Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Litigation over new US citizenship renunciation fee

The grassroots group that is challenging the validity of Canada's implementation of FATCA with respect to Canadian citizens and residents has released a letter to the U.S. State Department regarding the recent decision to increase the fee for renouncing U.S. citizenship--which is now $2,350. In 2009 the fee was zero. It was introduced in February 2010 (just before FATCA was enacted) and went into effect 6 months later, following Administrative Procedure Act requirements.

You can read the full letter here. In brief, the right to leave a country is not only a universally accepted human right, it is also enshrined in U.S. law. The letter challenges the fee in substance as an unlawful infringement of that right, and in process as a violation of the APA, as the State Department did not observe the procedural requirements for increasing the fee 500% even though it had done so in initially introducing it. Presumably, the group will commence litigation to enjoin the State Department from both legal violations.

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