Boehner: New law to punish tax-dodgers for renouncing citizenship ‘unnecessary’

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday supported legislation to punish individuals who renounced their citizenship in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes, but said such measures were already law.

“There’s already a law in the books,” Boehner told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s already against the law.”

Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) announced legislation last week designed to punish people who renounce their citizenship in order to dodge taxes. 

{mosads}Their bill, the Ex-Patriot Act, is a direct response to Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, who renounced his U.S. citizenship last year, and the senators had harsh words for what they called Saverin’s “scheme” to avoid paying taxes on his interest in the company, which went public last week. 

Saverin’s move saved him an estimated $67 million to $100 million in taxes. The wealthy technology investor however has said his change in citizenship was not an effort to avoid American taxes.

Boehner on Sunday said it is “absolutely outrageous” for anyone to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid taxes.

The Casey and Schumer legislation would punish any individual who renounces their citizenship and holds a net worth of $2 million or an average income tax liability of $148,000 over the last five years.

If the Internal Revenue Service determines that person gave up their passport for primarily tax reasons, the person’s U.S. assets would be taxed at 30 percent and they would be barred from ever re-entering the United States.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said his Democratic colleagues were overlooking the “root cause” of Saverin’s actions. A spokesperson from his office released a statement last week saying that wealthy expatriates seeking to renounce their American citizenship is a sign that the tax code needs to be fixed.

Tags Bob Casey Boehner Charles Schumer John Boehner Orrin Hatch
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