Tag Archives: renounce U.S. citizenship

Part 3 of 4: “It Hurts My Heart:” The Case for Fairer Taxation of Non-Resident US Citizens

Before moving to the post, if you believe that Americans abroad are being treated unjustly by the United States Government: Join me on May 17, 2019 for a discussion of U.S. “citizenship-based taxation” as follows:


You are invited to submit your questions in advance. In fact, PLEASE submit questions. This is an opportunity to engage with Homelanders in general and the U.S. tax compliance community in particular.
Thanks to Professor Zelinsky for his willingness to engage in this discussion. Thanks to Kat Jennings of Tax Connections for hosting this discussion. Thanks to Professor William Byrnes for his willingness to moderate this discussion.
Tax Connections has published a large number of posts that I have written over the years (yes, hard to believe it has been years). As you may know I oppose FATCA, U.S. citizenship-based taxation and the use of FATCA to impose U.S. taxation on tax residents of other countries.
Tax Connections has also published a number of posts written by Professor Zelinsky (who apparently takes a contrary view).
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This is the third of a series of four posts that reflect views and experiences of Americans abroad who are experiencing the reality of actually living as an American abroad in an FBAR and FATCA world. (The first part is here.) The second part is here. I think it’s important to hear from people who are actually impacted by this and who have the courage to speak out. The “reality on the ground” is quite different from the theory.
I hope that this series of posts will give you ideas for questions and concerns that you would like to have addressed in the May 17, 2019 Tax Connections – Citizenship Taxation discussion.
I am grateful to Laura Snyder for contributing her thoughts, writing and research to the discussion.
Now over to Ms. Snyder …
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Changes to the filing threshold for "Married Filing Separately" filing category likely to pressure more Americans abroad to renounce US citizenship


This post is a continuation of my post (referenced in the above tweet) which describes the reduction of the threshold for Married Filing Separately from $4050 to $5. In this post I describe why I believe that this change will result in further renunciations of U.S. citizenship. The primary incentive to renouncing citizenship is that: by requiring married low income Americans abroad to file U.S. tax returns, more financial information about their nonresident alien spouses will be reported to the IRS. On the most basic level, a Form 8938 is required only if a U.S. tax return is also required. The requirement to file a tax return increases the chances of a requirement to file Form 8938 (and others). Form 8938 does require the disclosure of some jointly owned assets. If you were a nonresident alien, would you want your financial information to be transferred to the IRS?
On December 19, 2018 Dr. Karen Alpert commenting on changes to the 2017 TCJA that would affect Americans abroad noted that:
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Considering renouncing citizenship? #citizide: Non-citizens can be be inadmissible to the United States by statute

Only U.S. Citizens The right to enter the United States


U.S. citizenship has its privileges and its obligations
Privileges:
As the message in the above tweet indicates, ONLY U.S. citizens have the right to enter the United States.
Obligations:
Because U.S. citizens have the right to enter the United States, U.S. citizens are required to enter the United States on a U.S. passport. (The U.S. passport tells the border guard that the individual has the right to enter the United States.) The Immigration and Nationality Act states:

(b)Citizens
Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.

The border guard does not have the authority to deny entry to a U.S. citizen.
Non-citizens and admission to the United States – Tell me who you are and I will tell you whether you can enter
Non-citizens do NOT have the right to enter the United States. For non-citizens, entry into the United States is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act and an apparatus of rules and regulations. Different rules and regulations apply to citizens of different countries. When you cease to be a U.S. citizen, you will be treated according to your citizenship/nationality.
Let’s consider four categories of individuals.
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So, you have received bank letter asking about your tax residence for CRS or FATCA – A @taxresidency primer

Prologue: In the 21st Century, The Most Interesting Thing About A Person Is His/Her Tax Residency

Introduction – So, what’s this “tax residence” stuff about? What does “tax residence” mean?

In 2014, as people started to receive “FATCA letters” I wrote a lengthy post describing “What to do if you receive a FATCA letter“. Information exchange under the Common Reporting Standard “CRS” has begun in 2018. As a result, I am writing this post which is to explain what the CRS is and how it relates to the FATCA letter. It is important to understand that the “CRS letter is actually a combined “CRS/FATCA” letter which is more likely to be received than the original FATCA letter. I urge that those who have received a letter of this type to read this post PRIOR to seeking professional advice!!!

You are reading this post because you have received a letter from your bank that is asking you to identify the countries where you are a “tax resident” and/or whether you are a “U.S. Person”.

The purpose of this post is to help you understand:

– why you are receiving the letter
– what the letter means
– what is the meaning of “tax resident”, “tax residence” and “tax residency” (terms which are used interchangeably)
– why “tax residency” is important to you
– the significance of being a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder
– how to identify where you may be a “tax resident”

Why are you receiving this letter?

