„Heim ins Reich“

Renunciation Fed Reg

Concerning the renunciation of US American citizenship, I read this in an internet group list:

„I was informed at the Bezirksamt that if you make under a certain amount of money brutto (I believe it was around 2300 Euro) you *may* be able to keep your American citizenship. I don’t know why the law is this way.“

How can a communal government in Germany decide whether an American citizen can keep his or her citizenship when applying for German citizenship based on personal income? This does however reflect the mindset of the American government which issues passports not for travel purposes alone. The passport also requires a financial obligation; No other country in the world taxes its non-resident citizens for income earned abroad.

Millions of non-resident American citizens are not counted in the federal census which is the basis for determining election districts. Therefore, a vote from abroad doesn’t carry the weight of a US resident citizen’s vote. Although the tax exclusion on foreign earned income for non-residents is relatively high, all other taxes are equally applicable to residents and non-residents. And the US government requires all non-residents to report on all of their bank accounts, e.g. simple giro accounts necessary for everyday needs. Taxable non-resident citizens don’t have the same access to government services as do US residents: no health care, no unemployment, no driver’s licence: However, social security remains untouched for citizens and non-citizens alike.

The Obama administration introduced a fee for the renunciation of US citizenship. From an initial $450 in July 2010, the fee has since jumped to $2350 in September 2014. If a wealthier expatriate’s average annual U.S. income tax liability over the last five years was over $145,000 or his/her net worth exceeds $2 million, that person may be required to pay an “exit tax”.  Net worth is equal to value of estate and is calculated as if the expatriate had died. This tax has a forerunner in the Weimar government’s Reichsfluchtsteuer, which the Nazis changed into an expropriation tax, especially on “rich Jews” desiring to leave the Reich. Whether Obama’s exit tax and the Nazi law embody the same intent is debatable. In any case, the Obama administration regards different categories of citizenship based on wealth, and also based upon residency in a modern world of travel and communication.

It’s a shame that the US government doesn’t recognize the potential in having a portion of its citizens as unofficial representatives in foreign countries for business and cultural purposes. Instead, these usually open-minded and experienced citizens are imposed with excessive tax filing work, limited services and when they are driven to renounce their citizenship in order to protect their non-US spouses and children, they are publicly denounced in “name and shame” lists, published quarterly in the Federal Register by the US government.

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