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Group Crowdfunds to Challenge Cost of US Citizenship Renunciation

The Accidental Americans Abroad group is seeking to legally challenge “disproportionately high fee” associated with renouncing US Citizenship

Published on August 25, 2020

US Flag US Dollars photo: Karolina Grabowska

A prominent advocacy group in Europe is fundraising for a legal case to challenge the current fees associated with renouncing US Citizenship. The AAA, Association des Américains Accidentels, or the Association of Accidental Americans, raises awareness and acts on issues affecting 'Accidental Americans', such as those who were born on US soil or to US parents and so are declared US Citizens even if their links with the United States are minimal.

The AAA's challenge emerges after several weeks where US Citizenship renunciations have been widely discussed and debated, after the latest quarterly release of the IRS's list of individuals who have renounced their citizenship. Although debates have focused on the number of renunciations, the AAA are addressing another notable concern which relates to the cost of renunciation.

The current fee for renouncing citizenship is $2,350, which was increased from $450 in the past few years.

The AAA's President, Fabien Lehagre, argues that "the right to renounce one's citizenship (the right to expatriate) is a fundamental right protected by the US constitution. By imposing a disproportionately high fee upon accidental Americans (this also applies to American expatriates) to exercise that right, the US Government and in particular the Department of State is unlawfully infringing upon and abridging the fundamental right to expatriate."

The group's goal is to raise $25,000 in order to fund a lawsuit to challenge the fee, which AAA describe as 'exorbitant'. According to the AAA Facebook Page, the campaign has so far raised €7,415 EUR.

Although AAA is campaigning in terms of the rights of Accidental Americans, a successful challenge to the cost of renunciation could offer more flexibility to other overseas Americans considering taking this route. The challenge also comes after lawyer Filippo Noseda described the IRS publication of renounced citizens as 'Naming and Shaming'.

For more information on the AAA's fundraiser, go to www.americains-accidentels.fr/page/1071553-collecte-de-fonds-action-en-justice-aux-usa.

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