Category Archives: Relinquish U.S. citizenship

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).”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7701

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.”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/877A

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,”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/6039G

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.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/6039G

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 X.com/ExpatriationLaw

Considering renunciation Part 1? The Problem is HOW To Make The Renunciation Decision

For Americans U.S. citizenship is an asset that depreciates with age. U.S. citizenship is more valuable for younger people beginning their careers than for older people moving toward retirement. The United States is a large market with many career and employment opportunities. In addition, older people often live off capital, (which if “foreign” to the United States) comes with punitive U.S. taxation and reporting.

There are many reasons to retain U.S. citizenship or to renounce U.S. citizenship. It is a “circumstance dependent” decision. To be clear, the process of renunciation is relatively easy. Renunciation is a process that takes place under the Immigration and Nationality Act. That said, the fact of renunciation has consequences that extend well beyond the Immigration and Nationality Act.

What follows is a list of “some” specifics people should consider as part of making the renunciation decision. This is a “quick and dirty” post. I make no attempt to detail the specific reasons why these considerations may be important. This list is intended only to “raise your level of awareness” about a decision that has long term implications in your life.

The renunciation decision requires a tolerance for uncertainty.

Deciding whether to renounce is a decision made in an uncertain environment. Where there is uncertainty one must think in terms of “better vs. worse” outcomes. Not “right vs. wrong” outcomes.

On the one hand one never knows what the future could hold.

On the other hand U.S. citizenship carries many present and future costs.

The process of renouncing U.S. citizenship is easy.

The process of understanding the implications that renunciation may have on your life are neither easy nor well understood.

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Official Notice Of Proposed Rule Change: To Lower The Cost Of The CLN Issued Upon Renouncing US Citizenship From $2350 To $450

Prologue

October 2, 2023 – Notice of Proposed Rule Change

Okay, it’s official. Here is a link to the proposed rule change which is necessary to reduce the renunciation fee from $2350 to $450. Officially, the fee is NOT a fee to expatriate. Rather it is a fee to issue the “Certificate Of Loss Of. Nationality”. also known as a CLN.

There is a 32. day comment period and I strongly suggest that you DO comment!

I encourage you to read the Notice in. its entirety. But, I note that it includes the following:

In the years since the fee was increased, members of the public have continued to raise concerns about the cost of the fee and the impact of the fee on their ability to renounce their citizenship. While there is no legal requirement for individuals to declare their motivation for renouncing U.S. citizenship, anecdotal evidence suggests that difficulties due at least in part to stricter financial reporting requirements imposed by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Public Law 111–147, on foreign financial institutions with whom U.S. nationals have an account or accounts may well be a factor.

After significant deliberation, taking into account both the affected public’s concerns regarding the cost of the fee and the not insignificant anecdotal evidence regarding the difficulties many U.S. nationals residing abroad are encountering at least in part because of FATCA, the Department has made a policy decision to help alleviate at least the cost burden for those individuals who decide for whatever reason to request CLN services by returning to the below-cost fee of $450. Although the prior fee of $450 represents a fraction of the cost of providing CLN services, this change will better align the fee for CLN services with other fees for services provided to U.S. citizens abroad, including, for example, applications for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which all are set significantly below cost, even as the costs of providing these services have fluctuated over time.

If you go to the following link you can submit a comment (and even email this to a friend).

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/10/02/2023-21559/schedule-of-fees-for-consular-services-administrative-processing-of-request-for-certificate-of-loss

Here is a pdf version:

Federal Register Schedule of Fees for Consular Services-Administrative Processing of Request for Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) Fee

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

Buying Their Freedom: Toward A More Efficient Process Of US Citizenship Renunciation

Buying Their Freedom – A More Efficient Renunciation Process – The “Readers Digest” Version Of This Post …

The effects of US citizenship taxation enforced by FATCA are causing great distress to the US citizens who reside in and are tax residents of other countries. They are being constructively forced to renounce US citizenship because of (1) the out of pocket costs of US tax compliance (2) the possibility of double taxation (3) the US taxation of things that are not taxable in their country of residence (4) the “opportunity cost” of their inability to engage in financial and retirement planning and in some cases (5) the threat or reality of bank/financial account closures. In addition, these circumstances are unfair to their countries of residence who are forced to deal with a group of people who are more likely to require “social assistance” in their retirement years. US citizenship is a problem for US citizens who attempt to live outside the United States and for the countries where they live.

