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Old 14.02.2013, 23:31
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Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

Friend and business colleague of Mark, former EF moderator Scott took a major step in 2012. After receiving his Swiss citizenship, he immediately turned around and within a few days took the oath of renunciation, turning in his US passport. The last piece of official paperwork from the US, the CLN (Certificate of Loss of Nationality) arrived only five weeks after giving up his passport in Bern.

Since the end of September 2012, Scott has been interviewed by several international news agencies regarding the loss of Swiss bank accounts due to his US citizenship and renouncing his US citizenship. The articles have been published in numerous press printed publications and websites. The three interviews were published here:

The Local 11th Feb 2013

WSJ in DE 22nd Oct 2012

USAToday 27th Sep 2012

He has been seen on Isaac Brock Society and offers his assistance to anybody interested in the reasons, pros&cons, process and what to expect in Bern through the closed FB group titled: "Renounce US Citizenship - Why and How".

Anybody with questions related to renounciation of US citizenship may PM me, I will forward Scott's e-mail to you... or contact Scott via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scott.schmith
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Old 15.02.2013, 08:53
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

Thanks for that jrspet. The articles go right to the heart of the matter; it's not that Americans abroad don't pay their taxes, it's that the burden of doing so is crippling them and making their lives a misery.

I renounce in a couple of weeks and then have the tax side to sort out. I wonder how many thousands of renunciations it's going to take before the people who matter bother to listen. Of course, it's not affecting them so why should they care. After all, have you ever seen a poor Congress person?
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Old 15.02.2013, 09:41
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

Obama and his clowns will be in for a big surprise when they find out they will have very very few Americans (due to US tax policy, FATCA and FBAR) able to promote US exports to Europe after they ink a fantasy Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21439945

Just look at it from this perspective:

Switzerland and Norway, both non-EU countries, combined account for 10% of the value of goods the EU imports.

The US on the other hand, also accounts for 10% of the value of goods the EU imports.

Fine, Norway is a member of the EEA and Switzerland has a special bilateral relationship with the EU, both which ensure access to the EU market.

But, look at the scale of things. Two combined economies with a population of 13 million people export the same amount (in total monetary value, we are not even talking about a per capita basis) to possibly the largest economic bloc in the world than an economy with over 310 million people which spends untold billions on military installations all over Europe (very poor return on investment I must say!).

Quite pathetic for the US indeed. The EU is probably rejoicing in this, knowing that if they ink a deal with the US and the US doesn't change its citizenship-based taxation system, the trade relationship will be heavily unbalanced in favor of the EU (and the US will only have itself to blame!).
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Old 15.02.2013, 10:18
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

The US clearly doesn't care about "The People". Stepping a bit off topic, the Declaration of Independence is a part of history. Modern day US politics, citizen management and decision making have ignored this important building block of US history.

Back on topic, the articles offer some good reading. Am glad that someone is stepping forward and the journalists are not afraid to write about it.

The US is screwing their citizens, both abroad and within (in many ways ). Regarding FBAR and FATCA, these financial institutions that are turning down US persons are doing so in order to cover their backside. If just one US person sneaks in below the radar and the bank is caught NOT reporting this one person because the person claims the account in a last minute FBAR form trying to cover their own a$$. Then the bank will be heavily taxed when doing business within the US. Sorry folks, if I were on the Board of Directors at a bank outside of the US... I would consider voting to kick'em all out. Then write up a big clause stating that any US person that fails to claim their ties to the US will be charged for all forthcoming fines and taxation levied upon the bank. I know this will make me unpopular here But think about it. Put yourself in the shoes of the banks and consider the pros and cons. What would you do?

