Why Boris Johnson must relinquish US citizenship on the occasion of his appointment as British Foreign Minister

cross-posted from the citizenshipsolutions dot ca blog

A recent post (July 7, 2016) on this blog began with:

Prologue – U.S. citizens are “subjects” to U.S. law wherever they may be in the world …

Yes, it’s true. In 1932 (eight years after the Supreme Court decision in Cook v. Tait), Justice Hughes of the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Blackmer v. United States ruled that:

While it appears that the petitioner removed his residence to France in the year 1924, it is undisputed that he was, and continued to be, a citizen of the United States. He continued to owe allegiance to the United States. By virtue of the obligations of citizenship, the United States retained its authority over him, and he was bound by its laws made applicable to him in a foreign country. Thus, although resident abroad, the petitioner remained subject to the taxing power of the United States. Cook v. Tait, 265 U.S. 47, 54 , 56 S., 44 S. Ct. 444. For disobedience to its laws through conduct abroad, he was subject to punishment in the courts of the United States. United States v. Bow- [284 U.S. 421, 437] man, 260 U.S. 94, 102 , 43 S. Ct. 39. With respect to such an exercise of authority, there is no question of international law,2 but solely of the purport of the municipal law which establishes the duties of the citizen in relation to his own government. 3 While the legislation of the Congress, unless the contrary intent appears, is construed to apply only within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, the question of its application, so far as citizens of the United States in foreign countries are concerned, is one of construction, not of legislative power. American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U.S. 347, 357 , 29 S. Ct. 511, 16 Ann. Cas. 1047; United States v. Bowman, supra; Robertson v. Labor Board, 268 U.S. 619, 622 , 45 S. Ct. 621. Nor can it be doubted that the United States possesses the power inherent in sovereignty to require the return to this country of a citizen, resident elsewhere, whenever the public interest requires it, and to penalize him in case of refusal. Compare Bartue and the Duchess of Suffolk’s Case, 2 Dyer’s Rep. 176b, 73 Eng. Rep. 388; Knowles v. Luce, Moore 109, 72 Eng. Rep. 473.4 What in England was the prerogative of the sov- [284 U.S. 421, 438] ereign in this respect pertains under our constitutional system to the national authority which may be exercised by the Congress by virtue of the legislative power to prescribe the duties of the citizens of the United States. It is also beyond controversy that one of the duties which the citizen owes to his government is to support the administration of justice by attending its courts and giving his testimony whenever he is properly summoned. Blair v. United States, 250 U.S. 273, 281 , 39 S. St. Ct. 468. And the Congress may provide for the performance of this duty and prescribe penalties for disobedience.

It’s that simple. If you are a U.S. citizen, some would argue that you are the property of the U.S.government.

On the other hand (and this will be the subject of another post), the Supreme Court decisions in Cook v. Tait and Blackmer v. The United States were decided in an era where there was no U.S. recognition of dual citizenship. It is reasonable to argue that these decisions have no applicability in the modern world.

There will be those who will say: Come on! Get real! The United States would never rely on these old court decisions. Well, they still do cite Cook v. Tait. Mr. FBAR lay dormant until it was resurrected by the Obama administration as the “FBAR Fundraiser“.

Dual Citizenship: What is the “effect” of a U.S. citizen also holding the citizenship of another nation?

The State Department description includes:

However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there. Most U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. nationality. Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose nationality.

The life and times of Boris Johnson – A United States taxpayer by birth

Assumptions about Mr. Johnson’s citizenship …

I am assuming that he became both a U.S. and U.K. citizen by birth. I also assume that he remains both a U.S. and a U.K. citizen.

A U.S. Centric Perspective: As a U.S. citizen, Mr. Johnson is defined primarily in terms of taxation. On the occasion of Mr. Johnson’s recent appointment as the U.K. Foreign Minister, the Washington Times published the following article.

The article referenced in the above tweet provides an interesting summary of the Mr. Johnson’s adventures with the U.S. tax system. The article demonstrates how U.S. “place of birth” taxation is used to extract capital from other nations and transfer that capital to the U.S. Treasury. (As always the comments are of great interest.)

A non-U.S. Centric Perspective: Mr. Johnson is a “poster boy” for the problems of the U.S. “place of birth taxation” (AKA “taxation-based citizenship”). Mr. Johnson’s “IRS Problems” resulted in raising the profile and awareness of U.S. tax policies. A particularly interesting article written by Jackie Bugnion and Roland Crim of “American Citizens Abroad”.

At a minimum, Mr. Johnson is subject to IRS jurisdiction, IRS reporting requirements, IRS threats and penalties and IRS assessments.

