigh on impossible for the US to carry out any business overseas–to sell our goods to other countries. Because if your people can’t go to another country and set up shop because of oppressive regulation of Americans abroad, then you will not be able to carry out business. Already Americans are shunned from certain jobs and from opening up bank accounts.

But if you continue in your current logic then you prove yourself to be the quintessential Ugly American–insulting what you don’t understand. I am now a proud Canadian, proud of our heritage. And I will defend her, just as you would defend your country. She has adopted me and it is my duty. After over 25 years of living in this country, growing to love my community here, it is only right that I should defend her. But dual citizenship is an absurdity. In my thinking, I had to give up my allegiance to the United States in order to make my oath to the Queen of Canada. Now I just want a government that, in its oppression of its expatriates, has become worse than King George ever was– I want that government to leave me alone. And I wish you well, you Americans, as your government, whether Republican or Democrat, takes you over the abyss of insolvency and financial meltdown. Good luck with that!

New IRS policy recasts the same old shameful policy as good and friendly, but we are not buying it

Barrie McKenna of the Globe & Mail wrote yesterday  about the new IRS policy coming:

Americans living in Canada who’ve neglected to pay their U.S. taxes are getting a big break from Uncle Sam.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is poised to waive potentially massive penalties for Americans who agree to come clean and don’t owe any taxes, The Globe and Mail has learned.

That’s how McKenna started the article–with two sentences, one paragraph each. That way the sentences don’t have to be coherent. The first one says that those who’ve neglected to pay their US taxes are going to get a break. But the second one says that if they “come clean” and don’t owe any taxes, the IRS will waive penalties. So those who haven’t been paying their taxes (paragraph 1), aren’t going to get a break at all; it’s only those who don’t owe anything that will get the break (paragraph 2). But then it’s only if they come clean, because you are dirty by definition if you are a US person in Canada that doesn’t file tax or fill out FBAR forms. If this is the language of US Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, McKenna’s source, it shows that the US government still doesn’t have a clue. We are not dirty ones.

Nay, it is the government officials who are the dirty ones: they are the ones requiring us to file trivial returns; furthermore, they are expecting us little people to tell them about everything in all our bank accounts–our own, our spouses’, and our employers’–and they haven’t exempted our RRSP and TFSA or our other retirement pensions. If we don’t tell all, they are threatening to break us and take all our wealth, and in some extreme cases, to throw us in prison. Well, Tony Soprano is fairer than that. Tony only breaks your legs if you owe him money. These IRS folks are threatening us and we can’t possibly owe them money. They are crazy.

Or not. It’s crazy only if it is mindless stupid busy work that keeps government employees in their jobs. But it may not be crazy, for there may be a sinister reason why this government has people inventory their goods; it is so that some day down the road it can know what is out there. Today you have to report your gold. Tomorrow the government confiscates it. If we must assign rationality to government, the idea that they know what they are doing, then all we can assume is that they want to know what’s there so that they can take it later.

Sorry I’m not buying the offer Mr. Jacobson. The US must drop the FBAR requirements. You must also drop extra-territorial taxation of US citizens and all filing requirements. You must also repeal FATCA. Or the US will see a mass exodus of foreign investment. And the US will see millions of people tell them to take this citizenship and shove it. Change the policy. Get the IRS off our backs, or Mr. Jacobson, you folks in the State Department are going to have to start having mass citizenship renunciation ceremonies (a couple hundred people at a time). That will start the day they make an example out of someone like me, who doesn’t cower in the shadows, but stands up to your tyranny. My name is Peter W. Dunn. The world is watching what you are doing, be careful how you handle my case.

FATCA: A Ticking Time Bomb for the Economy

The following article appeared in the American Thinker this morning:

FATCA: A Ticking Time Bomb for the Economy

Peter W. Dunn

Buried in an ostensible jobs bill signed by President Obama last year is a little-noticed job-destroying government regulation that threatens to trigger a massive outflow of capital from the American economy.

The US economy is in bad shape.  Many want the federal government to fix it — to end the deficits, create jobs and get America back onto the track of growth and stability.  President Obama came to Washington with great promises: to restore international respect for the United States and to bring back the jobs.  When signing the HIRE Act of 2010 on March 18, 2010, President Obama said:

A consensus is forming that, partly because of the necessary — and often unpopular — measures we took over the past year, our economy is now growing again and we may soon be adding jobs instead of losing them. The jobs bill I’m signing today is intended to help accelerate that process.

