Americans Are Ditching Their U.S. Citizenship at a Record Rate

November 6, 2017, 4:33 PM UTC

A record number of Americans are renouncing their citizenship.

In the third quarter alone, some 1,376 citizens have chosen to expatriate, including the appropriately named “John Quitter”. Should the fourth quarter run at the same pace as the last three months of 2016, that would put the 2017 tally in the neighborhood of 6,800 people.

That would be more than just a slight increase over last year’s record, it would surpass it by a hefty 26%. (The IRS and Treasury Department publish a listing of people who have rejected their citizenship ever three months. The next will be released in February 2018.)

While it’s easy to point to the political divide in the country for the reasons (especially after so many people swore they’d leave the country if one candidate or the other was elected), the departures are actually more likely tied to tax reasons.

The number of people renouncing their citizenship has been slowly increasing since 2010, after the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act became law. That legislation was meant to curb tax evasion from Americans living abroad.