Renounce, Relinquish or Do Nothing

I am convinced I gave up my US citizenship decades ago, but the US State department may not agree with me, so I waffle about what I should do.dither
The way I see it, there are some real uncertainties in our future:

  • Enough money may not be raised to see the Charter challenge through to completion.
  • The Charter challenge may not win.
  • The Canadian government may cede even more to the US and stop what little protection Canadians have from IRS collection of taxes and fines.
  • Bank may or may not start asking all account holders if born in the U.S.
  • Customs officials at border crossings may intensify hassles crossing US border on Canadian passport, or even deny entry.
  • Don’t know what further actions the IRS may take to press the FATCA/FBAR/tax return issue.
  • Have no way of knowing whether coming to the attention of US State department will put family members at risk of being identified as possible US persons.
  • Have no idea of level of communication between US State department, IRS and Canadian banks.

To try to help me see things more clearly, I drew up a list of pros and cons. I’m sure I haven’t thought of all the possible ramifications of each action, since I’m still dithering. At any rate, here’s my list.

Option 1: Do nothing


  • Don’t get on US State department radar; therefore don’t get on IRS radar.
  • Have no US indicia.
  • Bank accounts are under the (current) limit for scanning for US indicia.
  • The Canadian government may continue to protect Canadian citizens from IRS collection of taxes and fines.
  • If bank identifies as US person, right now still protected from IRS collections.
  • Possibility of relinquishment remains open.
  • Don’t have to deal with spiteful people at the US consulate.
  • Don’t care if ever travel to US again.


  • Continued state of stress and anxiety and fear of the unknown future.
  • Cannot open new bank accounts in case bank asks for place of birth.
  • If bank asks place of birth, have nothing to show why not a US citizen or have a CLN, except verbal ‘reasonable explanation’ which bank may not accept.
  • If bank identifies as US person, then bank account info goes to IRS, then on IRS radar.
  • Canadian government may continue trend of betraying Canadians and allow IRS to come into Canada for tax/FBAR collection.
  • Risk refusal of entry to US on Canadian passport which may negatively impact career.
  • Bank may be eager to placate IRS and ask place of birth of all account holders.
  • Have to continue signing lottery tickets with spouse’s name.
  • Continued worry about selling property and being liable for US capital gains at some future date.

 Option 2: Go for backdated relinquishment


  • Would have definite answer.


  • Risk exposing rest of family to State department, possibly IRS.
  • Risk of relinquishment being denied.
  • Some consulate officials difficult to deal with – could be very stressful and unpleasant experience.

 If relinquishment approved:      

  • Be free of the US.
  • No stress, no anxiety, no fear of the future.
  • Could travel to US on Canadian passport (therefore no negative impact on career).
  • Have to carry CLN when travelling to US.
  • No IRS problems.
  • No bank problems, have CLN as proof.
  • No impact on taxes re: selling property, TFSA, etc.

If relinquishment denied:

  • Greatly increased stress, increased anxiety.
  • Will be on State department radar, possibly IRS radar.
  • IRS may identify to banks as US citizen.
  • Would be at risk for IRS determining non-compliance as ‘wilful’ re: FBARs and tax filing if don’t immediately begin renunciation process.
  • If bank asked, would be unable to give ‘reasonable explanation’; may have information sent to IRS.
  • Information on joint account with spouse may go to IRS.
  • Would be forced to seriously consider renunciation process.
  • Unable to sell property (capital gains) or have TFSAs, etc. without considering that IRS may try to force US tax collection and Canadian government might cave.

Option 3: Renounce


  • Be free of the US.
  • Have CLN to show bank.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety (after compliance and renunciation complete).


  • Greatly increased stress and anxiety while coming into compliance.
  • Probably would have to self-identify as US person to banks.
  • Must come into 5 years US tax compliance, with cost of professional assistance.
  • Must get past information from banks and file FBARs.
  • Joint account information with Canadian spouse goes to the IRS (which means unhappy spouse).
  • Likely to be stressful experience at US consulate during renunciation process.
  • May be stressful/unpleasant experiences at US border in future.
  • Cannot sell property until out of IRS grasp unless willing to pay tax on capital gains.
  • May put family on US State department/IRS radar.