Now the HIRE Act of 2010 contains a time bomb called FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), which has indeed accelerated a process. Unfortunately that process is not job generation but job destruction caused by an exodus of capital from the United States.  Investment means jobs; a departure of investment capital means job losses.  Thus, the HIRE Act is really the “FIRE Act”.

The Background of FATCA and FBAR

FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) is the brood of FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report).  FBAR requires that US persons divulge foreign accounts to the Treasury Department, but few knew about or ever complied with it (see When Government turns Predator).  To stanch the bleeding of US capital into secret bank jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, Congress introduced FATCA into law as part of the HIRE Act.  FATCA requires that Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) reveal the accounts of US persons to the IRS.  The FFIs will then have to collect tax withholdings for the IRS from these clients.  If by January 1, 2014 the FFI is unwilling to reveal their US clients’ accounts, the IRS will impose a punitive 30% withholding on all payments to the FFIs, on dividends, interest and gross sales of stocks, bonds, and financial derivatives.

A sample transaction

Let’s suppose a foreign investor trades stocks on a US exchange, but his broker is FATCA non-compliant.  One day he buys 10,000 shares of XYZ at $25 per share, and the next day, he takes advantage of a nice uptick of $1.00 in XYZ and sells at $26 per share.  He makes a tidy profit of $10,000.  But because his broker is non-compliant, the IRS now withholds 30%, not of the profit but of the gross proceeds of the sale!  So the client now receives the sum of $260,000 minus 30%.  The foreign investor is unhappy because his $250,000 investment has become $182,000.  If he wants his money back, he must file a US tax return.

No investor would accept such conditions.  Hence, an FFI must either comply with the invasive regulations of FATCA or simply abandon the US markets.

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Guest post: The IRS–Your health, your wealth and your life

The IRS: Your health, your wealth and your life

by RenounceUScitizenship (used with permission)

The IRS has had a huge impact on your health, your wealth your life.

Your Life

I  came across a news article that started as follows (Vancouver Observer):

Several weeks ago, my brother sent me an article from the Financial Post — and my life changed in an instant.

My brother and I were born in the United States, but we left as teens. I have lived and worked in Canada for close to the last four decades, as a proud Canadian citizen.

The article talked about the fact that the U.S. is the only country in the world that taxes its citizens who are neither living in the U.S. nor working there. Even if American ex-pats are not earning an income there, the U.S. government is still able to tax them.

But it gets worse –- in its supreme arrogance, because our neighbor to the south is broke and in considerable debt, it is now bullying folks like me, by laying down the law saying that all of its citizens must pay U.S. taxes, regardless of the circumstances. And if any non-resident citizens choose to be ‘non-compliant’ and not file up to several years of back taxes, they could be punished by facing stiff fines of up to 25% of their entire financial worth, and maybe even go to jail. The jackbooted tone of the warning was clear. The IRS meant to scare –- and it worked.

There are many U.S. expats who are still not aware of FBAR, FATCA, OVDI, and the like. Those who became aware of these things are unlikely to forget the day, the moment, where you were and how you learned of it. From the moment that you learned of these things, your life was irreparably changed. The vast majority of U.S. expats were and are law abiding citizens.

Furthermore, it is likely in terms of their self  images that they:

–        Thought of themselves as law abiding, honest people

–        Had done their best to be tax compliant and law abiding

–        Were loyal patriotic Americans

–        Were and are fair minded people who could not conceive that the U.S. government could behave in such an immoral and “irresponsible and unreasonable” way (Apologies to Ambassador Jacobson)

From the moment they became aware of this IRS nightmare, it is likely that they:

–        Felt frozen, scared and confused (like a deer in the headlights)

–        Felt a strong sense of having been betrayed

–        Were unable to obtain any consistent, reasonable and clear advice about what to do

–        May have been pressured to enter OVDI

–        Did not have the money to pay the legal and accounting fees to even begin compliance

–        Would never have had the money to pay any penalties

–         Find it hard to believe that they are being treated as though they are criminals

 After the dust had begun to settle, on  the “Economic Front” it is  likely that may U.S. expats  realized that:

–        “U.S. citizenship was a problem to be solved” (to use the words of Phil Hodgen) and that the only way to solve it, was to renounce.

–        Barrie McKenna of the Globe and Mail likened the rift to “divorce”

–        U.S. citizenship presents a clear and present danger to the financial health of you and your family

Your Health – From the perspective of their emotional and physical health, there is no doubt:

–        The “jackboot” behavior of the IRS has severely damaged the physical health of many U.S. expats. After all, how much stress and worry can a law abiding citizen take?

