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London's Mayor Calls U.S. Tax Bill 'Outrageous'

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London's Mayor Calls U.S. Tax Bill 'Outrageous'

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London's Mayor Calls U.S. Tax Bill 'Outrageous'

London's Mayor Calls U.S. Tax Bill 'Outrageous'

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NPR's Scott Simon explains the controversy London Mayor Boris Johnson waded into recently. He's a U.S. citizen, and the Internal Revenue Service says he owes them taxes.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, Mayor Boris Johnson of London stirred a controversy about complaining about his U.S. tax problems. Mr. Johnson was born in the United States and still has a U.S. passport. The mayor came to Washington, D.C. to promote his new book on Winston Churchill and complained to Susan Page on "The Diane Rehm Show" that the U.S. government wants to force him to pay capital gains taxes on the sale of his first house in the U.K. even though he lives in and is even the blooming mayor of London.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON: I think it's outrageous. I think it's outrageous.

SUSAN PAGE, BYLINE: But saying it's outrageous doesn't respond to whether you're going to pay the bill or not. Outrageous or not, will you pay this tax bill?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm - no is the answer. I think it's absolutely outrageous. Why should I? I think - you know, I haven't lived in the United States for, you know, well, since I was five years old.

PAGE: You know we have a lot of deficit problems here, and you could help.

JOHNSON: I could, but I pay the lion's share of my tax. I pay my taxes to the full in the United Kingdom where I live and work.

SIMON: But U.S. tax laws require all citizens - even those with dual citizenship - to file a tax return even if they live and earn money overseas. Mayor Johnson doesn't have a U.S. residence and doesn't vote in U.S. elections. He seems to feel there should be no taxation without representation. If the mayor doesn't want to pay his U.S. tax bill maybe he should just burn a lot of tea in a London harbor.

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