If anyone has any other pros and cons and ideas they’d like to share, I’d really like to hear them. I’ve got to stop this dithering some time!

26 thoughts on “Renounce, Relinquish or Do Nothing

  1. Relinquishing could also require five years of back filings and FBARS. I would say to only take the relinquishing route if your personal situation calls for it. You might prefer to relinquish if you already were told you lost U.S. citizenship years ago. I took this route because it honestly was what I preferred since I do have to travel to the U.S. at least once a year. If you are in that boat a relinquishment may be looked upon a little more favourably at the border. If my relinquishment is not approved then I’m not sure what I will do as renouncing is perhaps not the route I want to take. So, if you end up in that boat you might have to completely re evaluate everything and you’re back as square one.
    One other con I see is that recently relinquishments are taking a LOT longer than renouncing is. I was told the reason for this is that it is considered a case that a lawyer in D.C. must decide is valid, not so with renouncing. Those are clearer for the U.S. and are rubber stamped as soon as they are gotten to.
    If you don’t have to travel to the U.S. quite a lot I’d just go ahead and renounce if you are giving up U.S. citizenship.
    For children of U.S. parents many are just not doing anything. There is no indicia on their passports many times and they may really not have anything to worry about for quite a long time.
    As far as the Charter Challenge or other law suits go regarding FATCA. We could be looking at a long, long process and several more years of FATCA sitting upon our lives preventing us from saving and living normally abroad. I DO think major changes to this awful law will happen but, not any time soon. Waiting it out isn’t something I’d recommend. Decide which option works for you and go ahead with it. For all we know any changes made to FATCA in the future could make things worse for us all. C-24 which Harper implemented says he can share any data on any Canadian with any foreign government.
    This is a good article as some might be tempted to wait to face these decisions. It is such a long road.

  2. Your pros have an extreme positive bias and your cons have an extreme negative bias which I guess is normal but to me it seems like you already know what you want to do but are having trouble pulling the trigger. I would assume that conditions will worsen with time , ie we will get tossed under the bus again and again as Canada gives what rights we have left to the US again and again. This latest FATCA is likely just the first step. The Vancouver consulate is very thourough at processing relinquishmnent cases and I recieved my CLN less than FOUR months after my appt at the consulate.I actually went to renounce but they did not want my $450 and they told ME that by becoming a CAD citizen that I relinquished .The decision on relinquihments are made at the consulate , not Washington DC it appears as they only go there for the rubber stamp.

  3. @disala, you’re right, I do find I tend to go to the extremes. Something about this situation doesn’t allow for any middle ground in my mind.  You got your CLN in 4 months- that’s just amazing. As AtticusinCanada said, I’ve heard of very long delays in getting them. And you said exactly how I feel, that our govt will continue to sell us out to the US.
    @AtticusinCanada, you’re right, depending upon when a person committed their relinquishment act, filing could be required I should have listed that. It’s also an emotional issue, since I truly thought I lost US citizenship decades ago and have felt thoroughly and completely Canadian since then – and I was outraged the US was trying to reclaim me (hence my name), and I continue to be outraged now that my govt is selling me out. Intellectually, I know I should be leaving emotions out of this, but I find it’s hard to step back and look at things objectively.

  4. @ Outraged
    Excellent post. The decision as to what do can be very troubling and so much dependent on one’s personal circumstance.
    I originally was going to do nothing, but after obtaining a great deal of information, both on my own and from the experiences posted at Brock, I could see that my own case was basically a slam dunk relinquishment. In the end, I received my CLN in 9 weeks, which included the Christmas holidays. This is one of the shortest wait times that I could find for Canadians.
    Even though I’ve had the CLN for a year and a half, it only recently clicked in my mind that I was never a dual citizen, after being unsure since I heard in 1987 or so about the infamous Supreme Court case. I now know that the moment I was sworn in as a Canadian citizen, I ceased to be a U. S. citizen. And, I have a piece of paper to prove it.
    I fully realize that others have complicating factors which muddy the waters quite a bit. I now always suggest that people spend some time at Sandbox and Brock and possibly make an appointment with John Richardson.
    Many have expressed concerns about what the U.S. might do, even though there has not been much evidence to support those concerns. Although I have a CLN, I don’t think that it’s a necessity. But, it is a great comfort.

