The Independence Day celebrations for Canadians (1 July) and Americans (4 July) are reminders about identity. This is not always easy, particularly if one’s family consists of different nationalities with kids born in places such as Nairobi or Singapore, or attending school in Switzerland or France.
How does one explain what it means to be Canadian or American? Or Australian, South African, German, Ugandan, or Argentinean? All expatriates share the same challenges with children often having little or no idea where, or what, “home” really is.
As highlighted by Pam Taylor’s article on Toxic Americans, it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate as a US citizen abroad. At least 3,000 have, largely reluctantly, abandoned their nationality because of Washington’s almost unique double taxation laws. The burden has simply become too onerous.
The Fourth of July is supposed to be about “no taxation without representation”. Yet, despite the efforts of lobbying groups such as Democrats or Republicans Abroad, and even the IRS’s own attempts to streamline the process, Congress does not consider double taxation a priority. Nor does it recognize its detrimental impact on US business globally. Overseas Americans are perceived to be living high on the hog. While some have companies cover educational fees and other bills, most do not. For middle-class families, travelling, moving, housing, schooling and integration, come at a far heavier cost that many imagine.