Would you renounce your U.S. Citzenship?

ZinniaZinnia Registered Users Posts: 7,339
I recently read an article about U.S. citizens living abroad who are renouncing their U.S. citizenship because they don't want to pay U.S. income taxes since they aren't living/working in the U.S on a full-time basis.

Would you ever renounce your citizenship?
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
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Comments

  • greenjumpergreenjumper Registered Users Posts: 891
    I don't think I ever would. (I don't like to say *never*). But I doubt it. Maybe if I was 100% sure that I'd never come back or if the United States did something super horrible to me. That's unlikely though. I know many Japanese Americans received a ton of backlash when they renounced when all the concentration camp stuff went on...

    I'm not currently a citizen of any other nation besides the U.S. ...so I'd be sovereign and I don't think I like the idea of that. I also wouldn't be able to vote in elections. I haven't done a ton of research on being (a?) sovereign but I know a lot of people say there are benefits of it (although most of the people say it in a way that makes it sound like they are just trying to "beat the system"). Although, I'm sure there are legitimate reasons. I just haven't done the research.

    I really don't like the idea of "beating the system". I feel like people who don't pay taxes still get to enjoy all the benefits that other taxpayers are paying for. I don't think that's fair. If you are able to pay, then pay. If someone feels like the system is wrong, I believe they should work on getting laws changed instead of being covert about it. Just my opinion

    And, even though the people aren't living in the U.S. I pretty sure they still have certain benefits that come with being a U.S. citizen.So, they really need to think hard about what they are giving up. Plus, if they ever wanted to come back...wouldn't it be a hassle to get citizenship reinstated?

    Idk, to each their own.
  • BlackAngelPlayahBlackAngelPlayah Registered Users Posts: 1,419 Curl Neophyte
    I don't think it should have to come to that. Why are they making them pay income tax when they aren't living in the US OR working there? Sucky policy, but not enough to make me give up my citizenship.


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  • NetGNetG Registered Users Posts: 8,116
    I can't foresee a situation where I personally would, but I can see doing it if living elsewhere with a new citizenship and no intention of ever getting social security or any other sort of US benefit. I have a friend who lives in England now and is likely to eventually relocate to his wife's home country, never returning here. If he didn't have some ties he does to the US (he owns land and is a tribe member) I don't see why he wouldn't consider it.
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  • damsel_flydamsel_fly Registered Users Posts: 457
    I wouldn't renounce my Canadian citizenship.

    Once a person renounces their citizenship, they should never be able to get it back.
  • claudine19claudine19 Registered Users Posts: 4,486
    I'd miss voting.
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  • midgimidgi Registered Users Posts: 2,409 Curl Neophyte
    As much as I love the thought of living somewhere else, I don't think I could renounce my citizenship. Not sure why, really, but that's my gut reaction.

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  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    YES!! For exactly the reason that the OP mentioned in the first post.

    The US is the ONLY country that taxes based on citizenship rather than on residency.

    I am a US citizen by birth. I moved to Canada when I was 9 months old. I have lived in the US for less than 5 years of my life and I have never earned one penny of income in the US. I have absolutely no financial ties to the US.

    And yet, by American law, I am required to file US taxes every year on my income that was earned entirely in Canada. I have to report all my bank accounts, which I hold jointly with my Canadian husband to the Department of Treasury because the US government sees them as "off-shore accounts" held by a US citizen. We are talking about my local chequing account and any account for with I have signatory power (ie. a charity account, if you do payroll for your employer etc...). The threated fines and penalties for NOT disclosing such information are draconian ($10,000 per account per year).

    There are millions of "accidental Americans" like me who have been caught up in an extremely stressful situation. We are not tax evaders as the US congress would like you to believe. I pay a much higher level of tax in Canada than I ever would in the US. But the fact that US feels that they have any business in my financial affairs and those of my wholly Canadian family is absolutely ridiculous.

