All U.S. citizens relinquishing U.S. citizenship are required to be reported in the Federal Register “Name And Shame” list

Purpose of this post:

The following is a description of the reporting rules that apply to the State Department and U.S. Treasury when a U.S. citizen relinquishes U.S. citizenship. This discussion applies to individuals relinquishing after June 16, 2008. This brief description does NOT discuss Green Card holders who abandon their Green Cards or any reporting rules that may have been different prior to June 16, 2008*. (For practical purposes U.S. citizens who relinquish and fail to file Form 8854 will become “covered expatriates“. “Covered expatriate” status means that are subject to the 877A Exit Tax rules and the Section 2801 “covered gift” rules.) The term “relinquishment” includes “renunciation”.

The confusion continues over whether ONLY “covered expatriates are reported on the Federal Register. The names appearing in the Federal Register are here.

Commentary from Helen Burggraf and others reveals that:

– some individuals renouncing citizenship have been reported more than once
– some individuals renouncing citizenship have NOT been reported at all
– some individuals renouncing citizenship who were reported were NOT “covered expatriates”

With respect to U.S. citizenship relinquishment:

– IRC 6039G imposes specific requirements on the State Department to notify the Treasury Secretary of ALL Certificates Of Loss of Nationality issued;

– IRC 6039G requires the Treasury Secretary to publish the names of ALL relinquishers in the Federal Register. (Whether a “relinquisher” is a “covered expatriate” is NOT relevant.)

The statutory reasoning – conclusions:

1. The State Department is required to report to U.S. Treasury the names of ALL people who have been issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

2. U.S. Treasury is then required to publish in the Federal Register the names of all people who the State Department has reported were issued CLNs in that quarter.

3. Individual relinquishers: (i) 6039G requires that all “Covered Expatriates” file a Form 8854. (ii)The “Secretary” requires ALL individuals to file Form 8854 in order to order to certify that because they have met their tax compliance obligations they are NOT “covered expatriates”. (Therefore form 8854 is required either by statute or by demand from the IRS.)

The statutory reasoning – tracking the relevant provisions in the Internal Revenue Code:

1. IRC 7701(a)(50) – provides statutory test for when an individual ceases to be a U.S. citizen:

“(50) Termination of United States citizenship
(A) In general

An individual shall not cease to be treated as a United States citizen before the date on which the individual’s citizenship is treated as relinquished under section 877A(g)(4).”

2. IRC 877A(g)(4) – provides the date of relinquishment of U.S. citizenship under the IRC:

“(4) Relinquishment of citizenship A citizen shall be treated as relinquishing his United States citizenship on the earliest of—
(A) the date the individual renounces his United States nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States pursuant to paragraph (5) of section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(5)),
(B) the date the individual furnishes to the United States Department of State a signed statement of voluntary relinquishment of United States nationality confirming the performance of an act of expatriation specified in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(1)–(4)),
(C) the date the United States Department of State issues to the individual a certificate of loss of nationality, or
(D) the date a court of the United States cancels a naturalized citizen’s certificate of naturalization.
Subparagraph (A) or (B) shall not apply to any individual unless the renunciation or voluntary relinquishment is subsequently approved by the issuance to the individual of a certificate of loss of nationality by the United States Department of State.”

3. State Department: IRC 6039G – imposes obligation on State Department to notify the Secretary of all CLNs issued under INA 358:

“(2) the Secretary of State shall provide to the Secretary a copy of each certificate as to the loss of American nationality under section 358 of the Immigration and Nationality Act which is approved by the Secretary of State,”

4. Treasury Secretary: IRC 6039G -Imposes obligation on Secretary to report names of ALL relinquishers in Federal Register:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the name of each individual losing United States citizenship (within the meaning of section 877(a) or 877A) with respect to whom the Secretary receives information under the preceding sentence during such quarter.

The reporting on the name and shame list has never been accurate!

Conclusion: All people relinquishing U.S. citizenship are required to reported on the “Name and Shame” list. For reasons unknown, not everybody ends up being reported.

*On June 16, 2008 Internal Revenue Code 877A (the exit tax rules) was enacted. In addition to creating 877A, there were other changes to the expatriation rules. My impression is that the “6039G reporting regime” prior to June 16, 2008 applied to fewer people. Hence, I have restricted the above discussion to U.S. citizens relinquishing U.S. citizenship after June 16, 2008.

John Richardson – Follow me on

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