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  #61  
Old 13.08.2015, 17:00
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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My passport had been expired for three years when I handed it in, so I certainly could NOT use it for travel.

Anyway, lots of people travel to the US without using their US passports.

Tom
Then lets hope for them they don't get caught.

I always took my Swiss passport with me as backup but entered and left the country with my US passport. Also, the queue was shorter and quicker.
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  #62  
Old 13.08.2015, 21:31
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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I always took my Swiss passport with me as backup but entered and left the country with my US passport. Also, the queue was shorter and quicker.
This is the same procedure we use. Before I got my Swiss passport I was always asked for my Niederlassungsbewilligung when I landed at an airport outside of Switzerland and presented my US passport. Most recently I use the US passport going into the US and both passports arriving back home. Won't have to worry about that much longer though...
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  #63  
Old 13.08.2015, 21:47
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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Umm, WHICH wars have been voted over the years?



FTFY.

I gave back all the years I paid taxes there (11 years paying, another 24 of filing to show I owed nothing), as did my parents



They didn't ask me for my CLN, ever, nor for a US passport.

Also, I know several people who regularly travel to the US using their Swiss, rather than US, passports.

Tom
You are right, we did not have aright to "vote' for wars , just administrations that found war to be good business.
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  #64  
Old 13.08.2015, 22:53
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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Then lets hope for them they don't get caught.
Indeed.

As I was unwilling to renew my US passport after becomming Swiss, the only option was to renounce.

Hence the three-year expired passport when I finally got around to taking a day off work to go to Berne for this nonsense.

At least it was still free back in 2009, otherwise I'd REALLY be upset.

Tom
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  #65  
Old 18.09.2015, 11:55
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

All - I'm piggy-backing this thread ... helped me get some clarity fairly quickly.

I'm about to complete and submit DS-4079 (Formerly FS-581), Request for Determination of Possible Loss of United States Citizenship, and it has a question (Nr 13) regarding ties retained to the USA. In particular, it asks "Do you file U.S. income or other tax returns?"

My question as I have not filed in over 20years (no tax obligation), what are the pros/cons from providing the past 5years of returns (and becoming compliant) *before* / *after* submitting the form DS-4079.

thanks for any guidance
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  #66  
Old 18.09.2015, 12:10
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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All - I'm piggy-backing this thread ... helped me get some clarity fairly quickly.

I'm about to complete and submit DS-4079 (Formerly FS-581), Request for Determination of Possible Loss of United States Citizenship, and it has a question (Nr 13) regarding ties retained to the USA. In particular, it asks "Do you file U.S. income or other tax returns?"

My question as I have not filed in over 20years (no tax obligation), what are the pros/cons from providing the past 5years of returns (and becoming compliant) *before* / *after* submitting the form DS-4079.

thanks for any guidance
An Isaac Brock guru wrote recently:
"b) The questionnaire, DS-4079, at q. 13 (e) asks “Do you file US income or other tax returns?” The tax question on the DS-4079 is there as an indicator of your ties and connections to the US, which are relevant if you’re claiming to have relinquished some time ago."

Regarding whether it is advantageous to be compliant with US tax filings prior or after renunciation/ relinquishment, I would suggest that you read through this thread at Isaac Brock Society:

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/renuncia...-199/#comments

Some of the more knowledgeable commenters include pacifica777 and Duke of Devon.
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  #67  
Old 18.09.2015, 14:36
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

Unable to edit above comment so adding to it here.

If you are planning to relinquish, rather than renounce, relinquishment is still no-charge until November 8. On November 9 the fee will be $2,350. (Renunciation fee has been $2,350 since September 2014).

If the Bern Embassy can't take you before November 9, you could consider an appointment in another country, e.g., Frankfurt Consulate, Luxembourg Embassy. If you're relinquishing, it could save you some money.
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  #68  
Old 20.09.2015, 23:32
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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...
If you are planning to relinquish, rather than renounce, relinquishment is still no-charge until November 8. On November 9 the fee will be $2,350. (Renunciation fee has been $2,350 since September 2014).
...
Mullhollander - thank you for your feedback and guidance. Both the link and insight into the changing DOS fee structure are useful to my thinking and planning.

cheers
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  #69  
Old 19.02.2016, 18:09
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

I have just posted my own question regarding this process in hopes of getting advice! I am wondering how long the entire process takes - how long from your request to the CLN form.

