US Hikes Fee to Renounce Citizenship by 422 Percent to $2,350

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 08:10 PM

By F.J. McGuire

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The United States plans to hike the fees it charges American citizens to give up their passports as the nation also tries to stem the tide of U.S. businesses moving headquarters overseas.

The State Department has boosted the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship by 422 percent to $2,350 from $450.

The State Department claims the new fee is the actual cost of processing an application to lose citizenship.

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

“Demand for the service has increased dramatically, consuming far more consular officer time and resources,” Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy wrote, according to Global News.

“Documenting a U.S. citizen’s renunciation of citizenship is extremely costly, requiring American consular officers overseas to spend substantial amounts of time to accept, process, and adjudicate cases,” he wrote. “The department believes there is no public benefit or other reason for setting this fee below cost.”

The wait time for an expatriation interview has increased to as much as six months in some areas, while it is as short as two to four weeks in others, a State Department spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.  He added that three-quarters of all renunciations are processed by consular offices in Canada, the U.K. and Switzerland.

In recent years, the United States has seen a 221 percent surge in Americans renouncing their citizenship, according to Forbes. “It isn’t exactly Ellis Island in reverse, but it’s more than a dribble. With global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounced is up,” Forbes reported.

Meanwhile, the Canada Free Press reported that both U.S. citizens and American business want to free the home of the brave because of the double-pronged whammy of “high taxes and burdensome tax compliance” in foreign jurisdictions.

“Instead of facing the problems directly, the Obama Administration has resorted to punitive measures. The shame and blame tactic of calling out businesses who wish to relocate as “unpatriotic” was undignified. Perhaps realizing that using the same strategy with individuals would be even less well received, they went the more quiet, direct route,” the CFP’s Alan Joel wrote.

The new amount is "more than 20 times the average level in other high-income countries," according to the Isaac Brock Society, which describes itself as a group of "individuals who are concerned about the treatment by the United States government of US persons who live in Canada and abroad."

The United States has been battling a rising tide of tax inversion, commonly defined as the relocation of a corporation's headquarters to a lower-tax nation, or corporate haven, usually while keeping key operations in its higher-tax country of origin.

International Business Times reported that Burger King Worldwide Inc.'s plans to buy 51 percent of the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc. for $11.4 billion may have been about saving on taxes by moving to Canada.

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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