Phil Hodgen's International Tax Blog is one of my most important sources of information about the American tax system and how it impacts Americans and Green Card holders abroad. Solid info about a complex issue delivered with style (Mr. Hodgen has quite a way with words).
His latest post about why Americans are giving up U.S. citizenship, written while on a long-haul flight from Dubai to LA, is a must read. It's not short but it is sweet and to the point and I think he does an outstanding job of covering all the bases.
I concur with everything he says with one exception. He contends that one of the benefits of being a U.S. citizen is that, "In theory, if you get in the right kind of trouble the big black helicopters will come to your rescue."
Sorry, Mr. Hodgen, but for those of us (U.S. Persons) living in places like Europe we long ago realized that this is pure fantasy. In a developed country with nukes (like France, for example) there just won't be be any black helicopters swooping down to rescue anyone. Ever. In fact, the U.S. Embassy isn't much help in these places even for minor stuff like assistance for American victims of domestic violence abroad or even those facing a trip to court and a prison sentence. Best they can do is point Americans to volunteer organizations and give them a list of local English-speaking lawyers. I have some friends here who have ended up in these situations and they pretty much had to DIY and throw themselves on the mercy of the local system. This is not, I must point out, the fault of the Embassy personnel who are overall fine folks. It's about the limitations of power - the Marines will not be walking into Paris or Berlin anytime soon regardless of how Americans in these places are treated (pretty well right now but that could change).
The rest of the post is dead right and I have to reluctantly agree with his assessment that it's not going to improve anytime soon. "I expect the future to be more of the same. Expect the same exit tax rules, but more of them, and worse. Expect more expatriations. The floggings will continue until morale improves."