US citizenship renunciations climb as Fatca weighs in

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / EDITOR’S NOTEPAD – Americans in Switzerland who once felt they were alone in wondering if their passport was worth the cost and hassle are now part of a growing crowd, as the numbers of people renouncing US citizenship continue to climb. The total of names published in the Federal Register topped 1,000 for a quarter, for the first time ever, 8 August.

The numbers show only those who renounced, not the number waiting, since some consulates have waiting lists, including Switzerland, according to people I’ve spoken to recently who phoned for appointments.

It also doesn’t show non-US citizens who opt to give up their green cards, reportedly some 4,000 a year.

Forbes and the Bangkok Post are among the media drawing attention to this for wider audiences, outside Switzerland and Canada, where the question of US citizenship has been a  hot issue since 2009. At that point the US government began to talk about Fatca, a law that goes into effect in July 2014, after delays, to tax US citizens’ assets held abroad. It also began to enforce a 2002 anti-terrorism law unknown to many Americans living abroad, FBar, with a separate set of filing requirements.

Forbes makes a point that rarely comes up, that it is possible, if rare, to give up US citizenship and then succeed in getting back, with actress Elizabeth Taylor as the shining example.