Boehner, in an interview with ABC News that aired on Sunday, didn’t close the door on bringing up the bill from Casey and Schumer, declaring it was “outrageous” for someone to ditch their citizenship for tax reasons.
Still, Boehner’s comments also appeared to be one of the first suggestions that the bill could have a path forward in the GOP-controlled House. Other congressional Republicans — including key tax-writers like Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) — have said that, instead of going after people like Saverin, the Uinted States should reform its tax code in a way to make keeping citizenship more attractive.
The anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist was more strident in his criticism last week, comparing the proposal from Schumer and Casey to policies enacted by the Nazis and communist regimes.
Under the Democratic bill, an American who renounces his or her citizenship with either a net worth of at least $2 million or who owed an average of at least $148,000 in income taxes over the previous five years would be assumed to be a tax evader, and would have to prove otherwise to the IRS.
If the federal government believes someone gave their citizenship up for tax reasons, they would then be barred from returning to the United States and their capital gains from American investments would be taxed at a 30 percent rate.
Schumer and Casey have both said that law now on the books to target expatriate tax evaders does not give the nation enough enforcement authority.
The proposal from the two senators also fits in with Democrats’ election-year messaging on tax fairness and economic equality, with Schumer and Casey making the case that Saverin walked away from the United States after the country helped him become a billionaire.
The Senate has already held one vote on the so-called Buffett Rule, which is named for the billionaire investor Warren Buffett and would install a minimum tax rate on millionaires. Meanwhile, President Obama’s campaign has been hammering Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, for his private-equity record with Bain Capital.
Schumer has also dismissed Saverin’s declaration that his move was not because of taxes, noting that Singapore does not tax capital gains.