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Home » Immigration

More American expats give up their citizenship

Submitted by on April 28, 2010 – 7:15 am7 Comments

Photo by Ryan McFarland (flickr)From the New York Times:

Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship.

Why? “…Frustrations over tax and banking questions, not political considerations, appear to be the main drivers of the surge.”

American expats have long complained that the United States is the only industrialized country to tax citizens on income earned abroad, even when they are taxed in their country of residence, though they are allowed to exclude their first $91,400 in foreign-earned income….

In addition,

Stringent new banking regulations — aimed both at curbing tax evasion and, under the Patriot Act, preventing money from flowing to terrorist groups — have inadvertently made it harder for some expats to keep bank accounts in the United States and in some cases abroad.

Some U.S.-based banks have closed expats’ accounts because of difficulty in certifying that the holders still maintain U.S. addresses, as required by a Patriot Act provision….

Time Magazine wrote a similar article: Why More U.S. Expatriates Are Turning In Their Passports

The Time piece quoted an American expat — who renounced his U.S. citizenship after becoming an Australian citizen — about how difficult it was to make this decision: “My family and friends think I am a traitor. But the financial burden was killing me.”

Americans in Canada – what about you? Have you considered giving up your U.S. citizenship? Have you actually done it? Why or why not?

Photo by Ryan McFarland (flickr)


  • ExpatinCA says:

    I’ll be giving up my citizenship, no question. I’m just waiting for my Canadian citizenship to come through.

    I originally moved to Canada as a political protest. Bush had been president for two years and, if that alone wasn’t bad enough, the ramifications of the Patriot Act were simply sickening. I just wanted to get away from a country that would turn on its own citizens like that.

    I found Canada to be welcoming and such a pleasure to live in. Over time, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I forgot all my hurt and feelings of betrayal from the US. My US passport didn’t seem to be hurting any, so I thought that maybe I would just keep it in a drawer once I got my Canadian citizenship. I thought we’d amicably separated and that was good enough.

    Then I found out that I was supposed to be filing US taxes all this time, not to mention FBAR requirements! I was betrayed all over again, only so much worse. Not only is the IRS coming after me, it’s coming after my Canadian husband (we have joint accounts) and my Canadian son (my name is on his RESP).

    Coming after me for any taxes owed (which is a big fat zero because I’m in the lower middle class), or even fair penalties for failure to file would be one thing. But I can’t tolerate this disgusting attempt to financially ruin my family and to literally steal education from a baby! This is disgusting. This is a glaring case of heartless American exceptionalism.

    So my ex-lover has now turned into a stalker, and a potentially dangerous one at that. I feel that I have no choice but to file for divorce and, possibly, whatever the nationality equivalent to a restraining order is. I’ll be giving the US consulate a call the very day my Canadian citizenship goes through. Count on it.

  • Tom says:

    I have lived in Canada since 1971 and have been a Canadian citizen since 1989. I just found out about this wretched business, but have been advised to “conform”.

    I don’t know what to do, but have decided to do the IRS thing and hope for the best. I’ve never made anywhere near $90K and only bank in Canada so I suppose I’m too small a fish to get noticed, although, to make ends meet, I applied for US social security a few years ago.

    Any suggestions?

  • JadD says:

    My husband and I are thinking of making the move in the next couple of years. We want to make a clean break, tie up loose ends, research what city we’ll end up in, etc. The main reason we want to leave is because when my husband came to the U.S. from Mexico in the mid 80s he saw this country as a wide open promising future. Slowly over the years we’ve witnessed a firmer, more tightening grip on Americans. The taxes go up and up and you get taxed on money that’s already been taxed. You run a business and you can’t really even call it yours because instead of doing her job properly the health inspector threatens you just because she’s having a PMS day, or a bad hair day or her significant other made her mad. No matter how hard you try to make her happy and follow the rules she gets a big head and makes sure you know she has you at her mercy. You have to go to law school just to make sure that you are following the gazillion laws the government passes without ever once asking it’s citizen’s if they approve or not. The U.S. has been in constant war for as far back as I can remember and instead of using that tax money for health care they tax you more and go blow something up across the ocean. The government no longer cares about us. They take our hard earned money and we don’t have a say in anything that they decide. As soon as I possibly can make the move I will. And I will spend some time to see what Canada is truly like. Most likely my husband and I will denounce our U.S. Citizenship. The founding fathers would be ashamed and disappointed at what America has become.