Although many people are constructively forced to renounce US citizenship, the US has made renunciation very difficult from both a cost and availability perspective.

The purpose of this post is to suggest that the process of renouncing US citizenship should be facilitated in the US citizen’s country of residence by that government. Renunciation could be achieved more quickly, at lower cost and (under my proposal) partially subsidized by the government of residence (which would justify this as “buying back their citizens” from any US claim of taxation or other regulatory burdens). I believe that this proposal would benefit the individual US citizen, the US citizen’s country of residence and the United States itself. The following post describes how this can be achieved under the existing US laws.

As President Obama once said:

“The circumstances of one’s birth should not determine the outcome of one’s life.”

This post is composed of the following parts:

Part A – Introduction
Part B – The US Government And The Oppression OF Americans Abroad
Part C – The Legal Framework Of Renunciation
Part D – The Logistics – How The New Renunciation Process Would Work
Part E – Reviewing The Benefits Of The New Renunciation Process
Part F – The Revised Renunciation Fee
Part G – Democratizing Renunciation – Making It Available To All – A Financing Proposal
Part H – Sadly this could all be be prevented if the United States were to end citizenship taxation and adopt the world standard of residence taxation. But, …
Part I – Conclusion – “All Roads Lead To Renunciation”

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Reflections Of An Expatriation Lawyer: From The Solemn Occasion of 1988 To The Non-event of 2021

Guest Post by UK based New York lawyer Diane Gelon

Diane is a London, UK based New York lawyer who specializes in issues affecting Americans abroad including renunciation. What follows are her thoughts on how the renunciation process has evolved since 1988. The message is that in 1988 the renunciation of US citizenship was a serious and solemn event that was taken very seriously by the US government (it was also free of charge). By 2021 it had become a routine matter, of little concern to the US government (and cost $2350). This is one more reason why the State Department should process renunciations of US citizenship through video conferencing!

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Over to Diane …

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To Renounce US Citizenship Or Not To Renounce – That Is The Question

In May of 2021 John Richardson participated in this podcast with 4 The Now Media.

It has become increasingly difficult for US citizens living outside the United States to comply with the US tax and regulatory regime. Unfortunately Americans abroad are being constructively forced to renounce US citizenship.

People are NOT renouncing US citizenship because they want to! They are renouncing because they have to!

The following podcast discusses many of the issues surrounding the renunciation decision. The discussion includes a discussion of several profiles, the applicability of the 877A Exit Tax and the dual citizenship from birth exemption.

Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

Americans Abroad And Voting Part 2: Born in the USA? Those who relinquished US citizenship under INA 349(a) are NOT eligible to vote in the November 3, 2020 US election

This is the second of my series of my posts that discusses Americans abroad (and in particular Americans in Canada) and voting. My first post discussed the nuts and bolts of voting from abroad. Specifically, I discussed how Americans abroad can vote in the November 3, 2020 election.

Clearly one must be an American citizen to be eligible to vote. This post is for the purpose of identifying a category of person who was “Born In The USA” but is NOT a US citizen. The basic theme of this post is discussed in the following podcast. But, the bottom line is this:

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Fascinating discussion with @Scaramucci: They want the #expat vote, but don’t want to understand the #FATCA life! #Citizide continues

Fascining discussion. In this election season the politicans are agressively courting the vote of Amerians abroad. Yet, they seem unwilling to take the time to understand the problems of Americans abroad and how FATCA has destroyed many life – resulting in many renunications of US citizenship.