Contrary to popular belief, most U.S. citizens that move abroad are not rich

Dec 5, 2019 | 11 comments

Contrary to an apparently widespread belief back in the U.S. – and especially, it sometimes seems, among certain lawmakers in Washington – most American expats are not rich, and don’t live abroad in order to avoid their U.S. tax obligations, a new survey has found.

Most expats don’t leave home to protect their wealth.

Just 33% of some 602 American expats living in 47 countries who participated in the survey said their annual household income was more than US$70,000 (£54,000, €62,570), and just 10% said they enjoyed more than US$150,000 in income a year.

Rather than to avoid tax or experience a new culture or language, meanwhile, the No. 1 reason given by the survey participants for living abroad was “love” (see pie chart, below).

The online survey, the results of which are contained in four separate reports (the links to which may be found by clicking here), was carried out between late September and early November of last year by a Paris-based American expat named Laura Snyder, who, as reported here earlier this year, was named the overseas representative for the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, which exists to help identify tax issues of importance to taxpayers.

Snyder conducted her research, using the open source LimeSurvey software, in association with an American expat organization that subsequently decided not to remain involved with the project.

She decided to see the project through to completion on her own, with the help of two similarly-motivated colleagues, explaining that she felt she “owed it to the 602 people who took the time and trouble to respond to the survey to find a way to put the results into the public domain.”

Snyder told the American Expat Financial News Journal this week that her report will be the subject of a presentation in early December at a conference in Prague, on the subject of diasporas.

For more about Snyder’s research, click the link below.
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Credit: American Expat Finance, https://americanexpatfinance.com

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