A Record — But Still Pretty Tiny — Number of People Have Renounced Their U.S. Citizenship This Year

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Photo: Corbis

The Treasury Department just released its quarterly list of people who have gone through the lengthy process of renouncing their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency so far this year, and it’s a record-breaking 1,335. That number puts 2015 on pace to beat 2014’s record-breaking total of 3,415. Why are more people renouncing citizenship? Experts credit 2010’s Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, which sought to make sure wealthy people keeping money in foreign banks couldn’t evade taxes — but also made foreign banks wary of dealing with any American citizens abroad. A lawyer told NPR in 2014“If I can compare it to romance, I say the U.S. is like Fatal Attraction. Once they’ve got you, they never let you go. You have to renounce your citizenship, or you have to die.” On the other hand, it is nothing like Fatal Attraction, because 1,335 — although record-breaking — is still very small and nothing to worry about, since hundreds of millions of people still live here.