By Caroline Kim
As Americans face higher taxes and stricter enforcement, a growing number of them are, indeed, deciding to turn in their US passports. As of 2013, 77% of Americans will pay higher federal tax rates because the cuts in Social Security payroll taxes expired when Congress passed its tax package on New Year’s Day.
But the wealthiest households face the highest tax increases. From 2009 to 2011, the number of expatriates, or those who renounced their U.S. citizenship, doubled to 1,781.
The chart above shows the growing trend of expatriates in the U.S. The Federal Register first started recording the number in 1997. (The high number of expatriations that year is thought to be a result of Hong Kong reverting back to Chinese sovereignty, according to tax attorney Andrew Mitchel. Chinese citizens are not allowed to have dual citizenship, so many Hong Kong residents renounced their U.S. citizenship prior to Hong Kong joining China in 1997, so they would become fully Chinese citizens.)