Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mason:  Citizenship Taxation

Ruth Mason (Virginia), Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. Cal. L. Rev. 169 (2016):

The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrant.

Citizenship taxation was originally designed to punish “economic benedict Arnolds” who fled the United States during the Civil War to avoid Civil War taxes and the draft. In the modern era, migrating from the United States is not the disloyal act of a wealthy few. Our global economy and our increasingly interconnected world create professional and personal opportunities that Americans can only claim by moving abroad. Concerns about a few high-profile, rich tax defectors who can be sanctioned with targeted anti-abuse regimes should not drive tax policy governing seven million Americans who reside abroad.

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