Nearly six thousand Americans renounced their citizenship in the first six months of 2020, a massive increase over the previous six months.
The numbers were reported by Bambridge Accountants New York, a firm which specializes in taxes for United Kingdom expatriates and U.S. citizens, which reviewed a government list of Americans who have renounced their citizenship. An IRS rule requires the government to publish these names every three months.
In the first six months of 2020, a whopping 5,816 Americans renounced their citizenship, more than twice the number who renounced in all of 2019. The first six months also showed a massive increase over the previous six months – a 1,210% increase from the 444 people who renounced during that time.
The second quarter of 2020 saw nearly the same number of Americans renounce their citizenship as the first quarter, when 2,909 renounced, creating a new record. Slightly fewer (2,907) renounced in the second quarter of 2020. Just 2,072 Americans abandoned their citizenship in all four quarters of 2019.
Bambridge reported that the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the current political climate and “onerous tax reporting” were the apparent reasons for the increase in Americans renouncing their citizenship. In their press release, Bambridge did not mention President Donald Trump as a specific reason people decided to renounce their citizenship, but when asked by CNN, Alistair Bambridge, a partner at the accounting firm, told the outlet: “What we’ve seen is people are over everything happening with President Donald Trump, how the coronavirus pandemic is being handled, and the political policies in the US at the moment.”
Bambridge explained in the press release that “the current pandemic has allowed individuals the time to review their ties to the U.S. and decide that the current political climate and annual US tax reporting is just too much to bear.”
“For U.S. citizens living abroad, they are still required to file U.S. tax returns each year, potentially pay U.S. tax and report all their foreign bank accounts, investments and pensions held outside the U.S. For many Americans this intrusion is too complicated, and they make the serious step of renouncing their citizenship as they do not plan to return to live in the U.S.,” Bambridge continued. “There has been a silver lining for U.S. expats that they have been able to claim the stimulus check of $1,200, and $500 for each child. For those individuals and families, the proposed second stimulus check will be very welcome once the HEALS Act is approved.”
Bambridge also reported that there are estimated to be 9 million U.S. expatriates and that the trend had been rapidly declining since 2017 – the year Trump became president. This year, however, changed everything, and the levels seen in the first six months of 2020 are the highest on record.
Americans who wish to renounce their citizenship must pay the government $2,350. Americans who live overseas must pay in person at the U.S. Embassy in the country in which they live.