    Unfortunately renouncing US citizenship is not easy either. You have to be given permission to renounce and there is a wait list of years to do so. And there are concerns that as an ex-citizen you may have difficulty entering the US, which is a difficult position for me to be in as I have to travel sometimes for work and I live 10 miles from the US border. So I'm stuck in limbo.

    Anyways, thank you OP for starting this thread. Ive been wanting to bring up this point here for a while because I don't think most Americans realize how much the IRS is attempting to overstep its boundaries and is royally pissing off other governments with its demands.
  • NorahBuggNorahBugg Registered Users Posts: 134
    No, they shouldn't be allowed back in if they do that. It sounds like a Republicanesque cheat tactic or something. (No offense to Republicans.) :pl: MSNBC should check into it.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    NorahBugg wrote: »
    No, they shouldn't be allowed back in if they do that. It sounds like a Republicanesque cheat tactic or something. (No offense to Republicans.) :pl: MSNBC should check into it.

    I don't know how old you are, but lets say you decide to go to England for a year for school. You meet an English guy and decide to stay, get married and have kids. Fast forward 10 years down the road, do you think that you should still be paying taxes to the US on your UK income? You and your English husband start a small local business in the UK. You would need to file a US tax return for that business. Your retirement savings accounts or educational accounts for your kids which are not taxable in the UK may still be taxable in the US. So you lose your retirment savings advantages.

    Your kids who may have never set foot in the US would AUTOMATICALLY be considered US citizens and would also have to file US taxes. Does that sound fair?

    There are ways of separating legitimate tax cheats (and off-shore account holders) from the average no-longer-a-US-resident US citizens but so far the US congress has decided instead to paint everyone with the same brush. That's why people feel that they need to their US citizenship.
  • ZinniaZinnia Registered Users Posts: 7,339
    You are welcome, Mad Scientist.

    I have always wanted to live abroad and was quite shocked to read that I would have to pay U.S. taxes even after living abroad for many years.

    The article made it seem so easy to renounce...just go to the local embassy and sign some papers. It is very interesting that it takes years to happen.
    Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    Zinnia wrote: »
    You are welcome, Mad Scientist.

    I have always wanted to live abroad and was quite shocked to read that I would have to pay U.S. taxes even after living abroad for many years.

    The article made it seem so easy to renounce...just go to the local embassy and sign some papers. It is very interesting that it takes years to happen.

    There's been a lot of press about taxation by citizenship (which is a model on the US and Libya use, apparently) lately in Canada because we are home to the most US citizens outside the US. I had no idea that I was supposed to be filing US tax returns until last year. But the US is cracking down on "off shore accounts" and people like me have been entangled in the web.

    If you google FATCA, you will find the reason why most expats like me are worried. The US govt has enacted a law that will forbid overseas banks to invest in the US unless they divulge the financial information of all US Citizen account holders. There are banks in Europe who are refusing to open accounts for people with US birthplaces because they don't want to get entangled in this issue. Its a law designed to catch tax evaders but its going to seriously hurt US business if it hinders foreign investment.

    At the same time as they are beginning this witch hunt they are also reducing funding to embassies and consulates abroad. Many countries have only one embassy office which are overworked and understaffed. So depending on where you live, how close the nearest US embassy is and how well staffed they are, the waits can be long.
  • EilonwyEilonwy Registered Users Posts: 12,391 Curl Connoisseur
    Are you talking about people who renounce US citizenship after becoming citizens of other countries? Or are people choosing to be stateless?
  • mad scientistmad scientist Registered Users Posts: 3,530 Curl Neophyte
    Eilonwy wrote: »
    Are you talking about people who renounce US citizenship after becoming citizens of other countries? Or are people choosing to be stateless?

    I'm assuming we're talking about dual citizens. Being stateless would be a BAD idea I think.
  • NorahBuggNorahBugg Registered Users Posts: 134
    I'm a little too old to be thinking about that, but, in that situation, I would settle in England, become a citizen and have my U.S. citizenship revoked, if I did not want to pay U.S. taxes. I know it may take time, but that's a disadvantage to living in another country. The people that have the means to travel abroad and whatever have the means to pay dual taxes, I'm quite sure. If they don't, they should've thought about it first.