I will already agree with the most of you, the banks should stand up against the US and protect their customers, rights and image. However, without the support of the country's government... they are only a target used for US politics' shooting practice. These numbskulls sit in their over-padded leather chairs in DC and wait for someone to stand up against the US. ... enough bashing, we all know what happens then

For Medea Fleecestealer...The final taxation is completed with the Form 8854. This question appears under Part IV Section A:
Quote:
Do you certify under penalties of perjury that you have complied with all of your tax obligations for the 5 preceding tax years (see instructions)? ....................... Yes No
PDF Source
JC
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Old 15.02.2013, 11:00
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

Yes it is a real pity that this is turning into a bit of a circus. Just about all of my US friends here in Basel are very concerned about the state of affairs in the US. There seems to be a great reluctance to face up to some very pressing issues.

Printing money is not going to solve the problem in the long run. I do wonder how much US currency is actually in circulation...

And I wonder what will happen to the US when or if oil is no longer linked to the US dollar.

Excuse my lack of the appropriate jargon, I'm a pro sailor not a financial guru.
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Old 15.02.2013, 18:35
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

As long as Arab monarchies can't feed their populace on their own and as long as the US remains the world's premier agricultural power, you can guarantee that oil will continue to be priced in dollars.

The game changer will come when foreigners lose faith in US treasury bills as that will push yields upwards and create a really problematic debt issue (these "fiscal cliff talks" are a charade when yields are flat).

Just think of the stupidity of the US strategy: the US is borrowing money from China so that it can finance the US military to defend itself from China .
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Old 15.02.2013, 19:49
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

although these sorts of US-bashing threads always brighten my day, I thought I might point out the following:

1. FATCA is nothing more than a disclosure obligation, targeted solely at compelling foreign banks to disclose to the IRS the foreign-held assets of US citizens. the only banks this will impact will be those banks who choose to do business in the US, which here means really only UBS and CS.

2. the US doesn't "borrow" any money from the Chinese, it simply issues US treasuries and the Chinese are big buyers of those treasuries because they are the safest investment available. fyi, the interest rates on those treasuries are ridiculously low - this doesn't mean I would not be a fan of the fed shutting down treasuries issuances for a while, but it ain't like those treasuries are what is choking off the US economy.

3. before folks get too excited about the import / export situation here, they should consider the inter-connection between tax structures and exports. I don't mean to suggest that Switzerland is not a big player in some key high-end markets, just suggesting that people look at the aggregate picture. this is a picture, btw, that is likely to be a key focus of the EU in the coming years, which is why many non-EU multinationals are carving out their EU / Swiss operations into separate holdcos and/or evaluating the possibility of chasing other "tax friendly" regimes in lieu of Switzerland (the Netherlands is quite popular in this arena).

4. the US is roughly 40 times the size of Switzerland, which means it is going to have 40 times as many idiots and 40 times as many problems. it's just simple math.

5. before simon admonishes me, let me say that I am a big fan of Switzerland, and a big fan of how it works to maintain a balance between the interests of its self-subsidized economy versus its interest in international trade. but the worst thing a driver can do in a race is look in his rear-view mirror, or compare his last lap to the competition.

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Old 15.02.2013, 20:52
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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although these sorts of US-bashing threads always brighten my day, I thought I might point out the following:

1. FATCA is nothing more than a disclosure obligation, targeted solely at compelling foreign banks to disclose to the IRS the foreign-held assets of US citizens. the only banks this will impact will be those banks who choose to do business in the US, which here means really only UBS and CS.

2. the US doesn't "borrow" any money from the Chinese, it simply issues US treasuries and the Chinese are big buyers of those treasuries because they are the safest investment available. fyi, the interest rates on those treasuries are ridiculously low - this doesn't mean I would not be a fan of the fed shutting down treasuries issuances for a while, but it ain't like those treasuries are what is choking off the US economy.

3. before folks get too excited about the import / export situation here, they should consider the inter-connection between tax structures and exports. I don't mean to suggest that Switzerland is not a big player in some key high-end markets, just suggesting that people look at the aggregate picture. this is a picture, btw, that is likely to be a key focus of the EU in the coming years, which is why many non-EU multinationals are carving out their EU / Swiss operations into separate holdcos and/or evaluating the possibility of chasing other "tax friendly" regimes in lieu of Switzerland (the Netherlands is quite popular in this arena).