The letter is intended to fulfill the bank’s due diligence obligations under both the OECD Common Reporting Standard (all countries of “tax residence” except the United States) and FATCA (whether you are a “tax resident” of the United States).

In other words, the letter is for the purpose of satisfying bank “due diligence” under two separate reporting regimes – FATCA and the OECD Common Reporting Standard “CRS”

This is long post which is broken into the following parts:

Part A – How does FATCA differ from the “CRS”?

Part B – The Combined FATCA/CRS Letter

Part C – “Tax Residency 101”: It’s about where you should be paying your taxes

Part D – Different definitions of “tax residence” – Not all countries define “tax residence” in the same way

Part E – Oh My God! I think I might be a “tax resident” of two countries – What is a “tax treaty tie breaker”? How does a “tax treaty” tie breaker work?

Part F – A “U.S. citizen” cannot use a “tax treaty tie breaker” to break U.S. “tax residence”. How then does a “U.S. citizen” cease to be a “U.S. tax resident”?

Part G – How a “permanent resident” of the U.S. – AKA “Green Card Holder” – ceases to be a U.S. tax resident

Part H – Are you, or have you ever been a U.S. citizen or Green card holder? Sometimes it’s not what it seems.

Part I – “Relinquishments of U.S. citizenship and loss of U.S. citizenship for tax purposes

Part J – Beware! You don’t sever “Tax Residency” From Canada or the United States without being subject to massive “Exit/Departure Taxes!” – You may have to buy your freedom!

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Part 7: Responding to the Sec. 965 “transition tax”: Why the transition tax creates a fictional tax event that allows the U.S. to collect tax where it never could have before


Introduction
This is the seventh in my series of posts about the Sec. 965 Transition Tax and whether/how it applies to the small business corporations owned by taxpaying residents of other countries (who may also have U.S. citizenship). These small business corporations are in no way “foreign”. They are certainly “local” to the resident of another country who just happens to have the misfortune of being a U.S. citizen.
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Global Entry, NEXUS and the effect of renouncing US citizenship

This is another post in what is becoming a series about “travel documents” for U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents. To travel the world you need to be able to get easy access to and from different countries. “Travel documents” are required. Travel documents include (but are not limited to): passports, permanent resident cards, Global Entry cards and NEXUS cards. Different rules may apply in different contexts (are you traveling by air, land or sea)? My previous posts about “travel documents” have been:
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada
Travel Documents: Canadian citizens need either a U.S. or Canadian passport to enter Canada by air (or by land)
Why would someone renounce their “permanent resident of Canada” status?
Law permanent residents of the United States AKA “Green Card” holders
What’s a #GreenCard anyway? It’s NOT what you don’t know. It’s what you know that isn’t true!
Although a “reentry permit” can provide evidence of intention to reside permanently in the USA, it does ask about tax returns!
This post focuses on the NEXUS program (in the context of the U.S “Global Entry Program”).
I encourage you to visit the U.S. Government “Global Entry” page. You will be amazed at how broad these programs actually are.
Introduction
A common question (I have been asked this many times) for Canadians renouncing U.S. citizenship:
How will my renunciation affect my NEXUS card?
I provided the following “Readers Digest” answer on Quora. But I thought I would provide a broader answer in this post.
Read John Richardson's answer to Can you still qualify for a Nexus card if you renounce your US citizenship after becoming a naturalized Canadian citizen? on Quora
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13 Reasons Why I Committed #Citizide: (Inspired by the television series, 13 Reasons Why)

Update – November 2, 2018 to include – “Retain or Renounce” Information session held in Brisbane Australia on October 25, 2018


Introduction – Guest post by a perfectly ordinary person who renounced U.S. citizenship for perfectly ordinary reasons


In a recent submission to Senator Hatch  I argued that what the United States thinks of as “citizenship-based taxation”, is actually a system where the United States imposes U.S. taxation on the residents and citizens of other countries. That submission included:

On July 4, 2017, Americans living inside the USA celebrated the “4th of July” holiday – a day that Americans celebrate their independence and freedom.
On that same day, I had meetings with SEVEN American dual citizens, living outside the United States. This “Group of Seven” were in various stages of RENOUNCING their U.S. citizenship. Each of them was also a citizen and tax paying resident of another country. They varied widely in wealth, age, occupation, religion, and political orientation. Some of them have difficulty in affording the $2350 USD “renunciation fee” imposed by the U.S. Government. Some of the SEVEN identify as being American and some did NOT identify as being American. But each of them had one thing in common. They were renouncing their U.S. citizenship in order to gain the freedom that Americans have been taught to believe is their “birth right”.

