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US Expats Still Giving Up Passports, Green Cards

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

02 August 2016

Another 508 US taxpayers gave up their passports or their green cards in the second quarter of 2016, a fall from the 1,158 expatriations seen in the first quarter, according to Treasury Department statistics published in the Federal Register.

The number of individuals who have given up their citizenship during the first half of this year was 1,666. This was only slightly less than that recorded during the same period in 2015, at 1,795.

The number of US taxpayers who gave up their passports or green cards last year reached a record level of 4,279. This was over 25 percent more than in 2014, which had also been a record year, with 3,415, up from 2,999 in 2013.

The increase in the number of individuals giving up their citizenship has coincided with increased actions by Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to trace American undeclared assets and income held abroad, particularly by enforcing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. This law has made it more difficult for US citizens to bank in foreign territories, due to the reporting obligations placed on foreign financial institutions doing business with US clients.

In June this year, the IRS also reminded US citizens with foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded USD10,000 at any time during 2015 of the requirement to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. At that time, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that "we are getting the word out regarding the importance of offshore tax compliance. Taxpayers here and abroad should take their foreign account reporting obligations very seriously."

Treasury is required by statute to publish a quarterly list including the name of each individual who has lost or renounced US citizenship during the period. For the purposes of this listing, long-term residents or green card holders are treated as if they were citizens of the US who lost citizenship.

TAGS: individuals | expatriates | compliance | Citizenship | tax | tax compliance | law | banking | ministry of finance | offshore | legislation | United States | Compliance | Expats | Tax

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