Boris Johnson has now been named the U.K. Foreign Minister …

How does his United States citizenship impact on this situation? Is it possible for him to be both a U.S. citizen and the British foreign minister? The “logical answer” is “Yes he can”. That said, having a U.S. citizen as the U.K. foreign minister raises many questions.

These questions include:

1. What effect (if any) does Mr. Johnson’s acceptance of this position have on his retention of United States citizenship as a matter of U.S. law?

2. If his acceptance of the position were a “relinquishing act” (under U.S. law) would Mr. Johnson be subject to the United States S. 877A Exit Tax?

3. Assuming that Mr. Johnson were to retain “dual” U.S./U.K. citizenship, how would his “divided loyalties” impact on this ability to serve as the British foreign minister?

4. Assuming that Mr. Johnson were to retain “dual” U.S./U.K. citizenship, how does the fact that the IRS has the jurisdiction to threaten him with fines and penalties impact the situation? What about the reporting requirements?

5. Should Boris Johnson formally relinquish his U.S. citizenship in order to avoid the conflict of interest that would arise because of divided loyalties?

Each question will be considered separately. Here we go …
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Is the State Department Shutting Down Expatriation Appointments in Canada?

reposted from citizenshiptaxation dot ca


An interesting conversation is taking place on the FB group American Expatriates. Journalist Serena Solomon from the publication VICE has requested stories from expats describing the emotional effects of renouncing. You might want to go over and take a read as many are quite interesting. It is a public group so I believe one can read without being a member; not sure if one needs a FB account.


Earlier today, there was the following comment, which forms the basis for this post:

Tom Paine A question for those in Canada: It appears that few or no renunciation appointments have been confirmed since January of 2016 when they switched to a centralized Renunciation system for all of Canada. Has anybody in Canada received a renunciation appointment in Canada who applied after February 1, 2016. If so, where was the appointment location? Again, I am asking about those who have applied for an appointment NOT those who had pre-existing appointments under the old system. For those outside of Canada, what has happened is that the demand to renounce in Canada is so great, that DOS has created a centralized renunciation system for all of Canada.


The change to a centralized renunciation system for Canada occurred this past February. A detailed post describing the procedure can be found here.
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Is it Congress or Treasury that is responsible for “taxation-based citizenship”? Perhaps change is through regulation and not law!

cross-posted from citizenshipsolutions dot ca

This post is a continuation to my recent post: “The Internal Revenue Code does not explicitly define “citizen”, “citizenship” or require “citizenship-based taxation“.
That post was reposted at the Isaac Brock Society, and received a comment which included:

Your statement that the IRC does not explicitly define citizenship is technically correct. It is also misleading. When the IRC was codified in 1939, the Secretary of Treasury was given an order to issue all needful regulations. That mandate is now found at 26 USC 7805.
The needful regulation of the Secretary, Treasury Regulation, 26 CFR
1.1-1(c) explicitly defines citizenship in terms of the 14th Amendment and it included the term subject. 26 CFR 1.1-1(a) explicitly states that the tax imposed by section 1 of the IRC imposes the tax on citizens and residents. It does not list any other type, class or category of person upon the tax may be imposed by force.

In the original post I had demonstrated why taxation based on “citizenship” was a reasonable inference from Sections 1 and 2 of the Internal Revenue Code. The basic reasoning from Sections 1 and 2 of the Internal Revenue (without consideration of outside sources) is reflected in the following syllogism:

1. All individuals with the exception of non-resident aliens are subject to U.S. taxation.

2. Citizens are individuals who are NOT “nonresident aliens”

Therefore, citizens are subject to taxation.

Nevertheless, the comment raises a very interesting question. To put it simply the question is:

Could U.S. Treasury/IRS by regulation exempt Americans abroad from U.S. taxation?

The purpose of this post is to explore this very interesting question.

Let’s work with the information in the comment.
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The Internal Revenue Code does NOT explicitly define “citizenship” or require “citizenship-based taxation”

reposted from citizenshipsolutions dot ca

It is widely understood that the United States Internal Revenue Code requires that “U.S. citizens” are subject to U.S. taxation wherever they may live in the world. Although this is true, Subtitle A (Income Taxes) of the Internal Revenue Code:

  1. Does NOT explicitly say that U.S. citizens are subject to
    U.S. taxation on their world income wherever they reside;
  2. Does NOT explicitly define the term “citizen” or “U.S.
    citizen”. (This contrasts with the the terms: “U.S. Person”,
    “Permanent Resident”, “Substantial presence”, etc. that ARE
    explicitly defined in the Internal Revenue Code here and here. This means that the starting point for
    the definition of “U.S. citizen” is in the 14th Amendment of the
    Constitution and the United States Immigration and Nationality

(Interestingly it appears that only the “Estate Tax” provisions in Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code (Internal Revenue Code S. 2001) specifically impose tax liability on the “taxable estate of every decedent who is a citizen or resident of the United States”.)

