TAXES 8/15/2014 @ 3:55午後 108,728 views

Dear Mr. President, Why I’m Leaving America

Robert W. Wood による

I received   a copy of this letter, and think it is worth reproducing in full:


“Dear Mr.   President,

I am   writing with a heavy heart as I, my husband, and our daughter are all   seriously contemplating giving up our U.S. citizenship. We are doing this not   to avoid paying U.S. taxes but because we strongly object to a system that is   blatantly discriminatory and unfair to law-abiding Americans living outside   the country. In addition, it has become too expensive, too difficult, and   frankly, too frightening, to try to comply with all of the tax filing   requirements that now apply to citizens living abroad.

My   husband is 70 years old and I am 69. I was born in St. Louis, my husband in   Denver, and our daughter in Toronto. When my husband graduated with a PhD in   history from the University of Pennsylvania, and I with a law degree from   Villanova, both in 1971, he received a job offer to teach U.S. history to   Canadian university students. I began teaching law at the same university. We   never expected to stay in Canada but, as you know, life is often   unpredictable and we have now happily lived here for 43 years. I retired many   years ago and my husband more recently.


In order   to practice my profession I had to become a member of the Ontario Bar, which   I did in 1985 and which required me to become a Canadian citizen. My husband   did so some years later because he also wanted the right to vote in a country   where we were living and raising our daughter. We have continued to vote in   U.S. federal elections, we hold U.S. passports as well as Canadian, and we   have never failed, in 43 years, to comply with U.S. laws that require   American citizens anywhere in the world to file U.S. tax returns. Of course,   that obligation does not exempt us from also having to file
  Canadian tax returns each year, and in some instances, paying taxes to both   countries. (Please note, neither one of us receives U.S. Social Security or   Medicare, so we take nothing in return from the U.S.)

And yet,   we now feel like second class citizens at best, or criminals at worst. The   FBAR forms that we must file every year, detailing the amount in every single   financial account we have, from savings to checking to investment to   retirement accounts, are filed with the Fraud Division of the U.S. Treasury   Department. The message given here, along with the enormous fines for   improper filing, make U.S. citizens feel like they are guilty until proven   innocent.

Recently   I learned that, on top of all the other tax disadvantages of being dual   citizens, Americans living and working in Canada can now hold Canadian mutual   funds only at their financial peril. These funds carry onerous, expensive tax   filing requirements for every single fund owned, as well as attracting much   higher taxes than U.S. mutual funds (which we are not allowed to hold in our   Canadian investment accounts.) What this new obstacle means for U.S. citizens   in Canada is that, in addition to being prohibited from buying U.S. mutual   funds, we must now sell the Canadian mutual funds in our investment   portfolios for a reason that has nothing to do with their inherent value or   what they add to our savings and retirement strategies.


To my   knowledge the IRS does not tell U.S. citizens living in America that they   will be penalized for owning mutual funds domiciled in that country. So why   does it feel it is fair or appropriate to penalize Americans living in Canada   for simply investing in mutual funds domiciled in Canada? Let us be clear.   These are not funds that are investing in terrorist activities in the   Mideast. These are funds that are invested heavily in U.S. bonds and U.S.   companies, as well as in Canadian bonds and companies. While the IRS looks at   Canadian mutual funds as “foreign investments“, obviously for those living in   Canada they are local investments!

Nevertheless,   I must now instruct our investment advisor to sell them. Americans living in   the U.S. pay 15% in capital gains on U.S. domiciled mutual funds.


 Americans living in Canada will now pay over   38% in capital gains on Canadian domiciled mutual funds, even though both   funds might contain very similar investments. This places American citizens   living in Canada at a distinct disadvantage in planning and saving for our   retirement. What have we done to deserve this discriminatory and second class   treatment? Are we to save for our old age by hiding our money under the   mattress?


For many   years we have been willing to pay the substantial expenses involved in using   tax accountants who are qualified to file our tax returns in both countries.   As you can imagine, dual citizens cannot use just any tax accountant and   still feel confident that they are complying with the very confusing U.S. tax   laws, tax treaty, and all of the special requirements that apply only to   Americans living outside the country. This is especially true when it is the   Fraud Division that investigates even the most innocent errors in filing some   of the necessary forms.


However,   now the overall burden and the unfairness have become too heavy to reasonably   bear. My earliest known American ancestor, who sailed from Europe and settled   in Kentucky 166 years ago, is probably “rolling over in his grave” to think   that I am giving up my U.S. citizenship. However, growing up in Colorado I   was raised and educated to stand up for what is right. I have been doing that   ever since.

What   America is doing to its own citizens living in other countries is not right   and we have had enough. What I have outlined here is only part of the   problem. All we want in return for fulfilling our responsibilities as   Americans is to be treated fairly and equally. We are performing our part of   the bargain. America is not.


There are   approximately one million Americans living and working in Canada, and   millions more in other parts of the world. I understand from our specialized   tax accountant, and our cross-border consultant, that we are not alone in   contemplating or taking this very dramatic and previously inconceivable step   of relinquishing our U.S. citizenship. What a sad state of affairs for   America and for its citizens everywhere.

Regretfully   yours,

  Ontario, Canada”

You   can reach me at Wood@WoodLLP.com.   This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon   for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.


Follow Comments ;



I   relinquished my US citizenship in 2011. The US is desperate because the it is   morally and financially bankrupt. So it has to hit up people who neither live   in the country nor have any benefit from taxation.



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        Robert   W. Wood, Contributor 1 week ago

Most people   do not relinquish citizenship primarily because of taxes. I’m sorry it came   to that for you.





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