4. the US is roughly 40 times the size of Switzerland, which means it is going to have 40 times as many idiots and 40 times as many problems. it's just simple math.

5. before simon admonishes me, let me say that I am a big fan of Switzerland, and a big fan of how it works to maintain a balance between the interests of its self-subsidized economy versus its interest in international trade. but the worst thing a driver can do in a race is look in his rear-view mirror, or compare his last lap to the competition.

1) Not sure I would agree; many banks other than UBS and Credit Suisse have potential "US-sourced income" which can fall under the 30% FATCA haircut. Also, the US-Swiss FATCA agreement provides an incentive for small banks to remove US clients (especially those that move out of Switzerland temporarily, say for an expat assignment) so that they can be designated as FATCA exempt. Not a very encouraging thing for Americans domiciled in Switzerland and these small banks can get nailed if it is brought to light that they have secret US citizens that didn't pop up in any US indicia.

2) US treasuries are an instrument which the government issues to raise financing (debt for all practical purposes which requires repayment of principal and coupon interest to those that purchase them). In other words, money is being "borrowed" (call it whatever you want). Whether the Chinese are doing it because it is the "safest investment around" is debatable. Probably true, but the Chinese also need to finance the unbalanced trade relationship it has with the United States. With China's growing domestic consumer class, there will be less reason for the Chinese to export to the US and even less reason to park money in so-called "safe treasuries" in the years to come, especially as the dollar continues to debase thanks to Bernanke. Current high demand for these treasuries by foreign countries (driven mainly because the US is the world's largest importing country) in essence makes the US Government very lazy in getting its finances in order (in essence, low yields mask even more serious future economic and structural problems).

3) Tax indeed has an inter-connected relationship with exports/imports, but this does not paint the whole picture. Job skills and education, political stability, an affluent middle class and excellent infrastructure and access to capital are also extremely important in the export/import equation. Germany is definitely not "tax-haven", but it exports more in total value of goods than the US, despite having a quarter of the size of the US in GDP and Population. Try producing high-end manufactured goods in "tax-havens" like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands for export.

4) Indeed 40 times the size, but you forgot the multiplier effect in economics. Stupidity feeds more stupidity exponentially. 40 times the size, maybe a multiple of that number in stupidity?

5) Agree there, and what I like about the Swiss is they don't get too comfortable with the fact that they are doing relatively better by a multitude of measures compared with the rest of the world (hence they don't compare their last lap with the competition in the fashion you described). In their eyes, they feel they are being constantly judged by the world, no matter how well they are doing, and that if they lift their guard, their well being may someday vanish. Hence they (the government and the people that have power via referenda) are a lot more forward looking, pragmatic and rational than the 535 independent contractors on Capitol Hill with nostalgia for the 1950s who can't even agree on how to repay money that doesn't belong to them that has already been spent decades ago.
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Old 15.02.2013, 21:38
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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1) Not sure I would agree; many banks other than UBS and Credit Suisse have potential "US-sourced income" which can fall under the 30% FATCA haircut. Also, the US-Swiss FATCA agreement provides an incentive for small banks to remove US clients (especially those that move out of Switzerland temporarily, say for an expat assignment) so that they can be designated as FATCA exempt. Not a very encouraging thing for Americans domiciled in Switzerland and these small banks can get nailed if it is brought to light that they have secret US citizens that didn't pop up in any US indicia.

2) US treasuries are an instrument which the government issues to raise financing (debt for all practical purposes which requires repayment of principal and coupon interest to those that purchase them). In other words, money is being "borrowed" (call it whatever you want). Whether the Chinese are doing it because it is the "safest investment around" is debatable. Probably true, but the Chinese also need to finance the unbalanced trade relationship it has with the United States. With China's growing domestic consumer class, there will be less reason for the Chinese to export to the US and even less reason to park money in so-called "safe treasuries" in the years to come, especially as the dollar continues to debase thanks to Bernanke. Current high demand for these treasuries by foreign countries (driven mainly because the US is the world's largest importing country) in essence makes the US Government very lazy in getting its finances in order (in essence, low yields mask even more serious future economic and structural problems).