  5. One bit of clarification, based on my experience of my CLN (issued several decades ago) and also that of my wife with her CLN (issued a couple of years ago):
    In neither case did the State Department ever ask any question, verbally or on any form that had to be completed, that would identify a spouse or any children. They don’t (as of about two years ago, nor right now as far as I know) do that. Applying for a relinquishment CLN, particularly if it’s based on a relinquishment act that was committed before 2004, will not result in any need to file anything to the IRS (as I understand IRS form 8854, its instructions, and what several lawyers have said or suggested on the web), so even your financial particulars aren’t going to be outed. And State Department has not followed up with my wife re a spouse or children (she didn’t even need to mention she was married, on her form or interview, except for prior name changes from a previous marriage so she did need to show marriage and divorce decrees from that to prove she is who she said she is). She did admit on the State Department form that at the time of her kids’ birth she did register them with a US consulate, noting this was BEFORE she committing her relinquishing act, but no one has asked her for any details about them (and none of them share her surname now). And I think I can guarantee that if any US authority ever does ask her about her kids, she’ll very firmly tell them to go to hell and refuse to answer the question. But the reality is, in the CLN process State doesn’t pursue anything about spouses or kids AFAIK. And I very much doubt IRS or your banks or CRA can do that either, unless spouse and/or kids are on your financial account data and it gets reported to IRS. Which it shouldn’t be if you have a CLN, because with a CLN you clearly are no longer a US person, under either FATCA or the US tax code on the basis of birthplace, and I think in that case you’d have prima facie grounds for a hell of a lawsuit against anyone and everyone who reported you under either piece of legislation because that would be frankly illegal AFAIK.
    That particular part of your “con” list regarding a CLN application based on a relinquishing act (before 2004 and certainly if it’s a couple of decades earlier as it was in my wife’s case) is not going to trigger any identification of your spouse or children either to State Department or to IRS. As far as I’ve seen so far (based on about eight cases of individuals whose names and particulars I know) your CLN isn’t even going to be copied to IRS (at least it won’t show up on the quarterly Federal Register list the publish), and even if it were, your CLN and CLN file contain nothing about spouse or children.
    I suppose if one is paranoid enough, one might envision a massive data-base-linkage search that the US might try to do to uncover your family. Assuming they have access to all the relevant data bases (including those in Canada most of which they can’t access), the computer power and computer staff to program and conduct this, the budget for it, and the motivation to do it. Except maybe for a handful of very high-profile individuals or persons identified on some sort of international “watch list” for members of various violent extremist groups, I think that kind of paranoia might qualify for serious mental health treatment.
    The other concerns you cite are real ones, but on this specific example (a decades-ago relinquishment application resulting in “outing” of spouse or children), I think there is absolutely no need to lose any sleep.
    I’m not a lawyer and this is not a legal opinion, but honestly I think that particular bullet point should come off your list of concerns. At least in pre-2004 relinquishment cases, and assuming you’re squeaky clean in terms of never doing anything since relinquishment that might cause problems (e.g., voting in a US election, registering a kid with a US consulate AFTER becoming a foreign citizen with intent to relinquish, arguably maybe or not getting a US passport after the relinquishing act — the real problem probably is if you used that passport to travel anywhere other than to the US).
    But if in doubt, and really unsure, consult a knowledgable lawyer — I’d suggest starting with John Richardson but there are some others you might also consult.

