(US News) A record number of individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship or chose to expatriate in 2016, according to data published by the Internal Revenue Service today.
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The government agency, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, publishes the names of those individuals in a list each quarter, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. Before 2011, less than 1,000 individuals chose to expatriate each year, according to the lists published on the Federal Register. More than 2,300 expatriated in the last quarter of 2016 alone, and this year’s total of 5,411 individuals is 26 percent more than last year’s 4,279.
The connection between the list of expatriates and the IRS implies a link to tax policy. The U.S. is one of a very small number of countries that tax based on nationality, not residency, leaving Americans living abroad to face double taxation. “The escalation of offshore penalties over the last 20 years is likely contributing to the increased incidence of expatriation,” according to the tax attorneys at Andrew Mitchel LLC who track the expatriate data on their International Tax Blog.