2012’s Q1 has come to a close…What ARE those expatriation numbers?

It’s seems to take a couple of months for them to be published, but here’s the link to the Federal Register for those who would like to check periodically. Anyone care to make a guess what they would be? I say 850 Q1.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/search?conditions%5Bterm%5D=Section+6039G&commit=Go

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29 thoughts on “2012’s Q1 has come to a close…What ARE those expatriation numbers?

  1. Good find!! Perhaps we should put this link into the “sticky” above on “Relinquishment and Renunciation” as a ready reference. Thanks, bubblebustin!!

  2. Interesting…

    I’ve seen a lot of discussion about these numbers and suggestions that they are incorrect. I finally found a reference that says the US Gov is in fact only counting “covered expatriates”:

    “The Treasury Department is supposed to publish their names in the Federal Register each quarter. But the real numbers are much higher.

    One especially busy U.S. consulate in Switzerland expatriates three people daily, with appointments booked a year in advance. That comes to close to 1,000 expatriations annually—just from a single consulate.

    Another reason the official numbers are so low may be that the law mandating Federal Register reporting by the Treasury Department applies only to “covered expatriates.” These are individuals who have a net worth exceeding $2 million, or who meet other criteria, making them potentially subject to an exit tax.

    However, none of the covered expatriates my firm has helped expatriate has had his or her name published in the Federal Register.

    I think the government doesn’t want you to know that the number of people expatriating is exploding. And it’s willing to “cook the books” to make sure the information doesn’t get out.”

    Link: http://sovereignsociety.com/2010/07/28/6-big-expatriation-myths/

  3. I’ve mentioned Boris Johnson is the Mayor of London also with US citizenship problems.

    He made threatened in 2006 to renounce, but apparently he decided to use his own renunciation process by proclaiming to the press that he’s “divorcing American” is enough. (Boris Johnson could be his nom de plume but its unlikely).

    See link – https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/search?conditions%5Bterm%5D=Section+6039G%2Bboris%2Bjohnson

    The Federal register does go back to 2006, and in the search there are nobody buy the name Boris Johnson that has renounced. Yes…two Boris, and a few Johnsons, but no Boris Johnson.

    His birthname is:

    Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964)

    There doesn’t seem to be any Alexander Johnson that has renounced as well.

    Congradulations Boris….the US government still thinks you are a US Citizen and liable to file all income taxes and must comply with FATCA.

    Since you had your accountant in London produce a letter stating your UK financial affairs, perhaps you would like to produce your most recent 1040 as other “American” politicians have done during campaigns….just call Mitt Romney he’ll tell you how!

  4. I did a double cut and paste, (first to WP which preserved the table, then the first column to a spreadsheet) to yield a total of 360 entries. Your estimate of 850 indicates 42% (360/850) of renunciants are covered expatriates. I think 42% is much too high, the real ratio is probably less than 20% covered expatriates resulting in excess of 1700 Q1 renuncuations

  5. @rivka88, i took a stab at 850 basing it on the almost 1800 who renounced in all of 2011, as per the registry. I’m hardly being scientific, I know, but my gut tells me there might be that kind of increase there. I’m not taking outside the registry into account as I have no idea how many there are, and apparently no one else does either!

  6. @bubblebustin
    it is the engineer in me that tries to quantify everything. Also it is only a starting point.
    If anyone has better insights, we can arrive at a better estimate. The US does not want anyone to know what the real numbers. Demonstrably better and higher numbers would indicate the damage that US policies are causing, which is the story we want to spread.

  7. @John

    FWIW I have the impression that Boris Johnson thought he could renounce by announcing it in a magazine article.

  8. @rivka I guess we need to gather evidence that these numbers are in fact not complete in determining the total of renunciations. Yes, they are a good starting point and can we rely on them to at least be the minimum?(of course with the exception of the duplications). How do you know that the US doesn’t want anyone to know the real numbers are? As I’m learning about US bureaucracy, the right hand doesn’t often know what the right hand is doing 😉

  9. @bubblebustin
    I have no reliable sources, it is an assumption on my part. However, the US narrative is we are the best, we know what is best, everyone wants to an American, only the unpatriotic would abandon US citizenship. A real effort to count renunciants could lead to an examination of the policies affecting non-resident citizens. The current dialogue in the US is that we are all tax cheats,or worse, how will that lead to better policies? How will the US exports its products w/o shoes on the pavement selling those products? Even with consumers items we prefer to buy from a local vendor. This becomes critical for commercial or technical products.

  10. Regarding the discrepancy in numbers between reported and actual US citizensmexpatriating, I found a minor but interesting tidbit just now.

    Last year, I completed my very first 1040 (seven year’s worth, in fact!). Today, I’m completing my very last one since I nenounced on March 26. Yay! I noticed the 2011 1040 form has a small but significant change on it. At the top of the form, there is the usual name and address section. Added to it this year, however, are new spaces for “”Foreign country name”, “Foreign province/county” and “Foreign postal code”. These were added, I suspect, for all of the newly informed expats.

    Next to these, interestingly, is another addition. It’s the “Presidential Election Campaign” section where you can declare a $3.00 contribution for yourself and/or your wife. Seems odd to me.

