Wealthy Americans aren’t just leaving tax-heavy states like New York and California, they’re leaving the country.
U.S. citizens are defecting at record levels in order to escape high taxes, the New York Post reported. About 8,000 U.S. citizens are projected to renounce their citizenship in 2012, or about 154 a week — versus 3,805 in 2011, or about 73 per week, according to immigration officials, the Post reported.
They want to avoid tax bills resulting from the proposed 55-percent hike on the wealthy and the anticipated expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of the year, the Post reported.
“High-net-worth individuals are making decisions that having a US passport just isn’t worth the cost anymore,” Jim Duggan, a lawyer at Duggan Bertsch, which specializes in protecting assets of the wealthy, told the Post.
“They’re able to do what they do from any place in the world, and they’re choosing to do it from places with much lower tax rates,” he said. “Some are philosophically disgusted at the course our country is taking in all kinds of ways. They’re making a strong protest of, ‘Enough is enough.’ But largely it’s an economic decision.”
But to leave means finding a new country and obtaining citizenship and there are many that are eager to welcome wealthy Americans, such as Australia, Norway, Singapore, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, and Antigua, according to the Post.