Why I renounced my US citizenship (Hint: it’s not because I’m avoiding taxes!)
Rachel Heller

I understand your frustration with all this. I don’t share the desire to renounce but I am also frustrated. I’m an American living abroad for over 8 years now and several things resonated with me.

Particularly voting. I saw comments where someone praised how they could continue voting in local California elections, which to me, seems utterly wrong. Residents of the local area deserve to vote on their issues, not people who are completely disconnected from the local policies. We have a lot more in common as expats despite being scattered across the globe than we do with people in the state we last resided. I would like to see some way for us to come together for representation as expats.

For taxes I have always used an accountant to handle filing because of the additional burden involved. I could file the paperwork myself but the penalties are steep and being outside of the US means any errors will proceed slower than normal. For example my first year abroad had tax issues from a midyear transition and the IRS sent mail that required action the day I would receive it. The loss of privacy is unjust and added burden is annoying. I would rather the tax code change to be resident based but don’t foresee this happening anytime soon.

Also when the IRS doesn’t have a similar type of financial vehicle as a foreign country it can label them as “Trust Fund” which implies a significant amount of extra paperwork. For example Canada has a Tax Free Savings account, its like a tax deferred IRA but a savings account, this is considered a “Trust Fund” because there is no US equivalent. Essentially you cannot use these types of funds because of the regulatory burden imposed.

The real issue I see coming our way will be when most of the banks stop allowing US citizens to hold accounts. Many banks already grumble about the burden and most local co-ops already forbid Americans. Without meaningful representation in the US we could lose our ability to bank locally, which is required when you have a mortgage, and Congress is likely to do nothing about it. Complaining to my state representative is going to fall on deaf ears as there won’t likely be enough similar complaints for my representative to take meaningful action.

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