Record number renounce US citizenship in 2016

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A record number of individuals renounced their U.S. citizenship or chose to expatriate in 2016, according to data published by the Internal Revenue Service today.

The government agency, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, publishes the names of those individuals in a list each quarter, in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. Before 2011, less than 1,000 individuals chose to expatriate each year, according to the lists published on the Federal Register. More than 2,300 expatriated in the last quarter of 2016 alone, and this year's total of 5,411 individuals is 26 percent more than last year's 4,279.

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The connection between the list of expatriates and the IRS implies a link to tax policy. The U.S. is one of a very small number of countries that tax based on nationality, not residency, leaving Americans living abroad to face double taxation. "The escalation of offshore penalties over the last 20 years is likely contributing to the increased incidence of expatriation," according to the tax attorneys at Andrew Mitchel LLC who track the expatriate data on their International Tax Blog.

11 PHOTOS
Best countries for expats
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Best countries for expats

10. Australia 

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9. Canada

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8. Panama

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7. Thailand

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6. New Zealand

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5. Luxembourg

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4. Singapore

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3. Malta

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2. Mexico

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1. Ecuador 

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U.S.-born British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson – who has spoken out against the U.S. tax code, The Guardian reports – appears on this quarter's list, which was initially released on Wednesday and published online on Thursday.

However, today's list that covers the last quarter of 2016 – the time period after Donald Trump was elected president – is nearly twice as long as the list from the last quarter of 2015.

Leading up to the U.S. election, a number of high-profile individuals, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and actor Bryan Cranston said, jokingly or otherwise, that they would leave the country if Trump was elected. A number of countries, including Canada and New Zealand, also launched campaigns promoting themselves as destinations for Americans looking to leave the country after the election.

19 PHOTOS
18 States Americans are moving out of
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18 States Americans are moving out of

Total people moving in: 891

Total people moving out: 1121

Net Flow: -230

Percent of Moves Outbound: 55.7%

Total people moving in: 222

Total people moving out: 280

Net Flow: -58

Percent of Moves Outbound: 55.8%

Total people moving in: 418

Total people moving out: 528

Net Flow: -110

Percent of Moves Outbound: 55.8%

Total people moving in: 968

Total people moving out: 1236

Net Flow: -288

Percent of Moves Outbound: 56.1%

Total people moving in: 274

Total people moving out: 355

Net Flow: -81

Percent of Moves Outbound: 56.4%

Total people moving in: 131

Total people moving out: 175

Net Flow: -44

Percent of Moves Outbound: 57.2%

Total people moving in: 579

Total people moving out: 778

Net Flow: -199

Percent of Moves Outbound: 57.3%

Total people moving in: 1548

Total people moving out: 2164

Net Flow: -616

Percent of Moves Outbound: 58.3%

Total people moving in: 1859

Total people moving out: 2713

Net Flow: -854

Percent of Moves Outbound: 58.3%

Total people moving in: 1175

Total people moving out: 1591

Net Flow: -416

Percent of Moves Outbound: 57.5%

Total people moving in: 2256

Total people moving out: 3196

Net Flow: -940

Percent of Moves Outbound: 58.6%

Total people moving in: 1240

Total people moving out: 1810

Net Flow: -570

Percent of Moves Outbound: 59.3%

Total people moving in: 1240

Total people moving out: 1810

Net Flow: -570

Percent of Moves Outbound: 59.3%

Total people moving in: 170

Total people moving out: 250

Net Flow: -80

Percent of Moves Outbound: 60.0%

Total people moving in: 152

Total people moving out: 229

Net Flow: -77

Percent of Moves Outbound: 60.0%

Total people moving in: 2193

Total people moving out: 3535

Net Flow: -1342

Percent of Moves Outbound: 61.7%

Total people moving in: 2543

Total people moving out: 4107

Net Flow: -1564

Percent of Moves Outbound: 61.8%

Total people moving in: 65

Total people moving out: 106

Net Flow: -41

Percent of Moves Outbound: 62.0%

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The IRS reports include the names of expatriated individuals for which the Treasury secretary has received information, which is subject to logistical delay, but the annual totals of individuals choosing to expatriate has been steadily rising since 2012.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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