American expats and "accidental Americans" have complained furiously for more than six years about the US$2,350 fee that the U.S. has charged (since 2014) for the renunciation of one's American citizenship.
The highest such fee charged by any country, it's widely viewed as one of a number of measures that seem aimed at making it harder and less attractive for Americans to renounce, particularly as there wasn't any fee at all until after the U.S. introduced the extraordinarily expat-unfriendly Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010.
Last week, the Paris-based Association of Accidental Americans (AAA), along with 20 so-called accidental Americans of 10 different nationalities, finally did more than just complain about the renunciation fee: They filed a crowd-funded legal complaint in U.S. District Court in Washington against the U.S. State Department, arguing that the fee violates both the U.S. Constitution and international law.
As reported, the plaintiffs argue in their complaint that the right of an individual to renounce their U.S. citizenship "is a fundamental, constitutional, natural and inherent right under the U.S. Constitution."
As usual, Toronto-based lawyer and American expatriate rights advocate John Richardson (pictured left) was on top of the story within hours, and, also as usual, quickly nailed an informative, thought-provoking interview with one of the story's key players: Marc Zell, of Jerusalem-based Zell & Associates, the lawyer heading up the plaintiffs' legal team.
And even luckier for us, going forward, we will have the privilege of bringing you Richardson's excellent webinars, and video interviews, on this new YouTube channel of ours on a regular basis.
As regular readers of the American Expat Financial Journal will know, Richardson has long been a familiar figure in our articles, as well as our news, and many of his YouTube and Podbean webinars have also appeared here over the last two years. But this is the first time he is appearing as our official YouTube interviewer/presenter.
To make sure you don't miss any of them, you haven't yet signed up to receive our weekly news bulletins, where these webinars will always be flagged up prominently, you may do so by clicking here.
And if you're interested in learning more about Richardson, and reading some of the hundreds of articles he's written over the years on pretty much every challenging aspect of American expat tax and citizenship, click here.
- Latest U.S. renunciation numbers top 500, even as many 'Loss of Nationality' offices remain closed
- Questions being asked of EU officials about continued silence over FATCA's GDPR compatibility concerns
- IRS Commissioner Rettig says he supports 'reciprocal FATCA'
- State Dept seeks dismissal of 'accidentals' legal case relating to suspension of voluntary expatriation services
- AXFNJ Podcast: American expat adviser Jimmy Miller talks John Richardson through the basics of 'divorcing the IRS'