A showed up for her second appointment and successfully renounced her US citizenship. Here is her report:
I’ve done it!! Apart from some minor issues, like still having to file for zero taxes and having to wait for the official renunciation confirmation, I am now no longer American, but Irish only!
On the whole it went rather smoothly and everybody was extremely friendly, although subtly pushy at times.
There are a few things worth mentioning, like you either need to pay in cash (dollars would be better as the exchange rate used by the Embassy was not the most beneficial for me, but in favour of the Embassy). A credit/debit card would have been acceptable, but it has to be one’s own and not a relative’s. However, as I do not yet possess one, this was not an option for me. Additionally I had to pay for the courier to return the final renunciation certificate (approx. $15.00).
Secondly, it is worth noting that should you turn up before your appointment time you will be turned away and told to come back later. As I had travelled in by train and arrived quite a bit earlier, I had tried to “slip in” before my appointed time, but, alas, no luck. Never mind.
This is what happened when my time came:
Once I was through security (it still freaks me out having people with machine guns standing close by), things moved along really quickly. Several minutes wait, call to the “questioning window” – why renounce, am I sure? – the usual!
Forms DS4080 and 4081 were pre-filled and I had to read through them to make sure everything was correct, at which point I was requested to give a separate written explanation of my reasons for renunciation as I am under the age of 18. The latter was a bit of a surprise.
After that a bit more re-reading, confirming I understood the dire consequences of renouncing and a few boxes needed to be ticked.
Off to pay the renunciation fee.
And only then did I have the final interview. I wonder what would have happened to the money if at this point they had refused to agree to my request to allow me to escape (also known as my right to renounce). A member of staff looked through my additional explanation sheet I had supplied, asked me several questions (how long had I been thinking about renunciation, why, was I really REALLY sure – his comment: “You do not have to feel American in order to have an American passport”).
Next: forms to sign and the oath to be read out.
Lastly, I was given a letter acknowledging that I’d renounced, which will serve as proof until the actual certificate arrives – hopefully within the next six months.
The whole process, excluding going through security, took about 1 hour. Once outside again, I called my mum and told her I had finished and then celebrated with an ice cream.
Incidentally, my social security number card arrived in the post on Tuesday. Tax returns, here I come!
Philip D. W. Hodgen is the principal attorney of HodgenLaw PC, an international tax law firm based in Pasadena, California. He earned his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and his law degree from the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then went on to earn a Master of Laws degree with a specialty in taxation from the University of San Diego School of Law. Admitted to the California bar in 1982, Phil spent nine years in law firms and with a large U.S. bank before starting his own firm in 1991.
Phil is a past chair of the International Tax Committee of the State Bar of California's Tax Section and was a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Tax Section for 2004-2007. Phil frequently speaks on a variety of international tax, trust and estate topics to attorneys, accountants, and real estate professionals.
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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.