The USA is the one major nation in the world that taxes its citizens based on their citizenship rather than on their place of residency. US taxes are low but there’s no escaping them unless you’re rich enough to be able to afford a Panamanian business adviser. Demonstrating the exceptional ability to have it both ways, the US also taxes non-citizen residents based on their residency, rather than their nationality.
The US has recently made a considerable effort to make life difficult for US citizens residing abroad through what are mostly referred to as FATCA provisions. Among other things, these require that foreign banks report accounts held by US citizens to the Internal Revenue Service. Banks don’t want to incur this responsibility and for the most part they are simply refusing to open accounts for US citizens, or to close those already open. The FATCA regulations go beyond this so before you start packing, you should probably check them out. Brokerage houses are also canceling the accounts of US citizens living abroad, although we suspect that if the account is sufficiently large, they may make an exception.
It is possible to renounce US citizenship but the fees for doing so have recently been tripled to something over $2000. That might be a reasonable investment but it will almost certainly result in a thorough audit of your tax returns to examine your motives. We all know that people all over the world are begging to become US citizens, so what is your criminal motivation for going against the universal consensus? We risk stating the obvious by reminding you to obtain a desirable citizenship before giving up the passport that got you there. Being a stateless person is not a desirable option.
Between writing this and posting it to the blog, we have witnessed a catastrophic earthquake in central Italy, proving that no matter how wonderful a place may be, none is immune from natural or unnatural disasters. So among the drawbacks of Italy, I suppose one would have to include the threat of earthquakes.
|Bermuda, population 65.000|
England is a country I wouldn't have considered to be much of an option for US exiles, given as how Tony Blair converted it into an American colony of sorts. I mean, if you want to leave on political grounds, why go to a State Department subsidiary? However, post-Brexit, everything needs to be reevaluated. A few years ago, prices for almost anything were insanely high, but then one pound was worth $2. Post-Brexit, the pound has slipped to about $1.35 and if the trend continues, the UK may not be so impossibly expensive. On the other hand, British residency may no longer confer unlimited access to the rest of Europe, but there are still quaint pubs, beautiful gardens, a Queen and lots of history. While some parts of the country may confront Americans with a language barrier as impenetrable as that of France, there is little risk of being subjected to younger people saying "I'm good" or "I'm like....."
|Malta, population 450,000|
If you have enough money to live comfortably, the poorer the country, the better you’ll be able to live. This is probably the reason that American oligarchs and their politician employees are working so hard to devastate the American economy. Slavery is out of fashion these days but multitudes of low wage workers can make life so much more comfortable for the affluent or even the moderately well off.
The political climate of a country is largely dictated by what the people have lived through a couple of generations back. Thus, countries which have suffered through decades of Soviet communist rule tend to swing to the right, often the extreme right. Poland and Hungary are two prime examples but Austria, which is far enough east to have felt the pressure, has also flirted with the far right recently. Germany, Spain and Italy, having lived through the worst of the fascist dictatorships, have tended left in the post war era, although after seventy years that phase may be ending. Latin American countries, having virtually all been under the thumb of American-imposed fascist military dictatorships, keep struggling to go left, except where those dictators remain in control. There are exceptions, such as Cuba, which was and still is under a communist dictatorship of sorts. We don’t know where that will end up but Cuban refugees in the US have produced a font of ultra-right politicians such as Ted Cruz and Mario Rubio, along with thousands of rabid right wingers in the Miami area. They are pushing hard to validate our theory.