Opinion

Great Again: Fewer Americans Renouncing Citizenship Under Trump

ALESSANDRO RAMPAZZO/AFP/Getty Images

Rudy Takala Contributor

The number of Americans who renounced their citizenship in the third quarter of 2018 has declined for the third consecutive year, according to data released by the Treasury Department, reversing a rapid uptick that took place during President Obama’s tenure in office.

According to IRS data published in the Federal Register on Monday, 1,107 people renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residence in the third quarter of 2018. That’s a 20-percent decline from the Obama-era record for the same period when 1,426 people renounced in the third quarter of 2015. It’s also a decline for the same period in 2016 and 2017, when the figure was respectively 1,380 and 1,376.

Prior to Obama’s tenure in office, fewer than 1,000 Americans expatriated annually. After Congress passed — and Obama signed — the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in March of that year, the figure skyrocketed and hit a new annual record for each of the next six years. The law required Americans and green-card holders outside the United States to file reports on financial accounts held overseas.

The feds tried to stop the exodus by increasing the fee to expatriate from $450 to $2,350 in 2014, but the move failed. The number of those who expatriated hit an all-time record in 2016 of 5,411 before dropping to 5,133 in 2017. (RELATED: More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship)

A total of 3,296 people have renounced over the first three quarters of 2018, making it likely that the year-end figure will decrease for the second consecutive year of President Trump’s administration.

Treasury began collecting the data in 1996 but does not distinguish between green-card and passport holders.

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