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  1. By relinquishing citizenship due to acquiring citizenship in a foreign country will one still need to have filed tax returns in the preceding five years?

  2. @Tracy,

    Renee can tell you specifically what she did, but I _think_ what she is talking about is filing the right kind of papers (start with Form DS-4079) with the Secretary of State to claim that you took an action at some point in the past that you intended to be an abandonment of your U.S. nationality.

    You will have to point to one of the factors in 8 U.S.C. § 1481(a) for this. Once you have identified the event in your life, then next thing is to be able to prove intent: you took this action with the intention of abandoning U.S. nationality.

    The usual one is acquiring a second citizenship. This is most common with Canadians who acquired citizenship in the ’60s and 70s. They moved north from the United States, acquired citizenship in Canada, and never looked back. They saw themselves as Canadian and ran their lives that way. This is not necessarily easy, and it does not necessarily always work (your friendly U.S. civil servant in your friendly random U.S. Consulate or Embassy might wake up on the wrong side of the bed on the morning that you appear in his office). But that’s the strategy. If it works, you save the filing fee. If it does not, you are backed into the corner of doing a renunciation.

  3. Hi Renee,

    “I did not have to pay the fee to “relinquish” my US citizenship. I have filed all my papers and made a statement ”

    If I could ask- what your basic situation was to renounce, what papers you were required to file, & what you stated? Had you ever filed US taxes since moving to your new country &/or had you ever voted after leaving? This is what I’d most like to have an example of so I can understand it all. The articles, while good, are still just outside of actually specifying it.

    Cheers & thanks for writing,


  4. Hi Tracey;
    Go to this website; it may help you. This is where I found tons of information on relinquishment, real stories, examples and found out that I did not have to pay the fee to “relinquish” my US citizenship. I have filed all my papers and made a statement and am currently waiting to hear from the IRS.

  5. I looked quickly for an exception to the fee based on low income, and did not find it. Sorry.

    And yes, there is much that is unsavory about the whole renunciation process.

    Your way out of the renunciation process is to find a reason that you can hang your hat on to prove “relinquishment” (i.e., termination of U.S. nationality by some other reason than renunciation). That’s actually free if you can do it.

    N.B. on terminology. “Relinquishment” is the formal concept. There are six ways to do it. Renunciation (at a price of USD 2,350) is one of the six ways to go.

  6. So, what are the steps to relinquish by notifying the Dept. of State? Is there anything, anywhere, that actually lays it out? Like, what the letter needs to state or say, anything specific? To whom does it get addressed (Dear Dept. of State sounds stupid)?

    If I had a spare $3000 lying around I might go through it. But even that whole event seems like some sort of ritualistic “shaming”. Not one meeting, but two, so “you can go home & think about it”> WTF??! What I “think” is that it takes my entire day to go to Perth– during which I lose money because I cannot work while I am there going to idiotic “interviews”…I want out before it gets any worse!

    There has to be a way to bypass that $3000.00 shaft.

  7. @Tracy,

    The new price is indeed high — USD 2,350. I do not know what to tell you. Yes I think it is a moral outrage. Yes, the argument from “it costs us that much money to process the paperwork” is utter self-serving myopic corrosive bullshit from the people who made up the procedural rules that supposedly cost so much to follow. Yes, you are essentially an indentured servant to the U.S. government.

    But I am not bitter. 🙂

    Sorry to say, I have no good answer for you. Pay the blood price and leave the United States behind, or continue to suffer the expense of annual tax filings with the United States — and the indignities of FATCA’s interruption of your daily life in Australia.

    Those are the choices.

    All that aside,

  8. I am a dual US/AU & wish to relinquish/renounce my US citizenship.

    On the American Embassy website for Perth, AU– it states over $3000.00! to renounce!

    WTF??? It went from $450 to $3000.00?

    I made 16k last year…is this fee correct? Is there a way to give up my citizenship w/o paying that ridiculous fee???


  9. By the way, if anyone is interested, I did write an article on the Ex-Patriot act, “No civilized country would ever ban Eduardo Saverin” ( and in order to address the barbarism of the plan to exile expatriates.

  10. Please note that the banishment clause in the Reed Amendment and the Ex Patriot act both seem to target people who renounce. Also, the FBI keeps a list of those who renounce in order to prevent them from by firearms in the United States. Also, it appears that renunciants are not permitted to transport certain hazardous materials in the United States.

    If Senator Schumer gets his way, it may only affect renunciants. In that case, being in too big a hurry to renounce and get out, may be detrimental. This summer I had to visit Alaska to search for my father who was missing. Imagine if the inhumane Schumer gets his way, and I had renounced instead of relinquished.

    It is written on the CLN and in the cancelled passport which manner of expatriation a person used. I think becoming a citizen of a foreign country with the intent to relinquish is a more positive move. It is not renouncing the US, but embracing one’s new home.

  11. I actually don’t care about the 450.00. I would rather relinquish since I took Canadian citizenship for that purpose. I also feel that I hold no ill will towards American citizens and relinquishing since becoming Canadian rather than “renouncing” seems more reasonable to me. I don’t think everyone relinquishing is doing so just to avoid the 450.00. I do agree that for some that’s a high cost when you consider many people don’t live near the embassy, must pay to travel, pay to stay, pay to renounce. For average families this can quickly become a burden.

    Still,relinquishing for some has nothing to do with paying the 450.00 or not. I’d still rather relinquish whether I had to pay the fee or not.

  12. For persons whose CLN shows a loss of citizenship date that is on or before June 3, 2004, section 877A should not apply. Even if the CLN is received today. I’ve discussed this with people at the IRS and they’ve informally stated that they agree.

  13. As someone born ‘dual’, and unable to acquire the magical, ‘back-dated’ CLN, I am personally unaffected. However, I think this article just caused a lot of people more sleepless nights. The nightmare never ends.

  14. $450 might sound small compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars America’s diaspora may have to pay in US tax processing fees, even with no tax due. It may even sound tiny compared to the human rights violating fines the US threatens its diaspora with for having local accounts. Yet, the US government owes its diaspora far more than $450 to compensate the federal law-violating national origin discrimination it has caused outside of US jurisdiction.

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Tax laws change over time, and the information in this post above may be less accurate today than it was at the time of the last revision. This post is not tax advice for your specific situation. Please contact an international tax professional to get personalized advice for your situation.