According to official figures and experts cited by the Wall Street Journal, almost 2,400 people so far this year have either given up their U.S. citizenship or turned in their green cards. That means the numbers thus far are up by at least 33 percent over 2011, when 1,781 did so, more than twice as many as in preceding years. In 2012, meanwhile, almost 2,000 people reportedly decided to permanently sever Uncle Sam’s grip, and experts say the real numbers are even higher. By comparison, just 742 renounced their citizenship in 2009.
The exodus is widely expected to continue or even accelerate — especially among the wealthy and mobile — unless and until Congress takes action to rein in the IRS and reduce the draconian burdens imposed on Americans abroad. The U.S. government, of course, is almost unique in the world in that it demands that citizens pay U.S. taxes and file massive amounts of complex paperwork no matter where on the planet they reside and work. According to reports, the only other government in the world to seek tribute from citizens abroad is the one ruling Eritrea.
“The reality is that the U.S. tax system gives dual citizens a good reason to walk away from their U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status,” former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Neiman was quoted as saying in a recent CNBC report about the growing trend. “It's a painful process but easier than staying in compliance with the law.” Other experts echoed those sentiments, saying that, despite the costs, renunciation of U.S. citizenship is an increasingly appealing option — and probably easier than keeping track of the ever-changing American tax code.