    I'm thinking more along the lines of people who go back and forth, who own property and businesses abroad, but, also have homes in the U.S. and live there part-time or most of the time... I'm not sure what the difference is b/w renouncing and permanently giving up citizenship, but it sounds like tax dodging to me. Tax cheats are tax cheats. Don't mess with the IRS.

    Sorry, I quoted the wrong post of yours before, mad scientist. I'm responding to the one you posted to me.
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Registered Users Posts: 8,449 Curl Connoisseur
    My thoughts on this issue are still developing. However, although I think the law is antiquated (agree it should be based on residency and not citizenship), I think renouncing your citizenship is kind of stupid and also a privilege that only the wealthy can afford. I also think if you renounce then you shouldn't be able to get it back, but maybe the door can be open for permanent residency status. It would cut down on the potential for game. For example the Facebook guy (Eduardo Saverin) renouncing bothers me because hypothetically he could just buy it back.

    I don't see many poor people renouncing. Citizenship is more important when you don't have assets, e.g., your own private island to jet off to when stuff goes down.

    If I had enough financial and physical security and another citizenship wherever I resided, I may consider renouncing, but that's hypothetical. Right now I am in no position to consider it.

    Question: What do you guys think about entitlements? Should people who are citizens but not residents be allowed to collect entitlements?

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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    No.
  • fraufrau Registered Users Posts: 6,130 Curl Neophyte
    but if you are a u.s. citizen do you still get social security when you're old even though you've lived most of your life abroad?
  • JosephineJosephine Registered Users Posts: 14,408 Curl Connoisseur
    Never because I plan on living here in the long run. If for some odd reason I decided to settle down somewhere else and not return...I don't know..like someone else said, just a gut reaction not to but I would be logical about it. It would be a damn hard thing for me to do if it came down to it. It's who I am and would feel like I'm giving up party of my identity.
  • NetGNetG Registered Users Posts: 8,116
    frau wrote: »
    but if you are a u.s. citizen do you still get social security when you're old even though you've lived most of your life abroad?

    You get social security based upon what you've paid in.
    The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
    -Speckla

    But at least the pews never attend yoga!
  • journotravelerjournotraveler Registered Users Posts: 2,816
    I have a relative who did and who has been living overseas in his adoptive country for years. But he has mental health issues and I think his decision wasn't particularly well-thought out. From what I understand, he is now stateless. He has a child as well, but she was born there.

    ETA: Personally, I wouldn't renounce my citizenship, but Mad Scientist makes a compelling case for doing so. I'd never thought of it in those terms before.

    Ever since 9-11, I've thought that having dual citizenship would be fabulous. Because there are some places in the world where having a U.S. passport can be a dangerous thing. I know a photojournalist who was born in Russia but grew up here. She carries two passports, and switches back and forth between them, depending on where she is in the world.
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  • munchkinmunchkin Registered Users Posts: 2,909 Curl Connoisseur
    NetG wrote: »
    frau wrote: »
    but if you are a u.s. citizen do you still get social security when you're old even though you've lived most of your life abroad?

    You get social security based upon what you've paid in.

    Off topic. . . unless you are a housewife who has never worked and never paid into social security but your husband has. You are eligible for a SS benefit based on a percentage of his. (I am referring to people living in the US.)

    Back to the original topick. . . no, I am proud to be a US citizen and could never imagine renouncing my citizenship. Then again, I imagine if I only lived here a few short years after birth, moved to another country where I have lived since then, and had no ties to the US, I might think differently.
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  • M2LRM2LR Registered Users Posts: 8,630 Curl Connoisseur
    NetG wrote: »
    frau wrote: »
    but if you are a u.s. citizen do you still get social security when you're old even though you've lived most of your life abroad?

    You get social security based upon what you've paid in.