Here's the link to my post:

http://www.englishforum.ch/finance-b...ml#post2540591

Thanks in advance!
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Old 16.03.2016, 12:38
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

I gave up my US citizenship in Bern in June 2014, and received my CLN five months later. I cannot emphasize enough what a huge weight off my shoulders this is!

I urge every American expat I meet who is on the fence about the decision whether to keep or give up their citizenship to give it up as quickly as possible.

You may think $2,350 sounds like a lot of money to relinquish (it is). But the US government can easily, in a heartbeat, raise this fee to $10,000. Or, the day might come when Americans are not allowed to give up their passports at all (if we go to war, or some major global crisis occurs, etc.) You never know. Get rid of it now. It's highly improbable that the FATCA legislation or double taxation rules will be repealed anytime soon -- on the contrary, the laws taxing expatriates are becoming more draconian by the day.

There's two parts to giving up the US passport. The first (legal), is the easy bit, and I recommend that you complete this asap by calling the embassy in Bern and making an appointment to relinquish. You are only a citizen up until the exact day that you give your passport back, not until the day you receive your CLN. So make that appointment.

When you go to the embassy, do NOT mention tax reasons (or politics!?) as a reason that you are giving up your citizenship (and they will ask you why you are giving it up.) Simply state calmly that you are Swiss and so is your family, so you feel at home here. They will also ask you some personal questions. Don't let them fluster you.

Next, (the tricky step) is the tax side. You want to get out properly and file all of the appropriate documents in order to avoid any red flags that might trigger an audit or get them asking you a million questions the next time you enter the US on your Swiss passport. However, you have some time (about 12 - 18 months) to sort this out. I was in the same boat as you -- hadn't been filing, but I also didn't owe anything to the government. So I went for the streamlined route (3 years of back filing and FBAR's) and everything went through ok. I paid $2500 to file the back taxes in total. I went for Greenback Expat and had a good experience -- they are cheap, fast and reliable. I recommend them highly.

Regarding your children who have US passports via yourself, it's unlikely that they will be allowed to give up their US citizenship until they turn 18 years old. This is due to concerns that children do not have the sound mind to realize the seriousness of what they're doing, or perhaps they are being forced by their parents to do something they might regret later. Of course, if the child is a mature 15 / 16-year old, I'm sure that the embassy will allow him to relinquish his passport. With a 7-year old, probably not.
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  #71  
Old 16.03.2016, 13:10
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

Just to point out that while the embassy may ask why you're renouncing (as opposed to relinquishing which is different) you're under no obligation to give them a reason. It's your right under the US Constitution to give up your citizenship if you want to.

Children under 16 will not be considered for renunciation as they're not mature enough (according to the US) to understand the consequences of their actions.

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/120538.pdf
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  #72  
Old 16.03.2016, 13:22
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

It would be interesting to understand more about US citizens who are giving up their US citizenship. Are they mostly so-called "accidental" Americans - US citizens born in the US while their parents were temporarily there - or are they a mix of accidentals and non-accidental Americans who have permanently emigrated?

The US Ambassador to Switzerland claimed in an interview several months ago that most US citizens giving up their citizenship in Bern were accidental Americans. She's been known to be factually challenged at times so it would be valuable to learn what you've observed.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 16.03.2016 at 22:14. Reason: removed quote of inappropriate advertisement
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  #73  
Old 16.03.2016, 13:48
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

If she is the US Ambassador to Switzerland, then she is essentially the US cheerleader to Switzerland, and naturally she is going to say that most of the citizens who decide to relinquish are "accidental Americans."

This makes it look like they don't really know what they are giving up (i.e., if they never lived in the US, or only lived there when they were babies.)

I don't have hard statistics on this... But based on my own personal network, I don't think this statement is true. I know 10 people who have relinquished their US citizenship, and all of them lived a significant portion of their lives (10 - 20 years) in the USA.

Last edited by auburnCH; 16.03.2016 at 13:50. Reason: spelling error
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  #74  
Old 17.03.2016, 09:41
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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If she is the US Ambassador to Switzerland, then she is essentially the US cheerleader to Switzerland, and naturally she is going to say that most of the citizens who decide to relinquish are "accidental Americans."

This makes it look like they don't really know what they are giving up (i.e., if they never lived in the US, or only lived there when they were babies.)