3) Tax indeed has an inter-connected relationship with exports/imports, but this does not paint the whole picture. Job skills and education, political stability, an affluent middle class and excellent infrastructure and access to capital are also extremely important in the export/import equation. Germany is definitely not "tax-haven", but it exports more in total value of goods than the US, despite having a quarter of the size of the US in GDP and Population. Try producing high-end manufactured goods in "tax-havens" like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands for export.

4) Indeed 40 times the size, but you forgot the multiplier effect in economics. Stupidity feeds more stupidity exponentially. 40 times the size, maybe a multiple of that number in stupidity?

5) Agree there, and what I like about the Swiss is they don't get too comfortable with the fact that they are doing relatively better by a multitude of measures compared with the rest of the world (hence they don't compare their last lap with the competition in the fashion you described). In their eyes, they feel they are being constantly judged by the world, no matter how well they are doing, and that if they lift their guard, their well being may someday vanish. Hence they (the government and the people that have power via referenda) are a lot more forward looking, pragmatic and rational than the 535 independent contractors on Capitol Hill with nostalgia for the 1950s who can't even agree on how to repay money that doesn't belong to them that has already been spent decades ago.
I dare you to be bullish on China. in fact, I double dog dare you. and according to 2012 statistics, the US exports exceeded Germany by about 50%, despite having roughly 4 times the domestic market to serve. see how fun it is to play with statistics?

I understand the hatred that people feel for the US and its current and recent administrations, but I'm also aware that people have a tendency to let personal experience and personal bias cloud their personal judgment (which you can see with any number of threads about Switzerland on the EF).
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Old 15.02.2013, 22:13
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

There is no doubt, IMHO, about which country is best to live in. I feel sorry for those who have no other recourse. I found this video interesting.
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Old 15.02.2013, 22:16
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

From what I understand this video was banned by the US.
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Old 15.02.2013, 22:59
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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There is no doubt, IMHO, about which country is best to live in. I feel sorry for those who have no other recourse. I found this video interesting.
or for crying out loud, do you have any idea just how high this dude must be?

1. current US fed spending is about 4 trillion annually, inclusive of defense spending (which is roughly 25% of the total spend).

2. in order to get anywhere near his 222 trillion "fiscal gap", you've got to either assume exponential growth in fed spending or go out 55 years into the future.

3. to get an NPV number of 222 trillion over 55 years, his total cash outlay figure must be over 2 times the NPV (depending on discount rate, obviously). in other words, he must be assuming the raw figure is somewhere north of 500 trillion USD.

4. to summarize, this dude is saying that the NPV of all future obligations of the US government exceeds the NPV of all future tax revenues by 222 trillion USD, apparently ignoring the fact that his NPV number is 200 times the current cash deficit, and 55 times the current total fed spend.

if you put 10 economists in a room, you get 11 opinions. and I wouldn't even invite this clown into the room. just one more reason why they should never trust an economist with NPV´s or actual financial analyses.
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Old 15.02.2013, 23:08
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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From what I understand this video was banned by the US.
this commercial was hardly "banned" - most of the major media outlets simply refused to run the commercial because it is racist and plays upon some rather awful and ignorant fears about Asia.
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Old 15.02.2013, 23:15
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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or for crying out loud, do you have any idea just how high this dude must be?

1. current US fed spending is about 4 trillion annually, inclusive of defense spending (which is roughly 25% of the total spend).

2. in order to get anywhere near his 222 trillion "fiscal gap", you've got to either assume exponential growth in fed spending or go out 55 years into the future.

3. to get an NPV number of 222 trillion over 55 years, his total cash outlay figure must be over 2 times the NPV (depending on discount rate, obviously). in other words, he must be assuming the raw figure is somewhere north of 500 trillion USD.