  6. Regarding receipt of CLNs, I haven’t been finding that recently relinquishments are taking a lot longer than renouncing is.
    I really can’t find much rhyme or reason to wait times, except a few things, such as it varies noticeably based on what part of the world one is in. Also here in Canada, the point in time when a person expatriates, by any method, seems to be a factor as well. Eg, at Toronto it seemed roughly that 2011 people waited close to a year, 2012-early 2013 closer to half that time, and since mid-2013 back up to close to a year.
    We’ve had reports ranging from a relinquishment-based CLN taking 2 weeks and a renunciation-based CLN taking 15 months. Reports from Vancouver actually have the average wait time for relinquishment-based CLNs slightly shorter than renunciation-based ones (average 4.2 months vs. 4.6 months). [Our statistical sample at Brock is pretty small, of course. Vancouver’s average is based on 16 people.]
    I definitely don’t think relinquishment CLNs come more quickly, but I don’t think they take significantly longer.
    I would say, though, that if there’s going to be a problem, I believe it’s more likely going to be with a relinquishment because renunciation is really cut and dried, whereas depending on the person’s fact set a relinquishment may or may not be.
    Usually, though, problematic fact sets are dealt with at the consulate level in the first place, and DC relies heavily on the consul’s report. The consulate is where, for practical purposes, the decision is made, except in cases such as when a person contests a consul’s negative recommendation.
    Coincidentally, I took a look at the Toronto chart in response to a question on another thread a few days ago – the person was waiting for their CLN since Fall 2013 – and came up with the following.
    These are the people in our records at Brock, who attended at Toronto September 2013 – July 2014.
    People still waiting (10):
    Kingston – Sep 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    Mrs. Kingston – Sep 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    Atticus – Sep 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    Michael – Oct 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    Ian – Oct 2013 – s. 349(a)(5) (renunciation)
    Global Citizen – Dec 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    LM – Apr 2013 – s. 349(a)(5) (renunciation)
    Global Citizen’s family member – Apr 2014 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    Kathy – Jun 2014 – s. 349(a)(4) (govt employment)
    Swanee – Jul 2014 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation)
    People who have received their CLNs (2):
    Badger – Dec 2013 – s. 349(a)(1) (naturalisation) – received Jun 2014
    My Kitty – Jan 2014 – s. 349(a)(4) (govt employment) – received May 2014
    Interestingly, of the 12 persons reporting to Brock, who expatriated at Toronto after August 2013 (10 relinquishers, 2 renunciants), the only 2 who have received CLNs yet were both relinquishers (Dec and Jan), one of whose application was sent in with a negative recommendation by the consul, while a routine renunciant from October is still waiting.
    Persons reporting to Brock, who attended at Toronto consulate August 2013 or earlier, have either got their CLN or we’ve lost contact with a few of them. CLN delivery time for those persons who were there in Summer 2013 took about 9 or 10 months.
    Wait times are charted in Appendix I, The Isaac Brock Society Consulate Report Directory

  7. @Schubert – THANK YOU! That relieves my mind greatly. In the absence of information, my mind runs rampant (and paranoid). Now that I’ve got someone else’s experience to go by, that concern has gone to extremely minor.  Thank you thank you.

  8. To expand a bit on Schubert’s comment, I also do not know any relinquishers who have heard anything from the IRS. For that matter, I don’t know of anyone who has been outside of the IRS system for many years, receiving any notices or demands to file, even in cases where some U.S. source taxable income was received through an inheritance.
    One person who was unsuccessful in their attempt to relinquish asked the Consulate staff about the IRS. The answer given was basically, that’s another department and the person would have to contact the IRS them-self. The Consulate would not do it.
    The IRS has been successful in instilling fear by just stating their intentions to crack down on overseas non filers. Through FATCA, the IRS has also put a chill on using tax havens. Somehow, I doubt that most of the information they are supposed to collect from FFIs will ever be used..
    All it takes is a few uninformed media reports and the odd story of someone having difficulty at the border, to make many people feel like the poor woman in the graphic included in the post. Great graphic, btw.

  9. Hello Outraged…I love the stressed US person picture. And you are correct, there are many uncertainties about this subject. We need to remain vigilante. The laws in Canada have changed and may continue to change. My inclination is to take steps towards obtaining a CLN, being free of the US and most important being free of fear and anxiety. As well, to keep contributing as I can to the Charter Challenge fund and effort. However there are so many different situations people have, that everyone has to choose the path that’s best for them. I think we are lucky to have the Maple Sandbox, Isaac Brock, Citizenship Solution and the ACDS for help and support in getting through this emotional and financial mine field imposed by the US/IRS.

