Renounce Citizenship USA

Simon Misiewicz

Simon Misiewicz

Expat & Property Tax Specialist

6th March 2022

What are the basics of Americans renouncing US citizenship to prevent the payment of US tax to the IRS?

We know that the frustration over US taxes and FATCA pushes more US ex-pats to consider renouncing US citizenship.

It is possible to renounce US citizenship by Americans, avoid most future US taxes and still receive income and benefits from the United States.

Renunciation can be a positive and attractive option for individuals looking to simplify their lives and reduce taxes in the US, especially in light of Global intangible low-taxed income.

This often includes situations where Americans have lived and worked in a different country for an extended period, raised a family there, owned property, and possibly other assets in that country.

Renouncing US citizenship can provide a way to simplify the burdens of maintaining ties to the US through nationality.

Before undertaking to renounce US citizenship, it is worth fully understanding how this will impact your rights and legal obligations.

Whilst you are reading this, an American living in the United Kingdom, you may be interested to learn more about the UK and US tax treaties.

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How do Americans renounce US citizenship in the UK?

The renunciation process for Americans comprises two key stages:

* Submission of documents including Form DS 4079

* In-person interview at a US Embassy outside the US

Failure to meet any of these requirements, such as applying within the US, will not constitute renunciation.

The processing fee of $2,350 must also be paid. This is the highest renunciation fee in the world.

Renunciation becomes official on reciting the Oath of Renunciation; then, you are issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

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What are the benefits of renouncing US citizenship for Americans?

One of the most significant benefits of renouncing US citizenship is that non-covered ex-pats have no immediate US tax liability.

You must file Form 8854 with your final tax return to determine if you are a ‘Covered Expatriate’ or ‘Non-Covered Expatriate’.

A Covered Expatriate may be subject to an exit tax. This is a way for the IRS to ensure that Americans do not renounce their US citizenship to avoid a hefty US tax payment.

To be considered a Non-Covered Expatriate (and exempt from exit tax), the following conditions must be satisfied:

* Americans must have filed taxes for the five years preceding the year you renounce US citizenship

* Americans born as dual citizens that are taxed as a resident of another country cannot live in the US for more than 10 of the last 15 years

If Americans are Covered Expatriates, they may be required to pay an exit tax based on the gain on items they own, such as property, stocks and bonds.

Even after Americans renounce US citizenship, they may still have US tax filing requirements. Potentially US tax may need to be paid if Americans hold property, investments or financial assets located in the US and foreign counties within Controlled Foreign Corporations.

Another benefit of renouncing US citizenship is that you don’t need to liquidate assets and investments in the US.

After renunciation, you are considered a non-resident alien (NRA), so the US’s financial activity on investments and/or assets needs to be reported on Form 1040NR instead of the previously-used Form 1040.

American tax rates on various items will depend on the tax rates in the UK in which you are a resident and any tax treaty the US has in place with the UK.

Non-business related income will be taxed at 30% unless the US-UK tax treaty states otherwise.

Business-related income is taxed using the tax tables provided by the IRS. It uses similar tax rates as Form 1040.

A third benefit of renouncing US citizenship is that Social Security benefits are available to those who qualify.

If you have paid into Social Security for a full 40 quarters, you are eligible to collect benefits when you retire.

As an NRA, you can usually continue to collect US Social Security just as you would if you remained s US citizen.

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Will Americans need to fill out Form 8854 before renouncing US citizenship?

Before Americans renounce US citizenship in the UK, they must fill out Form 8854 and attach it to their final US 1040 tax return.

To qualify as a Non-Covered Expatriate, Americans must meet the following criteria:

* Your net worth (retirement accounts, bank accounts, property values owned inside and outside the US) is below $2M on the date of your renunciation.

* You are allowed to gift up to $145,000 to an NRA spouse every year and avoid paying gift taxes.

* You must file Form 8854 in the year following your renouncing US citizenship.

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