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Unwilling dual citizens face 10-month wait to shed U.S. citizenship in Toronto

In the end, Dale travelled most of the way across Canada to cut his last ties to the USA. Originally from Kansas, the Strathroy, Ont. man had become a Canadian citizen in 2004, which he thought of as marking the loss of his U.S. citizenship.pass_us_

But he’d never asked the U.S. government to acknowledge his loss of nationality, which started to seem like a good idea last year, when Canada signed a deal with the U.S. under the FATCA.

Starting in November of last year, he contacted the embassy and most of the U.S. consulates in Canada, trying to make an appointment to ask for loss-of-nationality paperwork. The Toronto consulate offered him an appointment on Oct. 15, 2015, nearly a year away. The U.S. consulate in Calgary could give him a date in March, so he booked that – and some plane tickets.

Last week, Dundas, Ont. lawyer David Lesperance booked a citizenship renunciation appointment for a client at the U.S. consulate in Toronto. The first available date: February 2016.

More unwilling dual citizens want to lose U.S. status than consular officials can keep up with, so the waiting list steadily grows. In February, the wait in Toronto was eight months, says cross-border accountant Kevyn Nightingale, and last August it was only five months.

“Toronto was never that backlogged, but we are seeing an unprecedented onslaught,” Lesperance says.

FBI statistics show that 1,030 people finished the citizenship renunciation process in March, far higher than the normal monthly total of about 270.

Canadian residents won’t normally owe the U.S. any taxes, though there are situations where that can happen. However, U.S. tax filings can be confusing, intrusive and expensive to prepare, dual citizens say. Among other things, they must report all accounts they have signing authority over to an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department called the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or face large penalties.

The top countries for people shedding U.S. citizenship are Canada, Britain and Switzerland.

Somebody who renounces U.S. citizenship in 2016 won’t be able to file their last piece of U.S. tax paperwork until mid-2017.

In August of last year, the U.S. State Department announced it would increase the fee people pay to renounce their citizenship – from US$450 ($550) to $US2,350 ($2,873).

Original Story at Global News