    I don't know that this is true, though it's how the system is supposed to work. I've been paying into SS for over 20 years and by the time I am old enough to receive it, there will be nothing left, regardless of where I live.

    Folks pay in .25/per dollar, and they pay out .35/per dollar. Seems like a shortage will eventually happen, IMO. (These are not real figures, just made them up to show how the system is flawed).
    :rambo:
  • irociroc Registered Users Posts: 7,890 Curl Neophyte
    While of course one never knows exactly what the future holds, i'm going to say no.

    I'm proud to be an American. :)

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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Registered Users Posts: 17,898 Curl Virtuoso
    curlyarca wrote: »
    My thoughts on this issue are still developing. However, although I think the law is antiquated (agree it should be based on residency and not citizenship), I think renouncing your citizenship is kind of stupid and also a privilege that only the wealthy can afford. I also think if you renounce then you shouldn't be able to get it back, but maybe the door can be open for permanent residency status. It would cut down on the potential for game. For example the Facebook guy (Eduardo Saverin) renouncing bothers me because hypothetically he could just buy it back.

    I don't see many poor people renouncing. Citizenship is more important when you don't have assets, e.g., your own private island to jet off to when stuff goes down.

    If I had enough financial and physical security and another citizenship wherever I resided, I may consider renouncing, but that's hypothetical. Right now I am in no position to consider it.

    Question: What do you guys think about entitlements? Should people who are citizens but not residents be allowed to collect entitlements?

    Only to the extent that you are paying into "the system" in some way.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Registered Users Posts: 17,898 Curl Virtuoso
    munchkin wrote: »
    NetG wrote: »
    frau wrote: »
    but if you are a u.s. citizen do you still get social security when you're old even though you've lived most of your life abroad?

    You get social security based upon what you've paid in.

    Off topic. . . unless you are a housewife who has never worked and never paid into social security but your husband has. You are eligible for a SS benefit based on a percentage of his. (I am referring to people living in the US.)

    Back to the original topick. . . no, I am proud to be a US citizen and could never imagine renouncing my citizenship. Then again, I imagine if I only lived here a few short years after birth, moved to another country where I have lived since then, and had no ties to the US, I might think differently.

    Doesn't have to be a housewife, per se. Any spouse or exspouse or child of a retired or deceased worker can collect SS...assuming the worker paid into the SS system. There are plenty of people who work in this country who don't pay into SS.
  • PoPo Registered Users Posts: 2,607
    How do you opt-out of SS? I know some old people who don't have to pay because they were hired before a certain period and they are paying into a pension. Other than that, doesn't everyone have to pay in?
    3c/4a
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Registered Users Posts: 8,449 Curl Connoisseur
    I don't believe you can opt out of paying into the system at this point.

    Renouncing would probably help, though. LOL

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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Registered Users Posts: 17,898 Curl Virtuoso
    Po wrote: »
    How do you opt-out of SS? I know some old people who don't have to pay because they were hired before a certain period and they are paying into a pension. Other than that, doesn't everyone have to pay in?

    If you work for most sectors of the government or for certain non-profit jobs, you pay into alternate systems such as PERS. Or sometimes you have the option to go completely private and select some kind of brokerage to privately invest and manage your payroll deductions.
  • legendslegends Registered Users Posts: 3,073
    My original answer was, "No." Not because of any sense of patriotism or national pride or whatever (that stuff is just not me), but because I'm just too lazy to bother. But upon reading madscientist's post, I absolutely would if I were in that situation. I had no idea that the U.S. taxed based on citizenship instead of residency. That's absurd.
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  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    legends wrote: »
    My original answer was, "No." Not because of any sense of patriotism or national pride or whatever (that stuff is just not me), but because I'm just too lazy to bother. But upon reading madscientist's post, I absolutely would if I were in that situation. I had no idea that the U.S. taxed based on citizenship instead of residency. That's absurd.

    This is me. :lol: Although I also wouldn't want to be stateless.
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