The Corner

Breathes There a Man, with Soul So Dead…

… that he’d renounce his American citizenship because his taxes are too high? Apparently so.  This rogues gallery is listed in the Federal Register each quarter; the most recent listing is here.

Sure, it’s absurd that we’re the only developed nation to tax its citizens on income earned while living abroad (in addition to the taxes they have to pay to their country of residence). The only thing Leviathan hasn’t yet done is follow up on the Monty Python quip (in the “Spanish Inquisition” episode) that “To boost the British economy I’d tax all foreigners living abroad.”

But if you’re giving up your citizenship for tax reasons, you just weren’t all that committed to America in the first place. It’s one thing if a person moves abroad, develops an increasingly strong attachment to that other country, and eventually decides to switch his exclusive political allegiance — if that works for you, great. But the issue here is mainly one of dual citizenship; people who hold both U.S. and another citizenship (or two or three) and who now find it too expensive to keep their U.S. passport of convenience. Rather than trying to flush out these scoundrels with rapacious tax measures, it would be much better to simply to make the exercise of dual citizenship a federal offense. John Fonte wrote a great overview of the dual citizenship issue for me last year, and found that even Earl Warren, who overturned the previous rules on dual citizenship (by finding it “unconstitutional” to strip people of citizenship if they, say, voted abroad), said that it would be acceptable to outlaw the exercise of dual citizenship.

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