A little noticed provision in new legislation would cost some citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars to renounce their citizenship. Congress has come up with another moronically named bill, Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act, that contains the provision. It is designed to stem the tide of Americans renouncing their citizenship due to the double taxation that they face when living abroad.
Under the Act, expatriates who have a net worth of $2 million or more, or a high income, will have to act as if they have sold all their worldwide assets at a fair market price. There have been an increase of such applications under the Bush Administration. Some appear to simply have grown ashamed or opposed to the role that the United States has played for the last eight years in violating international laws. Others are simply tired of paying taxes to two countries. Most countries charge tax on where you live. The United States is one of the minority of nations that charge based on citizenship. The new law is like some form of national alimony law where the country assumes the role of a dependent spouse.
The one law that we certainly do need is to prohibit Congress from continuing the sophomoric titles of acts like HEART. Ever since the Patriot Act, staff members have been spending hours trying to make not-clever acronyms. It is like a high school student council has taken over Congress.
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