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Ten Financial Freedom Benefits of Expatriation

Personal_Finance / Taxes Jun 08, 2010 - 01:33 PM GMT

By: Casey_Research

Personal_Finance

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticlePublished by Casey Research : The following is an excerpt from the free 29-page American Expatriation Guide, written by a former U.S. citizen who wants to remain anonymous. Read what he has to say – from a “been there, done that” perspective – and maybe take your own first steps to move to greener pastures.

Everybody has their own personal reasons for expatriating, but here are some of the benefits:


1) Freedom from the global U.S. tax net. Taxing you no matter where you breathe on this earth is wanton American exceptionalism. What other nations don't dare do to their citizens, the U.S. government doesn't think twice about. Once you renounce, it's your choice either to live the rest of your life free of any tax net, or to pick a place you want to be year-round and opt into the tax system (assuming it’s not a tax-free jurisdiction). If you do, you'll at least know you have the freedom to walk away from it by simply moving elsewhere.

Taxes in the U.S. are already high, and rates are set to increase across the board. To gain some perspective, it’s clarifying to calculate the number of months per year you work for the government. How many months did it take to pay all the federal, state, and local income taxes, capital gains taxes, FICA taxes, property taxes, and AMT – plus the raft of permitting, licensing and accounting costs you incur over the course of a year? Add corporate taxes if you’re a business owner. And don’t forget the new 3.8% health care surcharge tax on all investment income, including dividends. Be honest and add it all up. You’ll then have a decent idea of how much it costs you in time and money to be a U.S. citizen every year. That cost will rise dramatically going forward.

Here’s the take-away: The biggest guaranteed return on your capital that you’ll ever have is investing your money free of taxes. Do some long-run compounding calculations with and without taxes to see what I mean. I’ll wager John Templeton did.

2) Freedom from the death tax. Its political label is the “estate tax,” but the fact is the tax is based solely on your demise. I used to think the death tax only applied to gains on assets that had not been taxed already. How naïve I was! It grabs half of all your assets, regardless of the fact that you've paid taxes on them.

If you have over a few million dollars net worth, your heirs will be writing a heart-stopping check to the IRS. They also may be forced to liquidate your assets to raise cash. This has happened to countless small businesses and family farms. And if you’re a young, talented entrepreneur who goes on to earn substantial wealth over the course of your life, the death tax has you in its crosshairs too.

The death tax is 45% now and is scheduled to jump to 55% in 2011. Either way, the amount is staggering. Expatriation lifts the death tax burden from your children and other heirs.

3) Freedom from the U.S. government’s War on Solvency. Washington's crazed debt addiction is uncontrollable and endemic. U.S. politicians have strapped an inconceivably large debt burden on the backs of their subjects. It pays to spend some time on www.usdebtclock.org. The multi-trillion dollar debt avalanche roars on, headed straight towards economic hell. After “Debt Per Taxpayer” and “Liability Per Citizen,” check out “U.S. Unfunded Liabilities” to see a number that’s suited to astronomical calculations – not economics.

Don't be tricked into thinking this is a partisan issue. It's sobering to review the debt records of both Democratic and Republican administrations…to behold what politicians do when given trillions of dollars of other people's money. They spend it all – and then borrow trillions more! Of course, the burden of servicing that debt is on you, not them. Their six-figure salaries are guaranteed, along with their uber-perks and fully funded pension plans.

While often described as “the richest nation in the world,” the reality is that the U.S. is the most indebted nation, by a country mile. No other government comes close to matching the debt burden that has been dumped onto every taxpayer. The U.S. government is rampantly incurring debt in your name, and you have no way to stop it or slow it down. Standing in free speech zones with protest signs didn't work when it came to war and crony bailouts, and it won't work for the debt burden either.

Besides, it's already too late. The interest alone on the debt is trillions of dollars. Trillions...as in thousands upon thousands of billions. Google “interest due on U.S. debt” if you think I've veered into the realm of fiction. Once you’ve returned, I think you'll agree: The one truly meaningful act you can take as an individual is to opt out. Unload the government’s debt burden off your back. Don’t let yourself or your family be a casualty of the government’s War on Solvency.