  11. I would like to see the reference for the assertion that only covered expatriates appear in the Federal Register.

  12. The status of renunciation statistics has been a standing question with USxCanada InfoShop since inception.

    The things Nestmann says are interesting. All need external verification from more authoritative sources. This guy is a promoter. One of his details strikes me as flat-out wrong.

    Mike Gogulski, who posted once at Brock, likely is not a covered expatriate, and is on the official list. Counterexample to Nestmann’s facile assertion.

    The folk at http://renunciationguide.com are the experts. Perhaps a Brocker should solicit their further input. The web site is already generous in comment on this murky topic.

    Footnote 5 to Michel & Matthews is the most useful published comment I’ve seen on the skyrocketing trend. Earlier this week, verbal exchange with a tax preparer brings report of considerable inquiry about citizenship severance.

    Extrapolation from the Brock scorekeeping suggests that Canada alone could account for 500 to 1000 renunciations in 2012. Or more.

    Why should extraterritorial citizens have any confidence in a state that so obfuscates this data — not to mention the very process of getting free of its own presumptive clutches?

  13. Why wait for the US Department of State’s conclusions? Maybe someone can put a slick video on Youtube about the accerelated rate of US renunciations?

    Who knows 60 Minutes may find it interesting?

  14. Put in a request, freedom of information act, for details from GAO for the breakdown of account 0830 “Immigration, Passport and Consular Fees” to provide the detail of renunciation fees collected. These fees are accounted separately, so the information is available. Also request a breakdown by country and consulate. You then only need to divide by $450. FYI in 2011 the total “revenue” collected on account 0830 was $787 M.

  15. @John
    no joke, we need some investigative journalism on this subject. also, who in congress would look into the allegations? if it’s true that there’s a gag order on expatriations, someone would have had to order it.

  16. Hi there,

    I’m an American living in France and really appreciate this Web site.

    I’m sure this has been posted here before, but you might want to check out http://www.overseas-exile.com/2012/03/more-americans-giving-up-citizenship.html

    I wrote that to try to get a better idea of how many people are *really* giving up their US citizenship. The Federal Register publishes a poorly developed list of renunciations, but not relinquishments. I tried to rectify that, but it’s very hard to get accurate data (and the laws vary quite a bit from country to country).

    From my experience, I would estimate that in reality, between 4000 to 6000 Americans are giving up their citizenship per year and I expect that number to grow.

    I’ve also written some software to try to track the Federal Register data on the topic, but their data files are very poorly organized, so I haven’t had time to return to it.

    Cheers,
    Curtis “Ovid” Poe

  17. @Titus: “I would like to see the reference for the assertion that only covered expatriates appear in the Federal Register.”

    Perhaps this?

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/6039G

    “…the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the name of each individual losing United States citizenship (within the meaning of section 877(a) or 877A) …”

    And following the 877(a) link:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/877

    “EXPATRIATION TO AVOID TAX… This section shall apply to any individual if—
    (A) the average annual net income tax … is greater than $124,000,
    (B) the net worth of the individual as of such date is $2,000,000 or more, or…”

  18. @usxcanada: “Mike Gogulski, who posted once at Brock, likely is not a covered expatriate, and is on the official list. Counterexample to Nestmann’s facile assertion.”

    Mike Gogulski writes that he specifically requested the IRS add his name to the list, because it wasn’t there automatically (probably he was not “covered”). Eventually they did so.

    http://www.nostate.com/4089/at-long-last/

  19. The number of people listed in the registry may be the number of 8854 forms received. This is only a guess, but probably as good as any.

  20. Mike Gogulski wrote in his blog that he answered “no” to the question on Form 8854 about being up-to-date with his tax filing. That would make him a covered expatriate and explains why they published his name on the list.

  21. @rødgrød: Just so. The 8854 question I answered “no” to goes roughly:

    “Do you certify, under penalty of perjury, that you have complied with all of your US tax obligations for the past five years?”

    I imagine that most of the discerning readers here can spot at least one problem in saying “yes” to the above, and one they just don’t need.

    For the permanent record, now that I’m a “covered expatriate”, I’ve been very “willfully” not filing assets&income statements to the IRS annually. The penalty for willfully failing to file is $10k per instance, with a horizon of 10 years. I suppose that means that if I tried to cross a US border today I’d be thrown into the gaol until someone dropped $40k on Uncle Sam to free me. Plus costs of arrest and incarceration, of course.

  22. @ mike I asked a question like this at Phil Hodgen’s blog. They say there is no debtors prison, not yet, in the United States. It seems unlikely that they would arrest you until you paid up. They may refuse entry.

    Thus, I would not risk an expensive prepaid vacation in the United States. Say you have a cruise that sets off from Galveston or Miami, and the border guard doesn’t let you into the country. That’s a lot of money down the drain. But if my dad is ailing and I have to go see him, well I might risk it. My sister, a lawyer, could check to see if their are any warrants for my arrest.

    I avoid the US now as a backlash, not because I’m afraid of being arrested. But I’m causing so much trouble here at Isaac Brock, they are likely to give me hell at the border or use a smart bomb to kill me, like they did al-alwaki. They claim the right to kill citizens. I’m not a citizen any more. So they have the right to kill me too, a fortiori.

  23. Agree with the scepticism on this thread – These numbers represent only the “covered expatriates”. I think that the real number will be in excess of 10,000 this year and will increase exponentially in the next two years as FATCA becomes really public and the other 5 million people who had no idea get clued in…

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