Personal Stories

I know a “just retired banker” in France who forbid his sons to marry US people. He told me that with a kind of fed-up/despising face showing how desperate he was during his last work years with FATCA. Also qualified me as “dead” when he discovered I was born in the US.

Female

France

It’s outrageous. I had to pay over $11,000 to the US on UK-based mutual funds because of PFIC taxation several years ago. Was particularly painful, as these were mostly in UK ISA accounts, which are tax-free here in Britain. Had already been living in UK for well over 20 years…felt like confiscation…and the tax preparation fees were well over $20,000 to amend those years.

Laura

UK

I have lived abroad for 40 years. I had my bank accounts and credit cards taken away from me in London because I have a US passport. I have to file tax returns every year which costs me $6000 because of the complexity of the US regulations. Out of curiosity, I rang Social Security and was told that I will never be eligible for either social security payments or Medicare as I have lived outside of the US for too long. What? It is beyond absurdity.

Kay

I married my husband, and after much debate, we decided to live in his country of Belgium. He had tenure so had job security, good benefits, and his family. My own family in the states have relocated, so we're not as close. Good thing as the company I worked for closed it's doors two months after we relocated. We saved up, bought a fixer-upper with a mortgage when a freak storm left us with a flooded house that had to be gutted. A screw up in the insurance meant we weren't covered so went to the bank for a loan. The same bank that had happily given us a mortgage a few years before suddenly said no. FATCA meant they were limiting services to existing American customers & not taking new ones. Just as we were going through this, we found out that two of our children had autism. So instead of going to back to work as I planned, it meant staying at home. It has taken us years to rebuild our lives and were just beginning to see the light when I was made aware of even more changes in legislation. During those years we bought second-hand everything possible, no family vacations or unnecessary expenses. My own health has been failing to the point I have a do-not-resuscitate order on my medical file, have made arrangements for my body to go to a medical school & final disposal. Now with the changes, I can't die in peace but have worries over what will happen to my husband and children once I'm gone. An end to citizenship-based taxation in favor of residency would lift a huge burden, the repeal of FATCA would mean my children would not face the troubles we have if they don't renounce. They will have to if they wish to be able to build a life here. I don't ask for sympathy or charity, I ask that they are given the same rights as anyone living and working in the continental US. Until then until my dying breath, I will not give up.
Susanne
Belgium
My story is very bland. Worked in UK, paid US/UK taxes, have not filed FBAR. Married to Brit so have to stay. Have no accounts in my name will have to renounce. I cannot have an account with my husband because of the danger of having him pulled in to the US tax system.
Jenifer
UK
I am a UK citizen who has lived in England since 2000, my entire adult life. Two years ago, I was stunned to become aware that I am subject to non-resident taxation and ‘foreign’ bank account reporting requirements (including all bank account numbers and balances), under threat of large fines and penalties, after receiving a FATCA letter from my local bank saying that they suspect I am a US citizen due to my birthplace. Because of FATCA, I learned that I am unable to bank and engage in normal financial and retirement planning in the country where I live and work and am a full citizen and that I am blocked from any form of standard tax efficient savings due to the fact of my national origin. I have been under threat of denial and rejection for every financial decision, including the mortgage for our home. Buying our house should have been a joyful time, as we are first-time buyers and had saved for over a dozen years to accumulate enough for a deposit. Because of FATCA, my British (non-dual) husband and I were scared throughout the purchase process. This has also strained our marriage because his financial information is at risk through his association with me, even though he has never lived or worked in the US. I am forced to include our bank account numbers and balances on the yearly submissions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which makes me ashamed. I have now paid £1400 for compliance to prove that I owe zero in taxes to the US. This year it will cost another £350, and my forced renunciation will cost £2000, after which another compliance fee of £350 will be payable. This means that to extricate myself from non-resident taxation and become free to have accounts and investments like any other UK citizen, I will have paid well over £4,000. I am on an average income, and this is a large percentage of my yearly earnings. I feel very unhappy about renouncing my citizenship and do not understand why my British friends and family members living in the US are able to have normal financial lives while I am not. In addition to corresponding with my local MP, I have written to and phoned ‘my’ US representatives on numerous occasions, but have received only general responses about tax reform that did not address my queries. Their priority is the people in their state. I have not even visited that state in almost 20 years, and have not been to the US at all, not even to see my family, since 2014. I am deeply worried about being able to visit in the future, after I have been forced to renounce US citizenship. My name will be published in the Federal Register to shame my family, which will be very painful. I come from a very patriotic family, Democrats on my mom's side and Republicans on my dad's, who taught me about how precious US citizenship is, and I always felt so lucky to have it. I could never have imagined it would cause destruction to my life and my husband's life, and I believe this is a terrible mistake. I am committed to helping the US make this right so that nobody else has to suffer and so that the precious blessing of US citizenship is restored for future generations, regardless of where in the world their life takes them.
Anonymous
UK

Re-posted from Isaac Brock Society

http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2011/12/14/my-story-calgary411/

My Story – calgary411

I was born in the States and lived half of my growing-up years (with many good memories) on each of the East and West coasts. The present U.S. is not the country I grew up in however. I am retired from the work force and presently 71 years old, wanting to live a simple life without the stress the issue of U.S. citizenship has brought.

