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Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Old Jun 6th 2016, 1:34 pm
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Default Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Hello -

I've lived in the USA for 15 years - came in on an L1B, got an H1B which I "converted" to a green card five years ago. I have a daughter who was born in the USA and has dual-nationality with the UK. I am now eligible to naturalize and am mulling over the pros and cons.

For me, the biggest pro is to have the security of being almost unconditionally able to stay here and being able to vote. I can't really think of any cons, although I'm wondering if being a USA citizen might have some tax implications. I stand to inherit some property in the UK, although hopefully not for a long time.

Is there anything else I should be aware of?

Many thanks,

Kate
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

I think everyone here who is a parent would advocate for having the same citizenships as your child(ren), thereby eliminating any risk of being separated.

Once you have had a green card for eight years the difference for tax purposes between being a citizen and a permanent resident is negligible (you are assessable for an "exit tax" if you give up either). A citizen is on the hook for tax returns for life, no matter where they live, unless they given up their citizenship and pay the exit tax.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

You'll be liable to complete a tax return every year for the rest of your life, even if you move back to the UK (unless you renounce your citizenship). You'll also become liable for jury duty. Your inheritance will be subject to UK inheritance tax so unless it's a very large sum, you're unlikely to have to pay anything over here.

It was a no-brainer for us. Opens up a lot more options in the long term, brings stability to our position over here, and jury duty every few years isn't that big a price to pay
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Wintersong View Post
You'll be liable to complete a tax return every year for the rest of your life, even if you move back to the UK (unless you renounce your citizenship). You'll also become liable for jury duty. Your inheritance will be subject to UK inheritance tax so unless it's a very large sum, you're unlikely to have to pay anything over here. ....
Inheritance tax is more of an issue at the state than federal level - only a few states have it, but it can kick-in at a surprisingly low level. IIRC NJ assesses inheritance tax starting at just $60,000.

I have always wanted to do jury duty, but I have only been summoned once, .... and then it was canceled before I even made it to court.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Inheritance tax is more of an issue at the state than federal level - only a few states have it, but it can kick-in at a surprisingly low level. IIRC NJ assesses inheritance tax starting at just $60,000.

I have always wanted to do jury duty, but I have only been summoned once, .... and then it was canceled before I even made it to court.
Didn't know that - glad I live in CA

My husband has been called twice since we became citizens (3 yrs? 4? I forget). I was called when we were just PR, so gracefully declined and haven't been called since - I wonder whether I've been taken off their list as ineligible and then not put back on.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Wintersong View Post
Didn't know that - glad I live in CA

My husband has been called twice since we became citizens (3 yrs? 4? I forget). I was called when we were just PR, so gracefully declined and haven't been called since - I wonder whether I've been taken off their list as ineligible and then not put back on.
I live in CA and I've ended up on a jury the two times I've been required to go to the courthouse. Second trial was a six-week murder trial; quite an experience.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

We were in a similar position in 1998 when we decided to become USC's. We moved back to the UK this year and our 2 USC/UK children still live in the USA. It's good to have no worries about being separated from them for any reason other than our choice. The tax situation is a pain to manage but worth it - I think. (I haven't been through a tax year filing in both countries yet).

We have both had inheritances from UK relatives, well below the UK limits and it was not an issue at all. (We lived in Texas at the time, which has no State inheritance tax).
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
We have both had inheritances from UK relatives, well below the UK limits and it was not an issue at all. (We lived in Texas at the time, which has no State inheritance tax).
As a receiver of an inheritance, it would have been moot for you anyway.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
As a receiver of an inheritance, it would have been moot for you anyway.
Good to know. When I saw the comments above I thought maybe some States taxed the receiver. States do some goofy things, I still have to file and pay Louisiana taxes on a pension I receive from a Louisiana company even though I haven't set foot in the State since retiring 6 years ago.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Absolute no brainer unless a) you envisage your long term future elsewhere or b) have some strange aversion to pledging your allegiance to America. If nothing but to have the right to vote it's worth doing, a right not afforded to millions who already view themselves as American
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 4:36 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

The other thing with inheritance is that estate tax and inheritance tax are taxable differently in different States.
It is my belief is that Estate tax only applies where the estate is located, but I may be wrong.
Inheritance tax applies to where the beneficiary resides.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 4:38 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

I would always want to have the same passport / nationality as my kids when I travel. Makes Visa applications easier as you only need to investigate Visa requires for USA citizens.
Also if you have your passports stolen on holiday you only need to deal with one embassy

Last edited by mrken30; Jun 6th 2016 at 4:42 pm.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
.... It is my belief is that Estate tax only applies where the estate is located, but I may be wrong.
Inheritance tax applies to where the beneficiary resides.
That is correct.
Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
..... I thought maybe some States taxed the receiver. .....
You are correct, some states do. As MrKen said, estate tax (if any) is levied where the estate was held, and inheritance tax (if any) where the beneficiary resides.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 6th 2016 at 5:07 pm.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
You are correct, some states do. As MrKen said, estate tax (if any) is levied where the estate was held, and inheritance tax (if any) where the beneficiary resides.
Only five states have an inheritance tax.
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Old Jun 6th 2016, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Pros and cons of being a USA citizen

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
Only five states have an inheritance tax.
I think someone already alluded to that fact.
Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Inheritance tax .... - only a few states have it, ....
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