  10. Re Hazy’s comments about State’s attitude toward IRS, and to reinforce them —
    those of us who have been active on this issue since 2011 may recall the famous mass-renunciation-info session the Toronto consulate had in October 2011 with about 25 people who wanted CLNs in the room. The Vice Consul who ran the meeting made it very clear at the outset he was not there to discuss or debate policy and that there would be no discussion of “the 800 pound gorilla in the room” by which everyone believed he meant the IRS.
    Having worked for decades in the Canadian federal bureaucracy, I suspect that in the US as in Canada, departments really don’t like having to deal with other departments’ messes. IRS and FATCA have created a huge burden on State Department consular offices; no extra funding nor staff were allocated to State for this. Vice consuls didn’t sign onto their jobs to sit and watch anxious or angry Americans ditch their citizenship across the desk, that wasn’t in the recruiting posters or the career plan for any of them.
    I very much doubt most US consular officers would give the time of day to IRS personnel except under extreme duress. The IRS may be out to get you, but I very much doubt State is or that people at the working level and front line in State have even the slightest interest in helping the IRS.
    Besides, no one, including federal government employees in anyone’s country, ever loves the Tax Man.
    There are things to be concerned about, but don’t get paranoid about things that really aren’t likely in the cards.

  11. Hi Haze. Can you please elaborate on your paragraph: “after being unsure since I heard in 1987 or so about the infamous Supreme Court case. I now know that the moment I was sworn in as a Canadian citizen, I ceased to be a U. S. citizen. And, I have a piece of paper to prove it.”
    What is this infamous Supreme Court case? How do you cease to be US citizen the moment you sworn in as a Canadian citizen? I just don’t see the link.
    Greatly appreciated.

    1. Logical. Your comments seem to have been lost in the Maple Sandbox maze. I think Hazy is referring to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reinstated citizenship for certain US citizens who had lost it by becoming citizens of a second country.
      The Supremes ruled that intent was all important. If you didn’t intend to give up US ness then you could be a dual. If you did intend to give it up, then you did indeed lose it.
      Intent is proven by subsequent actions.
      In your case, intent is clear and you are no longer American. At that time there was no requirement to inform the State dep’t or to obtain a CLN . You have no tax obligations.

  12. Am I still a US person?
    Can anyone shed some light on my situation.
    I am 73 years old married to a CDN with no kids. I first came to Canada in 1967. With a job offer, I got my immigration papers stamped on the border when I first entered Canada. In 1977, I swore allegiance to the Queen and became a CDN citizen. I worked in the Federal GOV for about 30 years in a professional capacity in various policy and middle management functions, holding a variety of CND security clearances.
    Ever since I became a CDN citizen:
    – I never dealt with US embassies anywhere or needed any US services. I never renewed my US passport, and always used my CDN passport.
    – I never earned a dollar from the US and did not file any income tax forms to the IRS. (I didn’t know I had to).
    – I presently live on my Public Service Pension and from savings and investments.
    – Even if I filed US income tax, I don’t think I would owe the IRS any money, taking the credit they provide into account.
    I am sure there are thousands of people like me. I personally know more than 25 people questioning what to do? I am not planning on coming out and joining any IRS program. I don’t believe they are fair, and I don’t agree with the CBT.
    Do you think that I am still a US citizen? With my Government work, my allegiance to the Queen, the security clearances, etc.. isn’t that enough to strip me from my US citizenship? I read somewhere that to relinquish, I should send or have sent that info to the state department; but where and how?
    To be on the safe side, Do you think I should renounce or relinquish? If necessary, either would be fine by me.
    At the time being, all my trips to the US are for leisure travel only.
    This situation is not preventing me from sleeping for now, but I should say it’s a bit tricky. Most likely, I will not make any move in the foreseeable future because mainly I believe that FATCA is not sustainable, and, secondly, I don’t think the IRS could collect any penalty monies from Canadian Citizens (so far).
    What do you think?
    I Appreciate Your suggestions and comments.

