Americans Renouncing Citizenship in Record Numbers

Americans Renouncing Citizenship in Record Numbers

Americans Renouncing Citizenship in Record Numbers

A record 5,409 Americans renounced their citizenship last year, including 2,364 in the 4th Quarter,  primarily because of the nation’s tax system, Fortune magazine reported Monday

The spike is more than 26% increase from the 4,279 who handed in their passports in Y 2015, federal records show.

According to Fortune, the source of the uptick is a law that requires overseas banks to tell the IRS about their American customers.

“To some degree it is President Barack Obama’s fault,” tax lawyer Andrew Mitchel said. “It was Obama and the Congress that passed a law in 2010 that forced foreign banks to disclose US citizens.”

When the law was passed, it was aimed at wealthy Americans who wanted to hide their money in secret Swiss bank accounts. But the law now affects nearly all of the 7% Americans who live abroad, many of whom are people of modest means.

“These people are terrified they will go bankrupt because of the United States,” Attorney Mitchel told Fortune. “They just want to get out of the US tax system.”


A person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:

  1. appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
  2. in a foreign country  at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; and
  3. sign an oath of renunciation

Renunciations abroad that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of Section 349(a)(5), U.S. citizens can only renounce their citizenship in person, and therefore cannot do so by mail, electronically, or through agents. In fact, U.S. courts have held certain attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship to be ineffective on a variety of grounds, as discussed below.

Questions concerning renunciation of U.S. citizenship in the United Statespursuant to INA section 349(a)(6) must be directed to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information go here.

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