Use Drones To Halt Tax Expatriation

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
May 17 2012 11:20 AM

A Modest Proposal for Closing the Tax Expatriation Loophole

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You wouldn't like Chuck Schumer when he's angry (really—he yells!)

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Proving once more than the United States Senate is a bottomless pit of acronym innovation, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are unveiling the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which stands for Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy.

Get it? In other words, they want Eduardo Saverin to pay his taxes. The law would "re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States" and also "impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anybody who renounces their U.S. citizenship." The question that comes to my mind is given the U.S. government's demonstrated ability to use remotely piloted aircraft to blow up foreigners residing on foreign soil, why not just send the drones after tax turncoats? One of the joys of being a military superpower is that while you can run from the U.S. government, you can't hide.

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(More seriously, beefing up the law saying that ex-citizens who ditch the United States for tax purposes can't get visas to come back and visit seems very reasonable.)

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.