The breaking news in this story was obviously, wait… the Mayor of London is a US citizen? But it turns out he is. Boris was born in New York and lived there until the age of five. His parents were from the old country, though, so he’s held dual citizenship for his entire life.
But all that is about to change. Hizonor is trying to turn in his passport and renounce his rights as a citizen of the colonies. But why would you leave us, Boris? (Update: He’s Not. See below.)
THE mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who was born in New York and holds both American and British passports, recently said that he would not pay a tax bill from the United States on capital gains from the sale of his home in the London borough of Islington. Mr. Johnson pointed out that he hasn’t lived in America since he was 5. He’d like to renounce his citizenship, but said the process was “very difficult.”
It is, but I am doing it. My “in-person final loss of citizenship appointment” is scheduled for Jan. 14 at the United States Consulate here. My British passport, acquired in 2012, will be my only one.
Apparently it’s not as easy as it sounds because of the backlog of people in front of him. Citizens living abroad have been dumping their US credentials to the tune of some 3,000 of them last year, with the vast majority citing their displeasure at having to pay taxes in two countries.
And that’s kind of a shame, because he’s always an entertaining guest on late night American television and he was one of the only public figures to stand up in defense of the geek with the hot girl shirt who landed the spacecraft on a comet.
Possibly the largest number of expats in this situation are in Canada, and officials in the Great White North report getting a line of people every week coming in to dump the USA out of fear that they will wake up one day owning Uncle Sam the entire farm.
“I’ve always considered myself a Canadian because I’ve lived here since I was five… I’ve been a patriotic Canadian,” Gwen said in a recent interview during which she asked that only her first name be used to keep her off the radar of U.S. tax authorities.
“Next thing you know, I’ll be getting some letter in the mail saying I owe them my life savings. This is absurd,” she said.
Some people in Gwen’s position are have been driven to an extreme step – essentially divorcing Uncle Sam by renouncing their American citizenship.
“We have a number of clients we are assisting who decide to head into the Consulate in Calgary to renounce on a weekly basis,” says Alex Marino, a U.S. tax lawyer who leads the renunciation practice group at Calgary-based law firm Moody’s Gartner Tax Law LLP.
UPDATE: (Jazz) It was rather upsetting when a friend forwarded me a link to this article saying that Boris Johnson was relinquishing his citizenship, but it turns out we both had it wrong (as has been noted in the comments and other feedback). The author of the article, Jon Tepper, is the one making the move to relinquish his citizenship. My apologies for the misread of the original. Hey… but at least we still get to keep Boris.
This article was updated significantly from the original to reflect that Jon Tepper, not Boris Johnson, is changing citizenship.