More Rich Americans Renounce U.S. Citizenship for Lower Taxes
By JONATHAN BERR
A U.S.-born resident of Ireland recently came into some money after he and his wife sold a farm they inherited from her parents. Instead of enjoying his windfall, the man is furious at the Internal Revenue Service for penalizing him for running afoul of the agency’s confusing regulations regarding the reporting of income from foreign bank accounts. He is so mad, according to his attorney, Jane Bruno, that he’s considering renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
While such a move is drastic, it’s also becoming increasingly common. In fact, so many people are eager to renounce their U.S. citizenship for tax reasons, that in some U.S. embassies there’s a waiting list to escape from the clutches of Uncle Sam.
Part of the reason for the rising interest in renunciation is burdensome rules like the one about foreign accounts designed to catch people who use quitting their citizenship as a way to illegally duck their tax obligations, says Bruno, who is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Irish resident, whom she declined to name, was slapped with a penalty of several thousand dollars.
“These penalties that they came up with are oversized when compared to the misdeeds that were committed,” Bruno says.
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