March 19, 2012 - Phil Hodgen

Recent expatriation experience in Frankfurt

An email arrived from a frequent correspondent who has told me in the past not to share his contact details. I am in Jakarta. Jet lag. Up since 3 am. So I’m posting it to the blog.

This is more evidence of a sea-change at the State Department for dealing with expatriates.


I offer the recent experience of a client with the Frankfurt Consulate to add to your collection of anecdotes:

Client made contact to renounce and was sent a packet of clear and concise info with the usual standardized warnings.
Made a renunciation appointment.
Paid his fee.
Was in and out in less than 30 minutes.
No muss, no fuss, i.e. apart from a standardized warning to “do the right thing taxwise” there was no irrelevant questioning by State Dept. personnel concerning matters of no concern to them like motivation, past tax filing history, FBARs or Form 8854.

I see no reason for the US to discourage expatriation of persons who are US citizens only by operation of law. It is a clear “win-win” for all concerned.

Both the erstwhile “citizen” and the US government get rid of a useless burden.

In the case of the citizen, they are relieved of the costs of complying with the nonsensical obligation to file tax returns and otherwise keep the US government informed about his/her financial comings and goings.

In the case of the US Government they get rid of the obligation to process said tax returns which, even if duly filed usually produce nothing but processing costs or refundable credit payment obligations for the US; ditto for the idiotic FuBAR and other “gotcha” reporting requirements.

These “citizens” are no loss to the US. They have no emotional attachments, few, if any, financial attachments and zero political loyalty to the USA.

Plus, the US (i.e. the State Department) gets to pocket a $450 fee which because of the Congress’ blockheaded refusal to properly fund consular operations overseas they desperately need to pay their light bill among other things.

So it’s no wonder the present policy concerning renunciation at State seems to be: “Pay your fee, get in line, 4 windows, no waiting”.

The IRS’s “loss” is the State Department’s gain.