Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship in record numbers in 2020, according to a report by Bambridge Accountants New York.
More than twice the number of Americans have given up their U.S. citizenship in the first half of 2020 compared to the entirety of 2019, the report said.
In the first six months of this year, 5,816 Americans expatriated, according to the report. Only 2,072 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2019 as a whole.
The first two quarters of 2020 logged the highest and second-highest numbers on record of Americans renouncing their citizenship, the report said, with the first three months of the year seeing a record 2,909 giving up citizenship.
Until this year, the number of Americans expatriating had ”been in steep decline since 2017,” the report said.
Every three months, the U.S. government publishes the names of all people who gave up their U.S. citizenship, pursuant to Internal Revenue Service rules.
To renounce their citizenship, Americans must pay a $2,350 fee.
Alistair Bambridge, partner at Bambridge Accountants New York — a firm that specializes in U.S. expat tax policy, U.K. expats, actors, other creatives in the two countries — said he believes the spike is due to COVID-19, politics and taxes.
“The huge increase in U.S. expats renouncing from our experience is that the current pandemic has allowed individuals the time to review their ties to the U.S. and decide that the current political climate and annual US tax reporting is just too much to bear,” he said in the report.
He added that American citizens living abroad are still required to file U.S. taxes every year and report all their foreign bank accounts, pensions and investments.
“For many Americans, this intrusion is too complicated, and they make the serious step of renouncing their citizenship as they do not plan to return to live in the U.S.,” Bambridge said.