But for many expatriating Americans, the driving force to give up ties to the United States rests on the menace of IRS penalties, the avoidance of multiple filings (both US and foreign country) and quality of life. None of these criteria has anything to do with tax avoidance.
Socially Americans are very well organized. Over time they have competitively created a well-oiled system of convenience. Goods and services flow with marvelous swiftness and predictability. The infrastructure is likely the best in the world. Neighborhoods are attractive and kept apart from business establishments. In other countries, residents may be confounded by the lack or dependability of services. Getting around may require passing through tortuous systems of roadways. Messy shops may be nestled among pristine homes. And taxes may be higher. So what is this business of quality of life?
The American system is often more stressful in ways unknown to the European, the Latin or the Asian. Americans face a daily fare of exorbitant health care costs, of confusing merchant guarantees and offerings, of contracts laden with indecipherable legal jargon, of murderous rampages in public places, of political crises threatened by retaliation, or of financial want in the midst of plenty. It isn't that Americans are generally unfriendly or impassive. And it isn't that one should simply abandon this country to an uncertain fate. It is merely that these unnerving conditions are less prevalent in other first world countries.
So an American, let us say in France, who pays less than $30 to see a medical doctor or $40 for the prescription that costs $400 stateside, relishes a life that does not assail his sensibilities. Amidst settled surroundings, he has time to delight in nature, to read a novel over a cup of expresso, or to visit with friends. Because he is not distracted stateside over some breaking news report, another merchant notice, a negative report to the credit bureau, a regional shooting, some graduating and unemployable student saddled with a student loan, fires or floods from global warming, or a prescription renewal, he relishes the quality of his life abroad.