Buh-Bye

Over recent days we’ve been following the story of Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook, now residing in Singapore, who has renounced his citizenship to avoid the big time tax bill that would have come with the Facebook IPO windfall. But will Saverin ever be able to set in the US again?

Over the last few days I’ve been exchanging emails with TPM Reader PM, who notes that US immigration law does not look kindly on former citizens who renounce their citizenship to avoid US taxes. Specifically, it doesn’t look like Saverin should ever be able again to get a Visa to enter the United States.

Sec. 212. [8 U.S.C. 1182] details general classes of alients ineligible to gain entrance into the United States. And the law specifically references people in Saverin’s category …

Former citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation.-Any alien who is a former citizen of the United States who officially renounces United States citizenship and who is determined by the Attorney General to have renounced United States citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation by the United States is excludable

The question PM and I have had was whether Saverin realized this was a consequence of his decision. And the latest from his lawyer suggests that he very much does. His lawyer is now attacking the “the false impression that tax was the reason behind Eduardo’s decision.”

The law certainly says he’s excludable and probably would be excluded by default. But I’d be curious to hear from tax and immigration attorneys whether we should expect this to actually be enforced. His lawyer certainly appears to be laying the groundwork to claim that taxes had nothing to do with the decision.

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