Blog   /   Expatriation

March 13, 2018 - Phil Hodgen

The New Tax Law and Expatriation: New Reasons to Renounce

Our trusted servants in Washington DC blessed us with a new tax law, effective December 22, 2017. The new law–the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 20171  –did not change the expatriation tax rules, but it did make expatriation more attractive to a certain group of Americans abroad.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act2 changed many, many parts of the Internal Revenue Code. The international tax rules, in particular, have been massively changed.

But Congress did not touch Sections 877A or 2801 of the Internal Revenue Code. Those are the two special-purpose statutes that impose tax on people who renounce US citizenship or abandon their green cards.... continue reading

February 27, 2018 - Phil Hodgen

Tax Liabilities and Your Form 8854 Balance Sheet

Net Worth Test and Covered Expatriate Status

We help many, many people with their expatriation, and the number 2 problem we fix is net worth. Bad tax things happen if a person is a covered expatriate.

A person is a covered expatriate if he or she has a net worth of $2,000,000 or more.1 An expatriate reports all assets and liabilities on Form 8854.

The planning question is simple: “How can I reduce my net worth so I can report a value below $2,000,000 on the Form 8854 balance sheet?”2 If you are able to reduce your net worth below $2,000,000, you may be able to avoid covered expatriate status.... continue reading

February 13, 2018 - Phil Hodgen

Strategic Reasons to become a US Tax Resident Again

Sometimes people who expatriate become U.S. taxpayers again. This might happen because life intervenes (family or job reasons make a return to the United States necessary or desirable). Or, becoming a U.S. taxpayer again might be good for tax reasons.

Let’s look at this piece of the expatriate’s life after expatriation.


Two Types of Tax Residents

There are two types of “residents” for U.S. tax purposes:

  • Income tax. A nonresident noncitizen of the United States might become a resident of the United States for income tax purposes only. The result? Pay U.S. income tax on worldwide income, and file all of the tax paperwork that the United States demands of its residents and citizens.
... continue reading
January 30, 2018 - Phil Hodgen

The Consequences of Filing Form 8854 Late

Form 8854, I like to say, is how you log out of the U.S. tax system when you give up U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. Let’s look at the procedural aspects of this mandatory paperwork:

  • Why you must file Form 8854;
  • When you must file Form 8854; and
  • What happens if you don’t file Form 8854 on time?
Why Form 8854 Exists


Congress imposed the data collecting requirements for expatriates. The IRS took these instructions from Congress and, wielded its its general authority under 6011 to design forms and collect data. Form 8854 is the result. The IRS also took its authority under 6071 and set the filing deadlines that we work with.... continue reading

January 16, 2018 - Phil Hodgen

Why (Some) Expatriates Cannot Own Guns

I want to give you a slight detour from tax law to see a little-known Federal law that applies to U.S. citizens who renounce their nationality.

The topic is guns–former U.S. citizens cannot (legally) own them. The topic is interesting in its own right, but it is meta-interesting too:

  • It shows how anti-expatriate fervor has seeped into Federal law generally; and
  • How few people have seen this and care about it, either in specific application or for its implications.

You might not care about guns. You might be violently anti-gun (haha see what I did there?). But the propensity for ever-extending tendrils of Federal legislation might be of interest to you.... continue reading