My then-husband and I moved to Canada in 1969 and both became Canadian citizens in March 1975, completely believing (as we were warned of it at the time by the U.S. Consulate) that we relinquished our U.S. citizenship by taking the Oath of Allegiance for our Canadian citizenship. We chose to live and work in Canada, pay our taxes in Canada and, especially, raise our children (born here) in Canada.
In 2008 I was made aware that the rules had changed (without anyone in the U.S. giving me any notification or a choice to opt in or opt out) — I was still a U.S. citizen and was not in compliance with filing U.S. tax returns — I am NOW compliant for years 2005 through 2012. The Canadian accountant that I had used for so many years and who knew that I was born in the States referred me to a Calgary cross-border accounting firm as he was not trained or licensed to deal with doing my back U.S. returns. It was confirmed by that respected cross-border accounting firm that I was required to back file and so at that time they helped me make a ‘quiet disclosure’ for three years of returns and (Foreign Bank Account Reports) FBARs. In November 2012, I renounced my US citizenship, having paid US tax lawyers, US tax accountants and US immigration / nationality lawyers over $42,000 in compliance fees, accounting and advice regarding the possibility of my son being able to renounce an automatic U.S. citizenship because of his birth in Canada to U.S. citizen parents.<br>
Besides the U.S. legal and accounting professionals I hired for U.S. tax compliance and filing final Form 8854 after my 2012 renunciation, I paid $3,661 in actual US taxes — all related to the Canadian Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) that I hold for my adult son who has a developmental disability. The Canadian tax payer helps pay for bonds and grants that are contributed to RDSPs by the Canadian government, so Canadian taxpayers have indeed had some of their Canadian taxpayer money as well go to the US IRS.<br>
My biggest concern is for my adult son for whom I hold the RDSP (and others like him!). Since the U.S. considers the RDSP a foreign trust (as they do the Canadian Registered Education Savings Plan and Tax Free Savings Account), gains are subject to tax and this negates for him the same benefit that other Canadian citizens with a disability receive under these same plans. Neither of my children were ever registered by their parents as U.S. citizens with a U.S. Consulate. I never considered them anything but Canadian citizens. I also do not want the IRS to take one penny of my kids’ inheritance that I have worked and saved so hard for – in Canada.

Here is the advice I got from US Department of State, Legal: 
From: Kavaler, Howard
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 9:55 AM
Subject: RE: Question re US Citizenship never registered with the US
Ms. Tapanila:
If your son was born in Canada to two U.S. citizens, at least one of whom had a residence in the United States prior to his birth, your son is a U.S. citizen pursuant to Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Your understanding of U.S. citizenship law is absolutely correct. U.S. citizenship is a status that is personal to the U.S. citizen and may not be renounced by a parent or a legal guardian. If your son seeks to renounce his citizenship, it will be incumbent upon him to demonstrate that (a) his action in renouncing his U.S. citizenship is the product of his own free will and (b) that he fully understands the consequences attendant to the relinquishment of his U.S. citizenship.
…which agrees with the information from an immigration / nationality lawyer in Washington, DC, to confirm my son’s US status and give possibilities for his renunciation. The result was that my children were US citizens from the moment of their births. The following is information from that lawyer based on his conversations with the US Department of State: DOS persons have “sympathy” for such cases.

However, the developmentally disabled person will have to have FULL understanding of what he’s doing; if any question of lack of comprehension and grasping meaning and importance of ramifications, they could NOT approve such a case. From DOS point of view, US citizenship is precious and they have therefore established fundamental requirements for “compelling reason”. Even though there is the risk that a person’s financial resources could run out before his/her life was over, they will never approve a renunciation for financial / economic reasons. DOS has NEVER had such a renunciation case approved due to “compelling circumstances”. I could sue but persons this immigration / nationality lawyer talked with at DOS are SURE no one would ever win such a case as the courts view the discretionary action that DOS has would take precedence.

My Canadian-born son, never registered with the US (didn’t have to — he was US-defined US citizen from his moment of birth to two then US citizen parents, which we had no idea of), never lived in the US, never had any benefit from the US and cannot renounce because of his lack of requisite ‘mental incapacity’ to understand the concept of citizenship. The U.S. Department of State states that a parent, a guardian or a trustee cannot renounce on such a person’s behalf, even with a court order. He and many others without ‘requisite mental capacity’, including others perhaps with a brain injury from accident or stroke, age-related dementia, etc. are effectively ENTRAPPED into U.S. citizenship and the consequences of that with U.S. citizenship-based taxation law (while the rest of the world, save Eritrea, tax based on residence). The only way not to be so entrapped would be for the U.S. to practice residence-based taxation. Some say, they never will (so, though never may not be, it will likely not be in my lifetime this will change).

Ruth’s Story

Marilyn’s Story

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