New York - Americans are renouncing their citizenship at the highest levels on record, according to research by the Enrolled Agents and accountants Bambridge Accountants New York.
- 2,909 Americans gave up their citizenship in the first 3 months of 2020
- Showing a 1,104% increase on the prior 3 months to December 2019 where only 261 cases were recorded
- 2,072 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2019 in total
- This is the highest quarter on record, the previous record was 2,365 cases for the fourth quarter of 2016
- It seems that the pandemic has motivated U.S. expats to cut ties and avoid the onerous tax reporting
Americans must pay a $2,350 government fee to renounce their citizenship, and those based overseas must do so in person at the U.S. Embassy in their country.
There are an estimated 9 million U.S. expats. The trend has been that there has been a steep decline over the last few years for U.S. citizens expatriating - the first 3 months of 2020 is a huge increase in the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship.
Under the IRS rules (section 6039g), every three months the U.S. Government publishes the names of all Americans who give up their citizenship. The first 3 months for 2020 had 2,909 Americans renouncing their citizenship, far more than the total of the four quarters for 2019 (2,072 Americans renounced).
Alistair Bambridge, partner at Bambridge Accountants New York, explains: "There has been a huge turnaround of U.S. expats renouncing, where the figures have been in steep decline since 2017."
"The surge in U.S. expats renouncing from our experience is that the current pandemic has allowed individuals to get their affairs in order and deal with an issue they may have been putting off for a while."
"For U.S. citizens living abroad, they are still required to file U.S. tax returns, potentially pay U.S. tax and report all their foreign bank accounts, investments and pensions held outside the U.S. For many Americans this intrusion is too much and they make the serious step of renouncing their citizenship as they do not plan to return to live in the U.S."
"There has been a silver lining for U.S. expats that they have been able to claim the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200, but for some this is too little, too late."