More Americans Are Set to Renounce Their Citizenship in 2017 Than Ever, Up 26% From 2016

Americans living abroad are often required to pay taxes in two countries, and that is causing record numbers to turn their backs on the country of their birth.

The number of Americans jumping ship this year is on track to set a new record.

Last year, a total of 5,411 Americans decided to renounce their citizenship to become expatriates, but this year will be even higher. Right now, the US is currently on pace to exceed last year’s number by more than 25 percent, if fourth-quarter results from in 2017 keep abreast of the last quarter of 2016.

If so, that means the annual number of US expatriates will have risen by more than 50 percent in just two years — that’s about 100 percent over three years.

Many people will assume that this has something to do with America’s broken political system, or perhaps something to do with senseless gun violence, or possibly due to some US citizens choosing to live in a western democracies with universal health care.

But, as far as we know, renouncing American citizenship is almost never about politics. Instead, it’s about taxes. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was enacted in 2010, but it’s just been starting to bite in recent years. It makes it difficult to be an American living abroad.

The law, passed by the Obama administration, requires foreign banks to report income and deposit information about foreign nationals. In some cases, banks would prefer to turn away US-born customers rather than create a required paper trail.

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