Americans renouncing citizenship reaches a record high, tax laws blamed


The Treasury Department released its quarterly list of Americans who have renounced their citizenship in 2013, finding that another 560 people have decided to leave the country to establish residency in friendlier climates elsewhere (emphasis added):

This year will set a record for expatriations by U.S. taxpayers, with at least a 33% increase from the previous high in 2011.

The Treasury Department published the names of 560 people who either were U.S. citizens renouncing their citizenship or long-term residents who turned in their green cards during the third quarter.

That brings the total so far this year to 2,369, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tracks the data. For all of 2011, the number of published expatriates was 1,781, he said.
Taxpayers who expatriate aren’t required to give a reason, but experts said the overall increase was likely because of tougher enforcement of U.S. tax laws.

“Nothing has changed in immigration law that would make people want to renounce,” said Freddi Weintraub, an immigration specialist and partner at Fragomen Worldwide, a New York-based law firm. “Current or anticipated changes in tax law and enforcement are driving this increase.”

Some may question the patriotism of those who are leaving the United States and renouncing their citizenship. But why would anyone want to reside in a country where wealth and success are frowned upon by President Obama and congressional Democrats when its so much easier to uproot and move to a country with lower tax burden? That is, unfortunately, the way many people look at the situation.

For example, Hong Kong’s top individual tax rate is 15% and the corporate income tax rate is 16.5%. Compared to the top rates of 39.6% and 39% in the United States, it would make financial sense for many to leave.

No one wants to be a political punching bag, least of all those who have worked hard and become successful.

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