4) Freedom from being treated like a “toxic citizen.” When traveling abroad, being a U.S. passport holder used to be a positive thing. Now it's an albatross. The New York Times article I cited earlier explains it plainly: Americans abroad are being treated like “toxic citizens.” They’re cut off from banking and other business and investing opportunities solely because of their U.S. citizenship.

Typical currency controls don't permit you to take money out of a country. The U.S. doesn't have that (yet). Instead, and this is quite clever, the government enacts laws and regulations that function as indirect currency controls. There are so many Patriot Act and other costly impositions forced on foreign banks that handle U.S. customers that they’re simply refusing to put up with the harassment. Here’s the upshot: Your money isn’t fenced in; it’s fenced out.

If you seek firsthand evidence, visit a major banking center outside the U.S. and try to open a bank account. Odds are you’ll be turned away when the bank finds out you're a U.S. citizen. Reports abound of U.S. citizens’ long-held accounts at foreign banks being summarily terminated. The U.S. government has made its subjects, along with their money, persona non grata.

I've read that some foreign banks are now setting up, in essence, holding pens designed to handle U.S. citizens who want to bank offshore. But, really, what's the point? You're burdened with having to file extra IRS paperwork, along with FBAR forms to the Treasury Department. And even if you don't file all the extra papers (not a smart move), new laws force foreign banks who accept U.S. customers to report on you anyway. They are pressured to sign “information reporting agreements” to have U.S. citizens as customers. Google “FATCA” and “qualified intermediary agreements” if you want details.

Now for the most extreme instance of liability. Being a U.S. passport holder can mean life or death in the context of a terrorist attack. The U.S. government's never-ending War on Terror makes the world more dangerous for Americans. After so many years of bombing and military occupation in the Middle East, how can the hundreds of thousands of civilians who’ve been maimed and killed by the U.S. government NOT be the source of enduring resentment and blowback? Needless to say, the U.S. passport is on the short list of ones you least want to have if somebody sticks a gun in your face and says, “Passport.” Unfortunately, this has happened on more than one occasion, and it would be unreasonable to assume it won’t happen in the future.

5) Freedom from the paperwork prison. Millions of Americans are plagued every year by days, sometimes weeks, of preparing tax documents and paying thousands of dollars to accountants to decipher the IRS tax code. There are, literally, hundreds of different IRS forms. The tornado of rules and regulations in the tax code fills roughly 70,000 pages. And then you have to save boxes and boxes of papers for years in fear of someday being audited and not being able to produce the demanded documents. If you're unfamiliar with audits, here's how they work: You're guilty of whatever the IRS claims, unless you prove yourself innocent. If that sounds preposterous, I encourage you to ask a tax lawyer. “Innocent until proven guilty” does not apply. Freedom from spending days of tedium on mind-numbing paperwork and thousands on accounting fees has been an absolute joy. Highly recommended.

6) Freedom to invest without tax distortions that encourage capital misallocation. The U.S. tax system encourages misallocation of your investment capital. It obscures the act of buying and selling securities based on a rational assessment of their value. For instance, you end up not selling a security you otherwise would simply because you don’t want to trigger taxes yet. Or you hold on longer than you might otherwise to get long-term capital gains treatment. Or you sell securities you normally would keep – for “tax loss harvesting.”

Moreover, you're incented to give an artificial value premium to municipal bonds simply because they aren't taxed, despite their negative real return after inflation. And your assessment of real estate’s value is warped too, by mortgage interest deductions and capital gains exemptions. The phrase “letting the tax tail wag the dog” encapsulates these distortions. Expatriation instantly liberates you from them.

7) Freedom from being crushed by the fiat currency landslide. If you pay attention to the world's major currencies, you'll notice they fluctuate, often dramatically, against each other. In a year's time, the price of an item can increase or decrease 20%, 30% – sometimes more – solely based on which currency you use to pay for it. The same item! The reasons for this are beyond the scope of this guide. Suffice to say, it has to do with government central banks manipulating their currencies by price-fixing interest rates and continually printing money.

