The Rising Cost of Saying Goodbye to the US

A few weeks ago, the IRS published its quarterly ‘name and shame’ list in the Federal Register. That’s the list federal law requires the agency to maintain of individuals who give up their US citizenship. The official name is ‘Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen to Expatriate.’
Whatever you call it, getting on this list makes you an enemy of the state – in an instant, you are blacklisted.
The image of former US citizens living tax-free in some tropical paradise is an irresistible populist target. Rep. Sam Gibbons (D-FL), referring to expatriates, spoke of ‘the despicable act of renouncing allegiance to the United States.’ Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) supported an ‘exit tax,’ which is now in effect, under President Clinton on the basis of ‘basic patriotism and basic fairness.’ Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), described expatriates as, ‘Benedict Arnolds who would sell out their citizenship, sell out their country in order to maintain their wealth.’
Some of the attacks have been downright personal. When Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin gave up his US citizenship in 2012, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) accused him of de-friending the US ‘just to avoid paying taxes.’
But the hate-mongering hasn’t slowed down the number of Americans expatriating. Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the number of citizens expatriating has skyrocketed from 231 in 2008 to 4,279 in 2015. That’s an increase of 1,752%!

This post was published at Lew Rockwell on September 2, 2016.