Every year, the month of April brings one of the year’s greatest annoyances. Let me explain…
I was born in Canada, I live in the UK, but I am also US citizen as this was passed on to me by my mother.
Being a US citizen carries both rights and responsibilities. I have never worked or lived in the United States, apart from a short period when I was a small child, for less than a year. However, I am required to file income tax and FBARs (“foreign” bank account reports) to the US government every year.
Because the US, along with Eritrea, is one of only two countries in the world that taxes citizens rather than residents. And so even though I make no money in or from the US, I need to report my income there. I also need to report all of my “foreign” bank accounts. That is, my local, non-US bank accounts that I use on an everyday basis. I don’t even have a bank account in the US.
To be honest, I have never actually had to pay anything as the taxes I pay in the UK are recognised to keep me from being double-taxed on the same income. However, given that TurboTax can not conceive of the fact that my wife is not American and therefore does not have a US social security number, I can’t file online. And so I have to print off pages of documents and send them by international post at my own expense.
Strangely enough, I can’t vote in US elections. As I am not and have not been a resident in any US state, I don’t meet the requirements for voting from abroad. This all feels a bit like taxation without representation. Is there not a certain irony in this, given that I live in the UK?