4. to summarize, this dude is saying that the NPV of all future obligations of the US government exceeds the NPV of all future tax revenues by 222 trillion USD, apparently ignoring the fact that his NPV number is 200 times the current cash deficit, and 55 times the current total fed spend.

if you put 10 economists in a room, you get 11 opinions. and I wouldn't even invite this clown into the room. just one more reason why they should never trust an economist with NPV´s or actual financial analyses.
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this commercial was hardly "banned" - most of the major media outlets simply refused to run the commercial because it is racist and plays upon some rather awful and ignorant fears about Asia.
Don't shoot the messenger...
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Old 15.02.2013, 23:46
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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I dare you to be bullish on China. in fact, I double dog dare you. and according to 2012 statistics, the US exports exceeded Germany by about 50%, despite having roughly 4 times the domestic market to serve. see how fun it is to play with statistics?
There are of course different things that can be measured here, but could you please elaborate what exact numbers you are referring to here?



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1. FATCA is nothing more than a disclosure obligation, targeted solely at compelling foreign banks to disclose to the IRS the foreign-held assets of US citizens. the only banks this will impact will be those banks who choose to do business in the US, which here means really only UBS and CS.
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I understand the hatred that people feel for the US and its current and recent administrations, but I'm also aware that people have a tendency to let personal experience and personal bias cloud their personal judgment (which you can see with any number of threads about Switzerland on the EF).
I think one reason people react very strongly on this topic is because the U.S. taxation of citizens abroad is generally a little...let's say... peculiar. However, in the end it is a law in a democratic state concerning it's own people, so if people find it unjust they should try to change it. I am not U.S. citizen so I am not going to interfere in this discussion, but I can understand how heart-broken people must be who do not want to be hindered in their career and pay up on one side, yet still love their country on the other and are thinking about renouncing their citizenship.

FATCA on the other hand is a measure to restrict capital flight. While I personally agree that this is a good thing, the way it is implemented is controversial. What really bothers me is the unilateral "gunboat diplomacy"-behaviour and the complete lack of initial reciprocity and respect with which foreign legislation is met from US side. This can only be described as scandalous. At the moment we are "only" talking about this one tax-deal, but if this is the way the US wants to handle future issues with its partners and allies, this is bound the end in tears.

This is not about impact, hatred or personal experience, but respect, justice and sovereignty.
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Old 16.02.2013, 00:02
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

Anyone who abandons their American citizenship because of the hassle of doing paperwork didn't deserve it in the first place.

And anyone who thinks that at the end of the day America isn't going to emerge on the top of the rubble heap is delusional. You're part of OUR empire for good, so deal with it.
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Old 16.02.2013, 00:11
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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Anyone who abandons their American citizenship because of the hassle of doing paperwork didn't deserve it in the first place.

And anyone who thinks that at the end of the day America isn't going to emerge on the top of the rubble heap is delusional. You're part of OUR empire for good, so deal with it.
Sorry, but this is the most one-sided and nonsense post in this thread. Someone turn on the lights so BandB can see the light Empire? Get off your high-horse!

Did you even read the articles linked above? How about the PDFs? It reads like Scott made the decision based on how his life has evolved from war veteran to Swiss citizen. Says he has nothing to hide, and would have liked to keep his US citizenship, but the government drove him away. Makes sense to me.
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Old 16.02.2013, 00:13
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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Don't shoot the messenger...
fair enough, but the messenger is always delivering the same message.

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  #19  
Old 16.02.2013, 00:16
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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Anyone who abandons their American citizenship because of the hassle of doing paperwork didn't deserve it in the first place.

And anyone who thinks that at the end of the day America isn't going to emerge on the top of the rubble heap is delusional. You're part of OUR empire for good, so deal with it.
Ozymandias? Is that you?
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  #20  
Old 16.02.2013, 00:48
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Re: Giving up the blue passport because of FATCA - one member's experience

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Anyone who abandons their American citizenship because of the hassle of doing paperwork didn't deserve it in the first place.
Actually, my #1 reason for dumping it was the stupid requirement to maintain a US passport for entering/leaving the US, something I rarely do.

The expense and wasted time (having to waste a day traveling across the country) simply was not worth the bother for a worthless document I used once or twice in ten years.

Tom
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