Number Of Americans Renouncing Citizenship Triples Over Tax Woes

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Last year 3,000 Americans showed up at embassies around the world to renounce their citizenship. 

Americans abroad are putting money first, and the rights and priveleges of being an American citizen second.

The number of Americans who renounced citizenship in 2013 is triple the average in the previous five years, according to CNN Money.

The government taxes American nationals on all income, regardless of where it is earned. Some ex-pats tired of dealing with ever-changing tax regulations and complicated filings, which many hire experts to tease out.

"They've become so complicated -- the increased filing obligations over the years," tax lawyer Brad Westerfield told CNN. "You see more people giving up their citizenship or relinquishing their green cards ... Individuals [are] wanting to simplify their financial affairs, and just pay tax and report to one jurisdiction."

Westerfield said the 2010 renunciations coincide with a law going into effect that requires individual to report foreign assets as low at $50,000, in addtion to disclosing foreign bank holdings larger than $10,000.

Another law is taking effect now that requires all financial institutions to report any foreign accounts held by Americans.

"People find that intrusive," Westerfield said. "Just because you live your life outside of the U.S., most of your assets are foreign assets. [Americans are] saying enough is enough."

Penalties to banks which don’t properly comply are steep, leading some to abandon American clients. 

"The U.S. used to be the 'Rolls Royce' of destinations - the land of opportunity,” Hong Kong-based immigration lawyer Eugene Chow told CNN. “Both naturalized and native-born American citizens are choosing to say goodbye to Uncle Sam today.”

Sources: CNN Money, Daily Mail