'Why I gave up my US passport' 'Why I gave up my US passport'
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    Default 'Why I gave up my US passport'

    Worth a read. So much for the land of the free.

    I'll doing the same as number 18 hopefully

    BBC News - 'Why I gave up my US passport'

    'Why I gave up my US passport'

    1 October 2013 Last updated at 23:08 GMT
    The Magazine feature on the number of expat Americans renouncing their US citizenship due to tax filing requirements prompted a huge response from readers.

    Many wrote to say they were experiencing similar problems to those outlined in the article. Here is a selection of their stories.

    1. David Green, Ontario, Canada: I was born and raised in the US. At the age of 30, I fell in love with a beautiful French girl whose profession was working in the French language. We moved to Canada (bilingual) where we have enjoyed life and we both could earn a living and contribute to life. I always paid my taxes to both the USA and Canada and seldom paid US taxes due to the higher taxes in Canada. But when you retire, hold on to your hats because the common deductions you enjoyed while working no longer apply. I ended up paying over $3,000 (£1,850) in taxes to the US when I retired. That is a significant amount of my retirement income. Since all my benefits come from Canada and the USA provides nothing but increased complications in tax laws and the ability to snoop into our personal lives (including my wife who is not a USA citizen), I renounced my USA citizenship in April of this year - for a fee ($450). I feel sad at the action I have taken but angry at the bureaucracy that caused this problem for so many to possibly catch so few.

    2. Pamela Schmidt, Germany: I was an American citizen, and I have spent most of my time in Europe for the last 12 years. In 2006, I married a German citizen and applied for German citizenship in 2010. The German authorities do not allow dual citizenship; therefore, I had to take a decision of becoming German or remaining American. I thought about it for a while and chose to become German. As I have spent most of my adult life in Europe, I feel more European than American, and I would like to be able to play a more active role in politics in the country where I live, which are the main reasons for my decision. However, the bizarre financial rules in the US did make the decision easier. The American government with laws like Fatca [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act] treats non-criminal citizens abroad like tax-dodgers and limits Americans' financial situation when living abroad, as many local banks don't want to deal with these regulations.

    4. Cynthia Bennett, Alzey, Germany: I gave up my US citizenship in 2011 and was listed in the Federal Register. Of course the main consideration was the realisation that I was never going back to live in the US, after decades here in Germany. But the trigger that got me into action was Fatca and the realization that US congressmen and senators will happily throw middle-class Americans living and working abroad under the bus if that can garner them a few soundbites under the pretence of "punishing rich tax evaders". Probably they don't even realise that their efforts are bad for expats because they never think about expats. Expats are totally out of their considerations because expats won't affect their election results. Even if the Fatca mess gets straightened out (ie repealed), there will likely be another "inadvertent" attack on "US persons" living outside the US in a few years.

    5. David Skene-Melvin, Toronto, Canada: In 1962, my widowed mother was forced to renounce her USA citizenship. Born Rye, New York, 1900, married St Louis, Michigan, 1931, she had lived her married life in Canada. In 1962, having come out of graduate school and with a steady job, I offered to take her to England to visit her immediate younger sister, British by marriage. The USA refused her a passport because, although she was, most definitely, a US citizen, she had not lived in the USA for 18 years. Although British by marriage, she deliberately took the route to formally renouncing her US citizenship, applied for and received a Canadian passport, and I took her to the UK for a happy two months to reconnect with her sister and visit her husband's (my father's) family.

    Michael Putman is a newly-minted Canadian
    6. Michael Putman, London, Canada: I relinquished US citizenship at the Toronto consulate last week on the basis of my naturalisation as a Canadian citizen and employment with the Canadian government. Although at first I came to Canada in 2004 for education alone, due to the continuous acts of kindness and generosity shown me I gradually fell in love with the country and its people, including one in particular who became my wife. I view my relinquishment not as an escape from IRS filing (although I won't miss it), or as a renunciation or political repudiation of the US but rather as a desire on my part to fully assimilate into the civic and cultural life of my new country, and to repay the people of Canada the many benefits and kindnesses they have shown to me by offering my full and undivided allegiance and loyalty in return. The fact of the matter is that after living here nearly a decade, I found that my character, values and behaviour had changed subtly but surely into becoming Canadian, and where the heart and mind go, the allegiance must follow.

    7. Tim, Port Perry, Ontario: I renounced my US citizenship earlier this year. I was born in Texas to Canadian parents. I grew up in Canada and lived here most of my life, but when I wanted to join the military, I decided to serve in the US Air Force. When I left the air force, I came back to Canada and found out that I had to continue to file US taxes, even though I was not going back to the US and didn't live there. Every year, I had to fill out a form disclosing every bank account and asset that I had, including those of the company that I founded. I always thought that this was an invasion of privacy, especially when some of those accounts were joint with my wife, who is Canadian. When I heard about the new laws, I had had enough and made the appointment. I wasn't in any hurry to give up my citizenship, but I don't feel like I was left with much choice.

