File - The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen on a building in Zurich, in this February 13, 2013.REUTERS/Michael Buholzer
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The number of Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship stayed near an all-time high in the first half of the year before rules that make it harder to hide assets from tax authorities came into force. Some 1,577 people gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies in the six months through June, according to Federal Register data published Wednesday. Tougher asset-disclosure rules effective as of July 1 under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, prompted 576 of the estimated 6 million Americans living overseas to give up their passports in the second quarter. The appeal of U.S. citizenship for expatriates faded as more than 100 Swiss banks turn over data on American clients to avoid prosecution for helping tax evaders. Shunned by Swiss and German banks and with FATCA looming, almost 9,000 Americans living overseas gave up their passports over the past five years.Fatca requires U.S. financial institutions to impose a 30 percent withholding tax on payments made to foreign banks that don't agree to identify and provide information on U.S. account holders.
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