Why expats are ditching their U.S. passports

3,000 Americans around the world renounced their citizenship last year. Meet five U.S. citizens who have given up their passports -- or are thinking about it -- to escape an overly complicated tax code.

'We're ostracized for being American'

gallery expats
  • Name: Ezra Goldman, 28
  • Lives in: Dongguan, China

I was born a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Germany -- the U.S. through my father, and Germany through my mother.

After graduating from college in 2008, I moved for work to Dongguan, China, and I've been here ever since.

Germany doesn't require me to report, file or pay taxes on my income earned abroad, even though I am a German citizen. But as an American citizen, I am required to file taxes on my worldwide income. I always knew that even as an expat, I would have to file.

I have a tax service in the U.S. handle it for me. There's just too much for me to possibly know what's going on with tax laws and regulations -- I can't keep up with it. It costs me several hundred dollars every year, but if a tax expert can keep me in good standing and in compliance, then I see it as the single best investment I make every year.

I am increasingly conflicted about giving up my U.S. citizenship. I plan to live abroad for a while for my career, and I don't know when I'll move back. It doesn't make it any easier as there also seem to be more and more restrictions for expats -- we're ostracized for being American.

On numerous occasions, I've gone to banks to talk about investment opportunities, and they will blatantly tell me, "We do offer them to our customers, but because you're American, those opportunities are not available." I've even had health insurance companies tell me they'd prefer I sign up as a German citizen.

Ultimately, I don't know what I'm going to do as time goes on, but I do know that I will always feel and be American, regardless of my passport.

- Last updated March 10 2014 09:59 PM ET
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