Tina Turner Shucks the StateMarch 1st, 2013
American rock diva, Tina Turner has lived in Kuesnachy Switzerland since the mid 1990s, and now she’s on her way to becoming a Swiss citizen. The local newspaper “Zuerichsee-Zeitung” announced on it’s website that the local council decided to grant Anna Mau Bullock (“Tina Turner” is a stage name) citizenship in an official notice published in Friday’s edition. The decision still requires formal approval from cantonal and federal authorities.
Wikipedia is ahead of the curve, now describing Tina Turner as “an American-born Swiss singer, dancer, and actress.”
Last April we reported that in 2011 about 1,800 people renounced their US citizenship or handed in their Green Cards, which was a record high since the IRS started publishing the number in 1998, and eight times more than in 2008. Next month, after tax day, we’ll see if 2012 didn’t break that record. The number one reason was over taxes.
A big part of me wishes that these celebrities who hop ship would stay, refuse to pay the taxes, and use their positions of prominence for advocacy, but I understand why they don’t. The IRS is probably one of the most feared government agencies in the world, and for the 6.3 million Americans living abroad US citizenship is a liability, not a privilege.
The United States is one of the only countries in the world that demands income taxes from its citizens living abroad, which means it requires them to disclose foreign accounts to the IRS, including joint accounts with spouses and children that aren’t US citizens, anyone they go into business with and accounts for corporations they own a controlling interest in. If they don’t report they face penalties up to $100,000 or 50 percent of their undeclared accounts, whichever is larger.
According to the Vice President at the American Bankers Association, Francisca N. Mordi, Banks in Europe, have begun to “drop Americans like hot potatoes,” because “foreign banks are upset enough about IRS regulations that they’re saying they just won’t keep American customers.” And to top it all off, there’s not even a pretense of receiving the services they’re supposedly paying for. Under those conditions renouncing their citizenship is a no-brainer.
But the real question is why are Americans emigrating out of the US in the first place? Well it’s the same reason the founding fathers immigrated here and renounced their English citizenship in the first place, freedom and economic opportunity. In those days, just as today, tax resistance is heroism not sedition.
Of course in the last year we’ve also see the first instances of the US Government denying applications to relinquish US citizenship. So, even if Switzerland approved Tina Turners citizenship, American may not let her off the farm. Maybe she can request asylum. Very soon that last refuge of the Statist, “If you don’t like American you can leave” will no longer be true… for many it already isn’t.
There’s no question in my mind why Tina Turner would rather be Swiss than American. Good for her.