Turner citizenship case raises questions about international tax

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It’s no secret that people in New York and all around the country dislike paying taxes. While most people see it as a necessary part of being a citizen, some people will go to great lengths to mitigate potential tax issues. This includes, in the most extreme cases, actually renouncing U.S. citizenship in favor of that of another nation in order to avoid American taxes.

This is rare, of course, but it does happen. A recent high-profile case involves singer Tina Turner. She has lived in Switzerland since the mid-1990s because her now-husband — a German record executive — was based there. Turner said in January that she planned to intended to become a Swiss citizen and renounce her U.S. passport.

Observers say it isn’t likely that this was a move based solely on tax concerns; Turner is a longtime resident of Switzerland, so being a citizen of the country in which she resides makes sense. There were many hoops she had to jump through in order for the process to take place; she had to get approval from both local and federal governments in order to receive her citizenship.

Even if taxes weren’t Turner’s prime motivation, they should get easier for her. Even though Switzerland’s tax rates are relatively high by European standards, having only one nation in which to file can save a lot of headaches. If foreign tax credits are applied improperly, it could result in criminal charges. Even though Turner is essentially retired, she still likely makes a lot of money from record sales and royalties.

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