    8. Michael Hayes, Freigericht, Germany: With its draconian penalties and inscrutable or non-existent filing guidelines, reporting into the US tax system has become a major financial risk for Americans living abroad. I decided to eliminate this risk to my family and well-being and simplify my life. Thus I became a German citizen and renounced my US citizenship.

    9. Tom, Switzerland: I dumped mine in 2009. Would have done it sooner, but couldn't be bothered to take a day off work to go up to Bern and back (been Swiss since 1997). Doing so was still free of charge back then, my US passport was expired, and I didn't want to get another one just for the occasional (once or twice in 10 years) trip to the US. This was before I'd ever heard of Fatca. My children have been adversely affected by Fatca and will probably be relinquishing soon (keeping their Canadian and Swiss citizenships). For us, it's not about taxes, but rather the paperwork (and time) to show that we owe nothing.

    12. George Rivera, Zaandam, Netherlands: I have lived in Holland for the past 35 years. I renounced my US citizenship about 25 years ago. Living in Holland, after 10 years I was able to put in perspective how unfair the US government is with its own citizens (poverty, healthcare, education etc). Being a member of a minority group (Puerto Rican) living in New York, I never realised that life can be better. I was given a golden opportunity in Holland and I profited. I seriously doubt if I would be so content if I had remained in the US.


    14. Donna-Lane Nelson, Switzerland: I gave up my citizenship in 2011 mainly because I couldn't have a normal banking relationship. Swiss banks are closing accounts of Americans, not allowing investments or giving loans. I was paying double taxes on my pensions, AVS and SS [social security] and on a limited income. However, it wasn't taxes, but the bank problem that made me give up my citizenship. It was so upsetting, I vomited afterwards. Like the day I was divorced, this was one of the saddest of my life. I don't regret the choice.

    15. Norman Heinrichs-Gale, Mittersill, Austria: I gave up my American citizenship for Austrian in 2009. My wife gave up Canadian. We originally came to Austria to work at an international conference centre for just one year. Over the years and three children later, Austria felt more and more like home. Increasingly, the US seemed to become a very foreign place, culturally and politically. Tax issues were not a factor in our decision, but rather the availability of affordable university education and health insurance.

    18. Walt Hopkins, Kinross, Scotland: I renounced my US citizenship in 2007. I have been a British citizen since 2002. After 2014, I plan to renounce my British citizenship and become a Scottish citizen. In addition to objecting to the expensive hassle of US taxes for expats, I renounced my US citizenship because of the way the US spent my taxes on illegal wars. I feel the same way about how my British taxes are spent, so I look forward to an independent Scotland that will use my taxes to care for people rather than to kill people.
    “We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we've just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we've barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”

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    I'd do the same if the tax law was like that here
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcdonald View Post
    I'd do the same if the tax law was like that here
    What precisely you don't like in US tax law, perhaps the fact that citizen has to pay US taxes regardless where they live?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AtW View Post
    What precisely you don't like in US tax law, perhaps the fact that citizen has to pay US taxes regardless where they live?
    If you don't have ties to a country and don't live there you shouldn't pay tax to them

    Unless you're Philip Green
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtW View Post
    perhaps the fact that citizen has to pay US taxes regardless where they live?
    How can the US tax authorities enforce this if you're not in the country?

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    Quote Originally Posted by amcdonald View Post
    If you don't have ties to a country and don't live there you shouldn't pay tax to them
    Being a citizen is a pretty good tie.

    Quote Originally Posted by KentPhilip View Post
    How can the US tax authorities enforce this if you're not in the country?
    You have to make tax return to IRS, if you lie on it then it's a tax evasion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AtW View Post
    Being a citizen is a pretty good tie.



    You have to make tax return to IRS, if you lie on it then it's a tax evasion (unless you're rich).
    FTFY
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    18. Walt Hopkins, Kinross, Scotland: I renounced my US citizenship in 2007. I have been a British citizen since 2002. After 2014, I plan to renounce my British citizenship and become a Scottish citizen. In addition to objecting to the expensive hassle of US taxes for expats, I renounced my US citizenship because of the way the US spent my taxes on illegal wars. I feel the same way about how my British taxes are spent, so I look forward to an independent Scotland that will use my taxes to care for people rather than to kill people.

    Walt, given your track record of choosing nationalities that disappoint you, how are we to believe you'll be right about Scotland?
    And what exactly is wrong with an "ad hominem" argument? Dodgy Agent, 16-5-2014

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    Quote Originally Posted by KentPhilip View Post
    How can the US tax authorities enforce this if you're not in the country?
    By hammering the banks that hold accounts of American citizens who don't comply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mich the Tester View Post
    Walt, given your track record of choosing nationalities that disappoint you, how are we to believe you'll be right about Scotland?

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