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Rich are shopping for citizenship

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Singer and Tennessee native Tina Turner is the latest high-profile multimillionaire to renounce her U.S. citizenship. She joins other big-money names such as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and oil heiress Isabel Getty, who have ditched their citizenship in the past year.

The U.S. Treasury Department has been tracking record numbers of citizens who have given up their U.S. identity -- 2,369 in the first three quarters of this year. The previous annual record was 1,781, in 2011.

Where are they going? According to the UBS and Wealth-X Billionaire Census, they're flocking to tax havens such as Switzerland, where 74-year-old Turner became a citizen; Singapore, where Saverin is a citizen; the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Hong Kong.

It's not just favorable tax rates that are attracting the ultra-rich, according to the census. Other factors include quality of life and good education systems. The new citizens might also find like-minded cliques: In Switzerland, only 34 percent of billionaires living there actually grew up there. In Singapore, 36 percent of billionaires grew up there, and in Hong Kong, 25 percent.

In addition, many of the expats, like Turner, have already been living in another country for a number of years, or are used to moving around the globe. Turner, who has an estimated net worth of $40 million, according to Wealth-X, is married to a foreigner -- German music producer Erwin Bach. Saverin is Brazilian by birth and only moved to the U.S. around age 11 with his family.

"The most successful emigrations are by those moving from a country where their ties are not strong to begin with," Caroline Garnham, a lawyer and chief executive of family office adviser Family Bhive, told Wealth-X. "The wealthy are mobile, and when taxation becomes more onerous than their affection for a country, they can move."

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November 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Bye, bye. We won't miss YOU. You may be sorry.

Anthony Crespo
November 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

America rules.There is no other country in the world that can compare to the greatness of America.There is no other place on earth that I would rather live.Anyone that wants to leave may go freely,but don't come back selling us your product for the all mighty American dollar. Once you leave you should not be allowed back in.Stay in the country that you thought was better.Suffer the consequences!!!!!

Ira Fistel
November 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Um, how about we turn the good old United States into a tax heaven where people can bring their money to invest without worrying about getting skinned for their efforts. If we lowered our Capital Gains tax and income tax rates below the other industrialized countries money would flood into the US. There would be no shortage of jobs and incomes would rise. Lower taxes on a much larger economy would have $$$$ flooding into the treasury. We would once again be the greatest country in the world. I do not get why you people do not understand the level of Government taxation and Regulation in this country is what is destroying us. Just saying!

mitchell ryder
November 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm

You people are idiots. What about the American companies that pay no taxes because their headquarters are in another country? Like General Electric. Like Romney said Corporations are considered humans.

Connor Larkin
November 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

It reminds me of all the liberals who claimed they were going to leave America for Europe and Canada when President George Bush won re-election in 2004. If only all those liberals had kept their word and left, American would have been so much better off!!

November 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I agree with Daniel above, you wanna go , but you ain't coming back. We don't need you and definitely don't want you. When it becomes to protection don't look to the USA

Tanner Max
November 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm

I wish I could afford to live abroad. I would happily give up my US citizenship. This country is bankrupt, corrupt and going down the toilet.

November 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm

These so called Americans are leaving the country to avoid paying taxes everyone else does regardless of how much money they make. If they want the US dollar then they should be taxed 75 percent on every dollar they make in the US if they give up their citizenship. This way we made them and maybe we can break them!

Kevin S Bryant
November 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Let these fake Americans leave. They are always happy to get rich off America but then abandon her. All for their one true love, MONEY! They contribute nothing to the survival of America. They are nothing but leaches.

Daniel E. Peavey
November 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

If they want to give up their citizenship, let them do so. Then put them on a do not enter the country list. No matter how rich I get, I would never forsake my country.