Great news: 2013 is going to be a banner year... for expatriation

Two data points for your consideration. One, via CNS News:

The latest Monthly Treasury Statement, which was released on Wednesday afternoon, relies on the estimate made by the White House Office of Management and Budget to say that federal tax revenues will top $3 trillion for the first time in the nation’s history in fiscal 2014. …

If the White House is correct that total federal tax receipts will hit $3,023,004,000,000 in fiscal 2014, that would represent an increase of $123,359,620,000 in constant 2013 dollars over fiscal 2007’s record tax haul of $2,899,644,380,000. Real tax revenues this year, according to the White House estimate, will be 4.25 percent higher than they have ever been.


And now, number two: The WSJ reports that, after adding up the expatriation numbers in just the first through third quarters of 2013, the United States has already surpassed its 2011 record by at least 33 percent. Already.

The Treasury Department published the names of 560 people who either were U.S. citizens renouncing their citizenship or long-term residents who turned in their green cards during the third quarter.

That brings the total so far this year to 2,369, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tracks the data. For all of 2011, the number of published expatriates was 1,781, he said. …

“Nothing has changed in immigration law that would make people want to renounce,” said Freddi Weintraub, an immigration specialist and partner at Fragomen Worldwide, a New York-based law firm. “Current or anticipated changes in tax law and enforcement are driving this increase.”

People who renounced last year might have avoided higher taxes on income and estates—including those on long-term capital gains—that took effect in 2013. …

“The fact that renunciations have increased sharply is not surprising, given increased U.S. scrutiny in this area,” said Fran Obeid, a partner at Obeid & Lowenstein LLP in New York, who specializes in offshore-account issues. “Renunciation can be expensive, but it may be easier than staying in compliance with U.S. tax laws that can be onerous for citizens of other countries.”


Record-high tax burden. Record-high expatriation. Coincidence?

You can always rely on populist progressives to pounce on greedy, selfish, unpatriotic, tax-dodging millionaires and billionaires who have the audacity to put any of their cash in offshore accounts and whatnot, but who’s really to blame here: The people who, like all other rationally self-interested human beings of any level of economic means, endeavor to save more of their own money; or is it the fault of our convoluted, clunky, uncompetitive tax code that makes it worthwhile for them to participate in such schemes? Wake up, America, and remember that this is what happens when the Democrats inevitably come a-callin’ for still more “revenue increases,” especially via even more steeply graduated taxes on those ill-begotten, out-of-touch rich people. Yes, the expatriation rate seems like a minutely small number in and of itself, but it’s a reflection of the type of punishing consequences and incentives currently at work in our tax code for individuals and businesses alike.

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