Feeling awkward as a US citizen in Europe

I was born in Switzerland to an American father and a Swiss mother. I lived in Geneva from 0 to 6 years before moving to the US and living there to the age of 14. Ever since I have been living in France (well almost, I did have a short 8 month break in Italy).

We often hear, and in particular in US public schools where I went, that the US is the land of the free. Well today, I don’t feel free and even worse, I even feel a bit oppressed by my US citizenship.

First of all, even though I have never worked (and never even lived in the US as an adult), I have heard that I should be filing tax forms with the US government: where, how, when ? I have no clue. For what reason should I be doing that ? I don’t know. I pay taxes in France. My education has been mostly paid by the French government as it is the case for my children. The same goes for my health. I have no trouble contributing to the society I live in from which I obtain counter-parts, should it be infrastructure or health benefits. However, the idea that I may be considered an outlaw by the US government because I didn’t file tax reports in a location I don’t benefit from, is really weird.

Second, working in the IT startup eco-system, I follow what is going on in that field. Also, I have recently been considering investing small amounts in stock of IT companies. So I looked into opening an online account allowing me to buy stock. Well, this is not possible for me in France. Why ? Because I am a US Citizen. And this is not possible in the US. Why ? Because I live abroad. So what should I be doing ? The only option I see as of today is quite a paradox.  We know how badly it is considered to lie in the US… but what other option do I have to be able to proceed and be free to do what I want besides lying about my citizenship ?

Or maybe the “land of the free” only means you are free within US borders and not outside them ?

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