In a letter to the IRS, US law firm Flott and Co tells of three “Accidental Americans”:
The first is a Canadian. She was born in the US while her parents, both Canadian citizens, were at graduate school in 1954. She returned to Canada with them when she was two years old and has lived in Canada since. When her father inquired about her US citizenship in 1973, the US Consul in Winnipeg advised that she would lose her US citizenship if she obtained a Canadian passport and lived in Canada for three year after reaching her 22nd birthday without taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. She obtained a Canadian passport, continued to live in Canada, and did not take an oath of allegiance to the United States prior to reaching her 25th birthday. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which the US Consul referenced in his letter to her father, was repealed in 1978 before she had completed three years continuous residence in Canada after turning 22 in 1976. She was shocked to learn on July 22, 2013 that she is still a US citizen by birth.
The second is British. She, too, was born in the United States while her parents, both of whom were British citizens, were in the US. She returned with them to England when she was three and has lived in the UK ever since. Indeed, she has travelled to the US on a UK passport with a US visa, issued by the US Consulate in London. She contacted me in early May to confirm that she was not as US citizen based on the US visa issued to her. I had to advise her that she was indeed a US citizen by birth and explained US citizenship is automatic and non-consensual by operation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Being a British citizen at birth did not affect her US citizenship.
The third is Irish. She was born in the US to Irish nationals who were studying in the US. She left when she was five and has lived in Ireland or other parts of Europe since. On July 10, 2013 she contacted me after having been told the week before at a party that US citizens were being called in to a local bank to verify their citizenship. Like the Canadian before her, she was genuinely surprised to learn that she is a US citizen and subject to tax on her worldwide income.
He raises some good points in his letter. However, he focuses–as many lawyers and accountants seem to do–on suggesting better ways for these three women who are not economically connected to U.S. to become compliant with IRS. He refers to them as “innocent delinquents.”
Why aren’t the professionals recommending changes to American law? Why aren’t they telling IRS what FATCA is doing to real lives? Why does United States of Arrogance think they have any right to claim these individuals, along with millions of others around the globe, as their own?!?
Oh, wait, I know the answer to that last question. Because they are bullies.