On August 2, 2017 posts at the Isaac Brock Society and numerous other sources, reported that that there were 1759 expatriates reported in the second quarter report in the Federal Register. The number of people renouncing U.S. citizenship continues to grow.
Now on to the guest post by Jane Doe, which is a very articulate description of the reasons why people living outside the United States feel forced to renounce U.S. citizenship.
John Richardson
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The Internal Revenue Code vs. IRS Form 8854: the "noncovered expatriate" and the Form 8854 Balance Sheet

Introduction: For whom the “Form” tolls …
I would not want the job that the IRS has. There are many “information reporting requirements” in the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS has the job (sometimes mandatory “shall” and sometimes permissive “may”) of having to create forms that reflect the intent of the Internal Revenue Code. The forms will necessarily reflect how the IRS interprets the text and intent of the Code. Once created, the “forms” become a practical substitute for the Code. If you look through your tax return you will “form” after “form” after “form”. The forms reflect how the various provisions of the Internal Revenue Code are “given meaning” (if the meaning can be determined).
The Form (in theory) follows the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code …
Every “form” is the result of one or more sections of the Internal Revenue Code. For example, Form 8833 is described as:
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Tax Haven or Tax Heaven 5: How the 1966 desire to "poach" capital from other nations led to the 2008 S. 877A Exit Tax

Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter N, Part II, Subpart A of the Internal Revenue Code is of great interest..
IRC871
IRC8712
The text of S. 871 of the Internal Revenue Code is here. The IRS interpretation of S. 871 along with the requirements for when the non-resident alien is required to file a 1040-NR return are here.
The above subsection of the Internal Revenue Code applies to “NON-RESIDENT ALIENS AND FOREIGN CORPORATIONS”. It contains rules for how those who are not “U.S. Persons” are taxed under the Internal Revenue Code. As is expected, the Internal Revenue Code imposes U.S. taxation only on those “aliens” who have income sources that are connected to the United States. The previous post explained that S. 871 (in its present form) was enacted in 1966. Internal Revenue Code S. 871 also provides strong incentives for “aliens” to bring their capital to the USA.
Interestingly this subsection of the Internal Revenue Code also includes the S. 877A and S. 877 Expatriation Tax provisions. Significantly, both S. 871 and S. 877 were enacted in 1966 as part of the Foreign Investors Tax Act of 1966, Public Law 89-809.
The combination of the inclusion of both Internal Revenue Code sections 871 and 877 suggests that the intent of the Foreign Investors Tax Act of 1966, Public Law 89-809, included:
1. The intent to attract “Foreign” capital to the United States by imposing either no or low taxes on that “Foreign” capital lured to the United States, as expressed in S. 871 of the Internal Revenue Code;
2. The intent to give “non-resident aliens” certain tax benefits that were NOT available to U.S. citizens;
3. A recognition that some U.S. citizens might wish to expatriate to avail themselves of the benefits of NOT being a U.S. citizen;
4. A “penalty” expressed in S. 877 of the Internal Revenue Code for those U.S. citizens who expatriated to receive the same tax benefits enjoyed by “non-resident aliens”.
For a pdf of the 1966 Foreign Investors Tax Act (a massive document), see …
Foreign Investors Tax Act 1966 809
My point is a simple one …
It is clear that the U.S.desire to establish itself as a “Tax Haven”, also resulted in the S. 877 Exit Tax, which gradually evolved into the S. 877A Exit Tax that exists today.
To put it another way: the desire to establish the United States as a “Tax Haven”, eventually evolved into the S. 877A Exit Tax rules that:
1. Impose confiscatory taxation on assets that are outside the United States; and
2. Impose confiscatory taxation on assets that were acquired after a “U.S. Person” abandoned residence in the United States.
To illustrate why this is so, please see:
The S. 877A Exit Tax in Action – 5 actual scenarios with 5 completed U.S. tax returns
You will be shocked by what you see!
Like the 1970 FBAR rules, S. 877 of the Internal Revenue Code has gradually evolved into a mechanism to confiscate the assets of Americans abroad. Think I am kidding? See the examples in the link above!
John Richardson

@SenTedCruz sponsors "Expatriate Terrorism Act": threatens certain US citizens with loss of citizenship


By the time I had received this fascinating “hot off the press” information from a U.S. law firm, I had read the article referenced in the above tweet. The article is written by David Bier who is an immigration policy analyst at the Niskanen Center. It has generated interesting discussion at Keith Redmond’s  “American Expatriates Facebook Group“.
Yes, it’s true, Canadian born, U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz, has introduced a bill threatening people with the loss of U.S. citizenship (notwithstanding that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that U.S. citizenship belongs to the citizen and NOT to the government). It is clear that Senator Cruz, hearkening back to the days of the Viet Nam era and before, is of the view that U.S. citizens remain citizens only as long as Congress allows them to. The purpose of the revocation of citizenship is to provide a mechanism to keep them out of the United States. This is is a form of “border control” – a “Cruz concern” as evidenced by the following @SenTedCruz tweet:


The article in the Huffington Post is remarkably well researched and provides a reasonable overview of the issue.
See for example:
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