Some thoughts on each of these points …

Q. Who (according to the Internal Revenue Code) is subject to U.S. taxation on world income?

A. S. 1 of the Internal Revenue Code states that taxation is imposed on: “individuals”, “heads of household”, “estates”, “trusts”, etc. Note that the word “individual” is broad enough enough to include “citizen” but is NOT restricted to “citizen”. Put it another way: The Internal Revenue Code of the United States presumes that ALL individuals throughout the world are subject to U.S. taxation. Yes, its’ true …

Note that S. 1 of the Internal Revenue Code also defines which filing status one should use. (“Single”, “Head of Household”, “Married Filing Separately”, etc.) It also prescribes different rates of taxation for different filing statuses. Note that the most punitive status is “married filing separately” – which actually imposes a “hidden tax” – and is commonly used by Americans abroad.

U.S. citizens are subject to taxation on their world income because they are “individuals”.

The Internal Revenue Code does NOT define the meaning of “citizen”!

S. 7701(a)(5) creates the concept of the “tax citizen“. It doesn’t define who is a citizen, it merely states that, citizenship is not lost for tax purposes until the individual meets the requirements of Internal Revenue Code S. 877A(g)(4). Specifically S. 7701(a)(50) reads:

(50) Termination of United States citizenship
(A) In general

An individual shall not cease to be treated as a United States citizen before the date on which the individual’s citizenship is treated as relinquished under section 877A(g)(4).

Whoa!! How does any individual in the world escape U.S. taxation?

We look to S. 2 of the Internal Revenue Code which it title:

“Definitions and Special Rules”

S. 2(D) reads:

(d) Nonresident aliens

In the case of a nonresident alien individual, the taxes imposed by sections 1 and 55 shall apply only as provided by section 871 or 877.

In other words, if you are a “non-resident alien” you are taxable only on income connected to the United States. (By the way, S. 55 is the Alternative Minimum Tax. To see if you are required to pay it, see the Alternative Minimum Tax Assistant from the IRS.)

So, what’s a “nonresident alien”? Where is “nonresident” alien defined?

The answer (since January 1, 1984) is found in S. 7701(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. This section of the Internal Revenue defines the circumstances under which an “alien” has sufficient ties to the United States to move (or be
converted) from being a “nonresident alien” to being a “resident alien”.
I wrote an extensive post on this question here.

But, the starting point in the definition of “nonresident alien”

Internal Revenue Code S. 7701 (b) definition of resident alien and nonresident alien

(1) In general For purposes of this title (other than subtitle B) (JR NOTE: SUBTITLE B IS THE ESTATE AND GIFT TAX SECTION) —

(A) Resident alien An alien individual shall be treated as a resident of the United States with respect to any calendar year if (and only if) such individual meets the requirements of clause (i), (ii), or

(i) Lawfully admitted for permanent residence Such individual is a lawful permanent resident of the United States at any time during such calendar year.

(ii) Substantial presence test
Such individual meets the substantial presence test of paragraph (3).

(iii) First year election
Such individual makes the election provided in paragraph (4).

(B) Nonresident alien

An individual is a nonresident alien if such individual is neither a citizen of the United States nor a resident of the United States (within the meaning of subparagraph (A)).


Two ways of converting the “nonresident alien” to the “resident”
alien …

1. “Green Card” – Most of the focus of S. 7701(b)(6) is on Green Card Holders. A “Green Card” is a “permanent resident” VISA and is valid only as long as the person intends to reside permanently in the United States. This is both a matter of Immigration law and a matter of tax law (the Internal Revenue Code).

2. “Substantial presence test” – be very careful with this. The question is how many days is one entitled to spend in the United States each year before being treated as a “resident” for tax purposes. (I have seen people enter the United States on various “work related visas but then stay long enough to meet the “substantial presence” test.)


An IRS perspective is here:

The bottom line is that …

Every individual in the world is subject to full U.S. taxation on his/her world income unless he/she is a “non-resident alien”.

Think of it!!

John Richardson

Is JT Wearing His FATCA Flip Flops for Canada Day?

Happy Canada Day Chief Liberal Flip Flopping Hypocrite Prime Minister Trudeau. Are you wearing your FATCA Flip Flops to celebrate your capitulation to a foreign government?

Liberal Hypocrisy must be stopped. Liberals must stop the dirty work. Liberals must stop this dangerous attack on our privacy and on Canada’s sovereignty. Liberals must stop this Charter violation. Liberals must stop their FATCA Flip Flopping hypocrisy.

There must be no second class Canadian citizens.

Because a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.

Many thanks to Deckard for his help in putting this video together!