I don't have hard statistics on this... But based on my own personal network, I don't think this statement is true. I know 10 people who have relinquished their US citizenship, and all of them lived a significant portion of their lives (10 - 20 years) in the USA.
I know six US citizens living in CH who have given up their US citizenship. Four are classic emigrants from the US, one was a US immigrant who returned to CH after several decades and one is Swiss who inherited US citizenship from a parent, although born in Europe.

These are of course only six data points and so may not be representative of the renunciations that occur daily in Bern. Still, I wonder.
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  #75  
Old 17.03.2016, 10:03
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

I can only go by what I've read over on IBS. While some are accidentals, most aren't. They've either decided to renounce as I did, or claim a relinquishment once they've gained another citizenship.

It would be interesting to hear her (non)explanation for the rise in the number of people giving up their citizenship. I wonder if FATCA would even get a mention.
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  #76  
Old 17.03.2016, 10:51
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

A tax attorney blogger in California doesn't have much time for the US Embassy in Bern and the broken US system. He wrote this on his blog last month:

"Here is a classic example of the impact of U.S. tax policy. Why should this woman (American in Switzerland) be forced to file for divorce from her country of birth — the country for whom her brother died — because of the blowback of U.S. tax policy enforced abroad?


I just hope that the consular official in Bern felt a twinge of guilt while watching her cry. That civil servant was personally enabling a broken system.

I am past the point of giving such people a hall pass: “everybody’s gotta work, hey I’m just doing my job, I do what I’m told, I’m powerless.” Nope. You’re helping to make things worse. At some point you must take responsibility for your actions."

http://hodgen.com/expatriation-feelz...cial-security/
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Old 18.03.2016, 22:16
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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Not true. What about business accounts where Americans have signatory rights? Presumably their name isn't on the account, but it would have to be reported on a FBAR nonetheless.

And what about children's accounts?

"Responsibility for Child’s FBAR
Generally, a child is responsible for filing his or her own FBAR report. If a child cannot file his or her own FBAR for any reason, such as age, the child's parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person must file it for the child.

Signing the child's FBAR. If the child cannot sign his or her FBAR, a parent or guardian must electronically sign the child's FBAR. In item 45 Filer Title enter "Parent/Guardian filing for child."

http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/FB...structions.pdf

The parent's name isn't on their acount, but they'd still have to electronically sign for it if the child isn't able to.
Non-US Parents do not have to file FBARs for their children. The U.S. threatens to punish the children, but has never done so to this date.
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Old 15.10.2016, 17:53
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

Hi folks,
Hopefully someone's still reading this thread... I am much in the same situation as SuisseMiss: I am a dual citizen and I intend to relinquish (with a very heavy heart ). So I need to catch up on tax filing, which I neglected, "unwillfully," for personal reasons (upheaval due to divorce, job loss, lack of child support, and attendant issues). I am fortunate to have a part-time job now and for sure I owe no taxes.
The question I have is the following: to relinquish one has to attest to having filed for the 5 years prior to the relinquishing year, including FBARs of course. The streamlined procedure offers a 3-year back filing option, but requires 6 years of back FBARS. The latter is not a problem - not much to report there - however, what about the 3 vs. the 5 years' worth of back filing the relinquishing requires? In other words, should I just go ahead and file returns for the last 5 years, and FBARS electronically, enclosing the necessary narrative of my sad story, or should I opt for the streamlined which covers only 3? How do I justify that on the relinquishing form?
And, is this Streamlined procedure just an invitation to be scrutinized? (again, not that I have much to worry about).
Thanks a million for any feedback.
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Old 15.10.2016, 18:28
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

You do not have to do any tax filing before you renounce if you don't want to. It's not a requirement to be tax compliant before giving up your citizenship, the two are totally separate. That's what I did when I renounced, did the deed first and then did my filing.