  • Sheila McDaid says:

    Alicia, thank you so much for your comments. I too am sickened by what America has become. I was brought up by Irish immigrants who revered FDR and were so grateful for all that he did for the people and the common good of this country. That’s almost entirely gone, and I believe what we have now is fascism (or corporatism as Mussolini originally called it). To me the atmosphere of the country is poisoned with hate, bigotry, greed, and fear. It’s a mean country, and I just don’t sense any feeling of real community here. My son and his wife, a Ph.D sociologist, lived in Seattle for several years and routinely visited Vancouver. They often talked about how they loved the Canadian people. I am 60 years old and really don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this ignorant, mean-spirited atmosphere. I just retired and am seriously thinking of moving to Canada, but don’t even know where to begin. I’m thinking of Ottawa, Toronto, Nova Scotia, or Montreal. What should my next steps be? How did you do it? Any advice you can give will be most appreciated.


    Sheila McDaid

    • Sandra says:

      Hello, This may be a good time to look at Nova Scotia. Check out the website Nova Scotia Come to Life. Today, they have a very good informational story about how to start a new life there. You can certainly travel to Nova Scotia and check it out. I’m not sure if you live on the East or West coast but as for myself, I’m from the Northwest and have considered lately about taking a job in Canada, probably Nova Scotia. It’s hard because like you I”m in my 60s, have worked hard for two degrees, work, raised and daughter and cared for my granddaughter. I’m still struggling along in California (economy is worse than ever here), wondering why I haven’t joined the others who have been forced out or voluntarily moved out of the state. Basically, I do not feel valued or appreciated in my job (corporate world). Everyone is looking over their shoulders at work and I can’ say that I blame them. If you’d like me to provide a few websites about Canada, please let me know. I’ve been researching a move to Canada for several months now. Kind Regards, Sandy

    • Will says:


      A really beautiful area is Niagara on the Lake, which is a nice little town close to Niagara Falls. There are even wineries close by and a really relaxing atmosphere. I would highly recommend it than Toronto.

      I even met some American expats there and they seemed really happy. Even the houses are really nice there too. Its really peaceful and by a gorgeous lake.

      Here is a realty site with some properties there.


  • AliciaP. says:

    I will be giving up my U.S. citizenship but, it has nothing to do with taxes. My husband is Canadian and for many years though I am landed in Canada I intended to retire back in the U.S. near my family.

    That idea all changed for me during 2008 when I worked for the democrats and saw massive voter fraud being perpetrated by my own party against other members of the party with nary a peep from either the party or the media. The media knew as we had caught much of this fraud on tape but, they had refused to report on it. Two years later they have reported “some” of what they knew.

    One of the main reasons I remained a U.S. citizen other than my desire to move back there to be near family had to do with voting rights and having a bigger voice in the government or so I once believed.

    The level of utter corruption even by my own party was enough for me to realize there is no “there there” in the U.S. anymore for me.

    Both parties in the U.S. are wings of the same corrupt corporations though they both spew rhetoric which ramps up the people for votes and dollars.

    I’m out of there. The country I once thought of as “democratic” and the party I once thought as for “fair reflection” and “voter rights” are both gone for me now.

    I will HAPPILY give up my U.S. citizenship now as soon as my Canadian citizenship papers are complete and that’s not long coming for me. it is sad to me to see what has become of the party of FDR and the country but, I am honest enough with myself to realize this is not going to change in my life time. Canada is a much more humane country anyway.

    Perhaps I will have a voice there however small and perhaps when I vote it will make some small difference. Something that is nothing more than a manipulated game in the United States now.

    Maybe some are renouncing on tax issues alone but, some of us are renouncing out of a sense that we no longer matter at all in our own country whatsoever. Corps run our government in the U.S. NOT the people and they put in the W.H. whomever will play ball the most. Voting is gamed and has been for a long time. I just never realized the extent to which this was going on and I thought it was only the right wing going to such lengths. I know what I saw, I know what wasn’t done about it. I won’t stand with that.

    If I thought whistle blowing would make any difference I would stay and fight but, we tried that and a blind eye was turned. Once you lose voting rights it’s over anyway.

    It was a rude awakening but, I’m over it and moving on to a place where I can make a difference when I vote. That place is Canada. I am grateful to Canada for having me and promise to volunteer and work hard to do my part and contribute positively.

    The 2008 primary was a dirty, rigged mess, the party knew and did nothing all while claiming they are the party of “rights” With no other alternative except the republicans who are just as bad there’s no reason to stay as nothing good can come out of corporation pandering for the people of the U.S.

    I loved my country but, it has ceased to love its people therefore there is NO reason to stay spending blood, sweat and tears for a country that does not count your voice at all. Without voting rights you are voiceless.

    I am not the only person who has done this for these reasons. I know of a woman in Italy, one in the U.K. personally. Maybe there are more of us. If you renounce for “tax purposes” or whatever reason more power to you however some of us are being lumped in with the “tax purposes” folks who have many other legitimate reasons to renounce.