We’ve listed here links to resources we consider valuable in understanding the law, the process and the details about expatriation. They’re divided into the following categories (click on the links below to jump straight to that section):

Please note that much information you find about expatriation – online or elsewhere – is misleading at best and dangerously wrong at worst. We strongly recommend confirming the accuracy of any non-official sources you find.

All documents required by Department of State during expatriation process

Statement of Understanding Concerning the Consequences and Ramifications of Relinquishment or Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship


Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of United States

Certificate of Loss of Nationality

[For reference: Guide for embassy staff regarding renunciation, from the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual]

Laws, court cases and Congressional reports relating to expatriation

1868 Statute of Congress declaring expatriation to be a natural and inherent right of all citizens. CHAP. CCXLIX – An Act concerning the Rights of American Citizens in foreign States (begins near bottom of first page).

1924 U.S. Supreme Court decision that the U.S. may tax the foreign-source income of a U.S. citizen domiciled in a foreign country. Cook v. Tait, 1924.

1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision that a U.S. citizen’s nationality cannot be revoked without his consent. Afroyim v. Rusk, 1968.

1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision that citizenship cannot be revoked without a clear preponderance of evidence that the citizen intended to renounce his citizenship. Vance v. Terrazas, 1980.

1986 Law amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to establish that relinquishment of citizenship must be voluntary and intentional. 8 USC § 1481.

1996 Law to “close the billionaires’ loophole” by strengthening existing regulations about expatriation: presumption that principal motivation of renunciation for individuals meeting economic thresholds is tax avoidance, stipulation that renunciant remains taxable until he officially informs IRS, etc. 1996 HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), H.R. 3103, 104th Cong. (Tax on renunciants begins on page 158).

2003 Congressional review of the effect of the 1996 expatriation law. Many details on process of renunciation, number of renunciations accepted, problems of enforcement, data issues between Department of State and IRS numbers, IRS private rulings relating to expatriation, etc. Joint Committee on Taxation, JCS-2-03.

2008 Law establishing for the first time in U.S. history an exit tax on expatriation. 2008 HEART (Heroes Eearning Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008) Act, H.R. 6081, 110th Cong. (Expatriation tax begins on page 16.)

IRS information

Overview of Expatriation Tax

Form 8854

Instructions for Form 8854

Guidance for Expatriates (A 65-page guide to how the IRS interprets the exit tax provision of the 2008 HEART law. Clarifies issues relating to the mark-to-market calculations, deferred compensation/tax-deferred accounts, nongrantor trusts. Note that although the law applies to individuals who expatriated on or after June 18, 2008, the regulations issued based on this IRS guidance apply definitively only to individuals who expatriated on or after October 15, 2009).

Form W-8CE, Notice of Expatriation and Waiver of Treat Benefits. (The form to be given to payers to inform them that you have renounced citizenship, are a “covered expatriate”, and that they must withhold 30% of payments made to you).

Media articles

NY Times, March 6, 1914. To Become British Because of Tax.

Forbes, November 21, 1994. The New Refugees. [Link is to the Congressional Record, where the article was reprinted in full at the request of Senator Edward Kennedy. Article starts about 20% of the way down the page; scroll down or search for headline “New Refugees” to find it quickly. Note that this is the article which launched so much scrutiny from Congress and the White House, and led to enactment of the 1996 legislation.]

NY Times, December 18, 2006. Tax Leads Americans Abroad to Renounce U.S.

Economist, June 12, 2008. Taxing American expats (link requires subscription; click here or here for excerpts).

Investment Executive, June 18, 2009. New rules make renouncing citizenship too expensive for U.S. Expats.

Wealth Bulletin, October 28, 2009. More US wealthy opt to surrender their citizenship.

NY Times, April 25, 2010. More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship

Non-government sources regarding expatriation and tax

Alston & Bird Law Firm, July 15, 2008. New section 877A significantly alters expatriation tax regime.

American Citizens Abroad. A Brief History of U.S. Tax Law on the Taxation of Americans Abroad.

Cynthia Blum (Professor, Rutgers-Newark) & Paula N. Singer (lawyer, Vacovec, Mayotte & Singer, Newton, MA). A Coherent Policy for U.S. Residence-Based Taxation of Individuals, 41 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 705 (2008).

Deloitte, 2008. How are you affected by the June 17th enactment of the HEART Act?

Faegre & Benson Law Firm, September 2, 2008. New “Heroes” Law May Be Villain for Expatriating U.S. Citizens and LPRs Who Surrender Green Cards.

Konrad Hummer (Managing Partner, Wegelin & Co.). August 24, 2009. Farewell America.

Michael Kirsch (Professor, Notre Dame). Taxing Citizens in a Global Economy, 82 N.Y.U. Law Review 443 (2007).

Yu Hang Kwong, Houston Business and Tax Journal, Catch Me If You Can: Relinquishing Citizenship for Taxation Purposes after the 2008 Heart Act.

Mark Nestmann (Wealth Advisor). October 21, 2009. What It’s REALLY Like to Expatriate.

Kevin E. Packman (lawyer, Holland & Knight). August, 2008. The Tax Rules Just Changed: Emotions Aside, Does Expatriating Make Financial Sense?

Michael Pfeiffer (lawyer, Caplin & Drysdale), September 28, 2009. The Final State Of Expatriation?

New Additions – October 2013

Isaac Brock Society

Isaac Brock Society – Relinquishment

Renounce U.S. Citizenship Blog

Maple Sandbox Blog

Next section–>>

Analyzing your tax situation if you expatriate

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