Record number of Americans abroad giving up citizenship

Record number of Americans abroad giving up citizenship
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A record 1,335 Americans living overseas renounced their citizenship in the first three months of 2015, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

That number is 18 percent higher than the previous record, according to Bloomberg. In all of 2014, 3,415 individuals gave up their U.S. citizenship, the second straight year when renouncements hit a new record high.

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The data only provided the names of Americans giving up their passports, and not their reasons for doing so. But the spike comes as the U.S. government is getting more aggressive about ensuring that Americans living abroad are unable to hide funds that should be taxed back home.

The 2010 Foreign Account Tax and Compliance Act (FATCA) required foreign banks to report on accounts held by U.S. citizens. Roughly 110 countries and 160,000 financial institutions have agreed to comply with the law, even as the U.S. stands apart from most other nations by taxing income its citizens make while living anywhere in the world.

The Obama administration touts FATCA as the “global standard” in battling tax evasion, but it has come under criticism from some, including many Americans living abroad who argue it is too burdensome.

Furthermore, the U.S. government has reached a number of high-profile settlements with foreign banks, particularly in Switzerland, over their efforts to help Americans hide income in foreign accounts.