The sitting president can take credit for a lot of things (or lack of things, depending on how you look at it), but he has little to do with the fact that Americans are giving up their citizenship in record numbers.
According to Bloomberg, data from the Treasury Department shows that 2017 is about to set a record when it comes to individuals renouncing their American citizenship...and Trump isn't the reason.
Political strife may be an easy scapegoat, but Bloomberg actually points to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA), which went into effect back in 2010. Designed to keep people from skipping out on paying taxes, FACTA requires "foreign institutions holding assets for American expats to report those accounts or withhold a 30% tax on them," Bloomberg reports. Ever since FACTA was enacted, the number of expats has jumped exponentially and 2017 looks to mirror that trend.
Before FACTA, the number of expatriates didn't breach 1,000 per year, but starting in 2013, the number jumped over 3,000 and has risen steadily since. Last year, 5,411 people went through the process of giving up their U.S. citizenship. The Treasury Department hasn't posted fourth-quarter figures yet (that happens in February 2018), but if the trend prevails, 2017's number could come in at 6,813. The IRS actually keeps tabs on each and every person who decides to renounce their citizenship, including one very aptly named individual named "John Quitter."
Travel + Leisure adds that once an individual renounces their American citizenship, it's permanent and cannot be undone. In addition to an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy and signing an oath before a diplomatic officer, anyone looking to drop their citizenship has to pay a fee. The United States has the most expensive fee in the world for the process, at $2,350. Even with the hefty price tag, it does make sense for some people who live and work in other countries. Instead of paying taxes in both places, giving up U.S. citizenship lifts the burden of one country.
Yes, the political divide may be one reason for people to say that they're ready to pack it all up and live abroad, but in reality, it could boil down to financials and a pesky thing called tax evasion.
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