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Moving back - Should I take Citizenship first?

Moving back - Should I take Citizenship first?

Old Feb 2nd 2020, 2:46 am
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Default Moving back - Should I take Citizenship first?

I'm planning to move back to the UK permanently in 2021 after 10 years in the US; I have no plans to return. I'm a legal permanent resident and will convert my 401k into an IRA with HMRC reporting funds before I leave, which I will keep in the US with a W8-BEN on file. I'll have no other income, assets or investments here and will claim US Social Security at retirement as I have enough credits.

My plan is to surrender my green card become a non-resident alien (In US terms). I'll be a permanent UK resident again after the change over period.

I've done further research about which brokerage I'd move my IRA to once I've converted (My 401k is with Fidelity). The main issue revolves around non-compliance with the US/UK double taxation treaty, Fidelity in the past had a reputation of incorrectly withholding 30% tax on distributions, when it should be 0% unthe the DTA. I spoke with another broker Charles Schwab who's representative stated "we give our customers the option to withhold but you can opt out". I also like the idea of Barclays and being able to walk into a high street location and manage my US finances (theoretically). All being said, I do not need to be a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to manage my IRA in the UK. I'll simply pay the HMRC under the DTA for tax on my future distributions for worldwide income.

My main concern is claiming US Social Security in the future. If you have sufficient credits, you are entitled to claim as a non-resident alien for the years you worked in the US. Despite this, something leaves me a little uneasy about being so disconnected from the country who will hold the purse strings to some of my retirement funds I worked hard for.

Citizenship is a big deal and I would REALLY prefer to avoid the taxation and reporting bureaucracy at all costs.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who is claiming US Social Security as a non resident alien and what your experiences have been.


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