    1. Logically, Did you ever get a response? You gave up your American citizens when you became Canadian. That was your intent as proven by your subsequent actions. t that time there was no requirement to inform the state dep’t or obtain a CLN. Your instincts are correct- you don’t need to do anything more.

  13. This is for @OutragedCanadian and all else….
    One important matter we must all get straight is in use of terms. Should I “relinquish” or should I “renounce” is the incorrect use of terms.
    8 U.S. Code § 1481 is extremely clear on how and when a relinquishment occurs and who has the burden of proving it. Having a CLN to document a relinquishment is nice to have but it is not a requirement to lose ones citizenship.
    Based on the facts presented by Outraged, if Outraged applied today for a US Passport and listed what they had done and it was done with the knowledge and intent of losing US Citizenship, a US Passport would NOT be issued, they would refuse a US Passport, it would not matter that you do not have a CLN.
    So where do all of us need to be in our minds?
    1.) Did I perform a relinquishing act under 8 US Code?
    2.) Did I intend to relinquish?
    3.) Can I document the above in a folder?
    4.) Did I “cheat” after I relinquished such as by voting in the US?
    If the above are answered in the right way, you are NOT a US Citizen and it does not matter if it was decades ago or days ago. But you need to have your story straight in dealing with colleagues, friends, family and all else that you relinquished your US Citizenship.
    If you have gotten that far, then the choice is do you want to be become documented or remain undocumented. But remember you are not a US Citizen.
    A relinquisher with a CLN is no less a US Citizen than a relinquisher without a CLN. They are both equally not US Citizens.
    There are a few narrow examples where a CLN is a likely MUST have. This would include the need to travel to the US on a Canadian Passport with a US place of birth. Without a CLN you will have problems. However counter to that is that you could possibly drive on an enhanced Canadian drivers license.
    Remember, Flaherty and CRA did fight for something in the IGA and that was to include relinquishment language instead of the boiler plate renounce language.
    @Outraged, your statement “I am convinced I gave up my US citizenship decades ago, but the US State department may not agree with me, so I waffle about what I should do” needs to be rewritten to “I lost my US Citizenship decades ago and do not know if I should formally document this with the US State Department or if I really need to.”
    But again, you are not a US Citizen and further under US Code the burden is on YOU to prove it to the world. Do you want to prove it solely with your own records or do you want a CLN.
    The one other benefit of a CLN is that it keeps you from falling off the wagon and doing something stupid like voting in a “once in a lifetime US election.”
    Oh with respect to the banks, having a CLN is no free pass if you have a US Place of Birth. Regardless as to being documented or not, its probably wise to avoid any banks that ask the place of birth question to avoid the stress and heartache.
    I have never been divorced but this is probably like that process. I have known people who separated and then both moved to different countries. Spouse One would get a divorce decree in Country A. But Spouse Two living in Country B would say but but but they are still married! Spouse One then tells Spouse Two to shove off and lawfully gets married again in Country A.
    @Outraged..I keep editing and adding more of a comment. Ask yourself, are you a Canadian Citizen? If yes, you need to decide if you will subject yourself to foreign law because you took an solemn oath to obey your Queen and the laws of Canada. Getting a US issued CLN is subjecting yourself to a foreign administrative procedure. Nowhere in Canadian Law is it a requirement for its Citizens to have foreign pieces of paper saying you are not a citizen elsewhere.
    @Schubert, “Vice consuls didn’t sign onto their jobs to sit and watch anxious or angry Americans ditch their citizenship across the desk, that wasn’t in the recruiting posters or the career plan for any of them.”
    From a differring kind of perspective than yours but very acutely aware, I must say you are spot on my friend.
    The biggest problem with FATCA is the compliance jackals.

    1. Hello. To introduce myself briefly – I’m a longstanding UK resident (dual US/UK citizenship) who recently learned about CBT and FATCA. I’m looking to file the demanded tax forms and renounce a.s.a.p. in order to be able to get back to life as normal. I’ve been assuming that once I get a CLN, that would be sufficient proof of detoxification to allow me to get back to banking as normal. But you say it’s best to avoid banks that ask about US citizenship, even after getting a CLN? Could you explain why? Sorry, still on a steep learning curve as for decades I’ve paid little attention to US matters as I didn’t realize I needed to.