Streamlined only requires the 3 and 6 years as part of its program, but to cleanly exit the US tax system you need to file 5 years of returns because you need to file form 8854. This is the exit form and if not filed you could end up as a "covered expatriate". This in turn could cause problems in the future if you want to visit the States. There's no problem in adding the extra couple of years to a Streamlined application, many people have done that. The 8854 form for 2015 is here. The 2016 will not be out until early 2017. The only thing that changes is the year it's supposed to cover, everything stays the same year in and year out.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i885...824.1476543847

It has to be filed by 15th June of the year following your renunication so timing can be a little tricky if you have a lot of catching up to do. For example if you renounce in November/December this year then you'd have to file it by June next year whereas if you renounce in January 2016 you have until June 2017 to file the form. More on tax filing obligations here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Streamlined does worry some people, but I used it when I renounced and haven't heard a word. I did do it through a US tax adviser even though I only had FBARs to file because I'd never ever used the system and didn't want to get things wrong. It cost, but for me it was worth it for the peace of mind. I haven't heard of any problems with people being stung via Streamlined.

You will find more info in these two threads over at the Isaac Brock Society website as well.

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/renunciation/

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/expat_tax/

Exactly which type are you going for though: a straight renunciation or a relinquishment, they are two different things though the words tend to be used interchangably. A renunciation is just that, no reason needed apart from the fact that you want to. A relinquishment is more complicated as you need to have performed an "expatriating act" with the intent of giving up your US citizenship. Gaining your second citizenship for example, assuming you weren't born with it, is an expatriating act. For a relinquishment the embassy/consulate will ask you to fill in a form which they use to help determine whether you did intend to lose your citizenship and how close your ties are to the US. If they approve the relinquishment application it's sent on to the State Department for final approval and only then will it be approved or not. For a renunciation unless the embassy/consulate has reason to believe you're either being coerced into renouncing or are mentally incompetent to make such a decision yourself, once you stand up and swear/affirm the Oath of Renunciation it's done. No one can refuse you, even though the documents are sent to the State Department to have their supposed say.
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Old 15.10.2016, 22:36
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Re: US-CH citizen: tax compliance and renounce vs. relinquish US citizenship

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You do not have to do any tax filing before you renounce if you don't want to. It's not a requirement to be tax compliant before giving up your citizenship, the two are totally separate. That's what I did when I renounced, did the deed first and then did my filing.

Streamlined only requires the 3 and 6 years as part of its program, but to cleanly exit the US tax system you need to file 5 years of returns because you need to file form 8854. This is the exit form and if not filed you could end up as a "covered expatriate". This in turn could cause problems in the future if you want to visit the States. There's no problem in adding the extra couple of years to a Streamlined application, many people have done that. The 8854 form for 2015 is here. The 2016 will not be out until early 2017. The only thing that changes is the year it's supposed to cover, everything stays the same year in and year out.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i885...824.1476543847

It has to be filed by 15th June of the year following your renunication so timing can be a little tricky if you have a lot of catching up to do. For example if you renounce in November/December this year then you'd have to file it by June next year whereas if you renounce in January 2016 you have until June 2017 to file the form. More on tax filing obligations here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Streamlined does worry some people, but I used it when I renounced and haven't heard a word. I did do it through a US tax adviser even though I only had FBARs to file because I'd never ever used the system and didn't want to get things wrong. It cost, but for me it was worth it for the peace of mind. I haven't heard of any problems with people being stung via Streamlined.

You will find more info in these two threads over at the Isaac Brock Society website as well.

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/renunciation/

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/expat_tax/

Exactly which type are you going for though: a straight renunciation or a relinquishment, they are two different things though the words tend to be used interchangably. A renunciation is just that, no reason needed apart from the fact that you want to. A relinquishment is more complicated as you need to have performed an "expatriating act" with the intent of giving up your US citizenship. Gaining your second citizenship for example, assuming you weren't born with it, is an expatriating act. For a relinquishment the embassy/consulate will ask you to fill in a form which they use to help determine whether you did intend to lose your citizenship and how close your ties are to the US. If they approve the relinquishment application it's sent on to the State Department for final approval and only then will it be approved or not. For a renunciation unless the embassy/consulate has reason to believe you're either being coerced into renouncing or are mentally incompetent to make such a decision yourself, once you stand up and swear/affirm the Oath of Renunciation it's done. No one can refuse you, even though the documents are sent to the State Department to have their supposed say.

Thank you for your prompt reply and clarification.

I have another nationality (by birth). Would that not be considered sufficient to justify relinquishing?

I also was thinking of just adding two more back years to the Streamlined, for a total of five returns and six FBARs. And definetly doing it through a certified accountant who hopefully won't be too expensive

This outfit:
www.myCPA.ch seems straightforward and reasonably priced... Any thoughts?

Thank you again!
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