–        The sense  of betrayal, unreasonableness, and unfairness  has created tremendous emotional and psychological problems for those affected by this. The shock of 2011 has been severe – it is likely that many U.S. expats will need psychological counseling if they are ever to recover. This is another aspect of the “collateral” damage associated with all of this.

My unprofessional but (I hope practical advice):

1.  This is not YOUR FAULT – you have done nothing wrong. Even if you are violation of the FBAR law, you have done nothing wrong in a moral sense. As you now know, there is no relationship between law and morality.

2. You are shocked to find that the U.S. is not the country that you thought it was. You believed that the U.S. was that “great citadel of freedom and justice”. ‘That’s what the country was – that is how you remember it. You are finding it hard to believe that you were wrong. You feel that you were deceived, conned, lied to, misled. That’s partially true. The reality is that the U.S. is no longer the country that it was. The U.S. under the Obama administration is nothing more than a vicious, debt ridden thug. The U.S. has evolved from being a nation of laws to a nation of forms.

3. If you are a U.S. patriot you feel betrayed – you feel that your patriotism is being tested. A  U.S. patriot has allegiance to the ideals and constitution of the United States of America. This is different from an allegiance to the U.S. government of the day. If the government does not respect the constitution, then the most patriotic thing you could do may to renounce your U.S. citizenship.

4. Although your first instinct may to run and hide – you do need to deal with this situation.  The problem is that you don’t know how to deal with it – you can’t find consistent, reliable advice. You are required by law to file a tax return, and FBAR and the new (for 2011) son of FBAR  form. Although this is not legal advice – common sense dictates that you should (at least) be compliant on a “going forward” basis.

5. Those of you who are U.S. Canada dual citizens should familiarize yourself with the provisions of the tax treaty in regard to reporting penalties. You will be happy when you investigate this.

6. Your tax and reporting issues are dependent on your decision to remain a U.S.  citizen. No two people are the same. U.S. citizenship is a problem to be solved. What are the principles that should be utilized to solve it? What are the questions to ask? You have been betrayed by the U.S. government. The U.S. is not the country it was. The U.S. does not subscribe to the very ideals that are the basis of your patriotism. This is a decision that must be based on principle – the question is: what is the right principle to make the renunciation decision? You have been betrayed by the U.S. My advice: make this decision based entirely on what works for you in your particular life circumstances. Recognize that you cannot predict the future with accuracy. There is no decision where there is no possibility of regret.

7. The “what is good for you principles” for you should recognize that:

–        The reporting requirements of FBAR, FATCA, etc. could put a serious strain on your marriage (the non-American spouse may be unwilling to live with the IRS);

–         Remaining a U.S.citizen may make it difficult you to avail yourself of normal banking arrangements;

–         Remaining a U.S. citizen will make it harder for you invest and save for retirement in your country of residence;

–        Remaining a U.S. citizen will force you to spend lots of time and money on reporting requirements. Remember the U.S. is now a nation of forms. Can you even afford the cost of compliance?

–        Remaining a U.S. citizen will force you to live in constant fear of the IRS

–        Remaining a U.S. citizens means that if you ever do accumulate wealth you will be subject to the U.S. estate tax rules (I have no idea how this would coordinate with the death tax rules of other countries)

–        If you have less than two million of net worth you are not a “covered expatriate”, you can (and possibly should) divest yourself of U.S. citizenship before you hit the two million mark (it is not uncommon in Toronto or Vancouver to own a house that is worth more than one million dollars)

–        If you have a net worth of two million or more, you will have to pay an exit tax if you renounce your U.S. citizenship. Remember that what you pay now, will be a savings to your estate. You can pass more money and assets to your children.

–        And now to the only positive of retaining U.S. citizenship: you can go back and live and work in the U.S. Is it worth it?

Your Wealth

Your wealth is only one factor in the equation. That said: for many U.S. expats the financial cost may be less to renounce now, rather than later. Think of your children.

A Final Thought

You have been placed in a horrible situation that is not of your making. Remember the bright side: as an expat you and (presumably most of your money) are already outside the United States.  After January 1, 2014 (the day FATCA takes effect) it will be very difficult for U.S. residents to leave. You are blessed with the wonderful opportunity of being able to live where you want. It is interesting that the U.S. constitution guarantees neither a right to enter the U.S. nor a right to leave the U.S. The Canadian Charter of Rights guarantees Canadian citizens the right to both enter and to leave Canada. In 1982, I was puzzled by this provision. I now understand why the constitutional right to leave a country is important!

In closing, read the following comment which describes how the participation in the OVDI program has completely transformed the life, health and wealth of this U.S. expat. Do you need the protection of the U.S. government or do you need protection FROM the U.S. government?

 “Just Me said…
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