    2. @Iota2015  Welcome to Sandbox.  I hope George will see your question and respond to you.  He is in the UK.

      I am not able to speak directly to the UK situation.  However, I know some people are concerned that even with a CLN, some banks may be overly vigilant and report on anyone born in the United States. 

      I agree it is best to avoid banks that ask for place of birth just to be safe and also because the Canadian government has been clear that Canadian banks are not required to ask for place of birth. I do not know how this compares to the U.K.

    3. According to the UK -US IGA it should be sufficient. At some point you may be asked to ‘self certify’ that you are not Americn. The easiest way is to sign a IRS document called a W8 BEN.
      If you feel the need, You could also get a CLN ( takes a while, costs $2350 USD ) and then do nothing more. It depends on your tolerance. The IRS isn’t going to come after you

    4. @Lynne, thanks for your reply, which helps a lot. To explain a little further, I have most of my savings (about £15000) in NS&I Index-linked Savings Certificates which mature next year and would normally be rolled over into another 5-year term. I’m worried that if I’m still a US citizen when the certificates mature, I may not be allowed to roll them over but would have to find somewhere else to put them. I’m hoping that renouncing and getting the CLN will solve this problem. But now I realize that they may just dump me anyway. In fact it does seem quite likely, as they can do pretty much what they like, being owned by the UK Treasury and Deemed Compliant for FATCA. I guess I’d better have a backup plan for investing elsewhere, in case they do.

    5. @Portland PLC, thanks for the information. I do want to get clear with the IRS, renounce, and get back to normal. It’s not so easy to open a new bank account over here these days, if you’ve got a US birthplace. I hope that once I renounce, it will be at least a little easier than at present. Not being able to even switch my current account is really inconvenient, and I can’t be sure my mortgage lender won’t also take against me. Which could cost me a lot, as I have a very good deal at present. The IRS won’t get any money from me though, as I’m retired and have no earned income. I doubt they ever look at those streamlined filings anyway, lol.

    6. @Duke of Devon – thanks for your reply. Weighing up the pros and cons, for me getting straight with the IRS seems like the better solution. My situation is very simple, so I think I can fill in the forms myself, and I’m sure that I won’t owe any tax. Once I’ve finished, I hope I’ll be free of the US and not need to think about it again. Whereas if I don’t bother with the IRS, it may rise up to cause me annoyance in the future. Or maybe I’m overlooking something? It’s been a steep learning curve since I found out about Citizenship Based Taxation recently, so I’m sure there’s a lot I don’t understand. Would there be an advantage to renouncing without filling in the IRS forms?

    7. Iota the only possible advantage is that it could be better to stay off the radar. A lot of ifs involved. No certain answer. Good luck.

  14. George, thank you for your comments.
    Your first sentence is a bit difficult to follow (One important matter we must all get straight is in use of terms. Should I “relinquish” or should I “renounce” is the incorrect use of terms). Could you please clarify which is the correct term: “relinquish” or “renounce”?

  15. @ Jill,
    Til George checks in, here’s a bit of info to get started on that.
    The terminology can be confusing. There are 7 ways in which a person can relinquish their US citizenship (Immigration and Nationality Act, s. 349(a)). One of them is by renouncing.
    We tend to refer to all the other relinquishing acts, such as naturalising in a foreign country with intent to relinquish US citizenship (s. 349(a)(1)) or taking foreign govt employment with intent to relinquish US citizenship (s. 349(a)4)), etc as relinquishing — and to refer to renunciation separately as renunciation. But renunciation (s. 349(a)(5)) is actually one method of relinquishing.
    One main difference is that with renunciation you perform the relinquishing act and notify the US govt of it at the same time (taking an oath at a consulate) whereas with the other relinquishing acts, you perform the relinquishing act first and then, if you want a CLN, notify the US govt of it (you have to do this “notification” in person at a consulate, though).
    There’s a post that goes into some more detail on this: Renunciation and Relinquishment: What are the differences? Is there a difference?”

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