Regardless of the reason for the volatile swings in the value of currencies, there it is. Reality. So what's the risk for you? For one thing, you can have all your money in one currency, earn a positive investment return on paper (that you’re taxed on), but actually lose purchasing power. Think about it this way. The U.S. imports goods from all over the world. When the U.S. dollar drops in value, it takes more of them to buy those goods. That makes you functionally poorer, no matter what your account statement says. It's that simple.

Every time the dollar drops, you get the short end of the stick. The value of your savings erodes. Your money is like ice cubes. The longer you wait to use them, the more they melt. According to the government’s official “inflation calculator,” the dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power since 1913. See for yourself here: www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

When you’re out of the global U.S. tax net, you can freely diversify the currencies you own to protect your purchasing power from being diluted. If you do this as a U.S. citizen and the dollar drops, you’re taxed on the paper gains from those other currencies. In other words, you’re taxed for simply preserving your purchasing power. And if you choose the monetary metal, gold, as a fiat currency hedge, you’re taxed even more heavily. No matter what you do to try and preserve the purchasing power of your dollars, one way or another you’re slowly being bled. That ends on the day you expatriate.

8) Freedom from the accountability for how the U.S. government spends your money. I sleep much better knowing I no longer fund the military-industrial-banking complex. Anybody can get mugged, but every U.S. taxpayer is a constant patsy for the political establishment. The rip-offs are so unthinkably big and endemic, there's nothing an individual can do to stop them.

If you step back and take an honest look, you’ll see that the unfortunate state of affairs in America has resulted from the reign of both political parties. Don’t fall for the divide and conquer strategy that politicians use to corral people into “red” and “blue” sports teams. Donkeys and elephants are sold as team mascots pretending to be in mortal conflict. In reality both parties work together to advance their agendas in lockstep…logrolling…and when necessary, one side “takes the hit” whenever the illusion of accountability is needed. The system depends on the delusion that people can “vote the bums out.”

Meanwhile, every government failure becomes the pretext for more government growth. If you don’t get distracted by the spectacle, it’s impossible not to notice the pattern: Every political solution to any problem involves more regulation of your life and more taking of your money.

What are the consequences of this vicious cycle of growth through failure? Most Americans are familiar with the oft-chanted phrase, “We're #1!” Humor me for a minute and try this exercise. Mentally separate yourself from the government you're paying trillions of dollars to fund. Then, consider that the U.S. is: · #1 in government debt and deficits · #1 in unfunded liabilities, most importantly Medicare and Social Security · #1 in building and maintaining the biggestWMD stockpile in the world · #1 in weapon sales to foreign governments · #1 in bombs dropped and missiles fired on other nations · #1 in causing civilian casualties and property destruction · #1 in “defense” spending – about as much as all other countries combined · #1 in lawyers per capita, with over 1.1 million total · #1 in law suits filed – millions and millions every year · #1 in political lobbyists, special interest groups and campaign donations · #1 in taxpayer bailouts of the politically connected “too big to fail” corporations · #1 in people imprisoned – “The United States has 4% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population.” -Wikipedia

I've avoided citing sources for these claims (save the last one) because I'm hoping you'll be moved to verify them for yourself. The process is eye-opening. If you fall for the political fallacy that “the government is the people,” you end up with the faulty conclusion that America must be overrun by war-crazed, lawsuit-happy, debt-addicted criminals. How could anybody buy this after even a moment of clear thought? There’s certainly no resemblance to the American people I know. These problems stem from the military-industrial-banking complex, the dark heart of the U.S. political machine. Why continue being the stooge that supplies the money to run it?

Looking at the world with fresh, open eyes isn't easy. One of the great benefits of liberating yourself from the grip of the U.S. political system is that the world becomes your oyster. You’re free to embrace places that welcome individuals who seek to live peaceful and prosperous lives.

9) Freedom to radically increase your charitable giving. Individual liberty sparks our charitable instincts. If you care deeply about philanthropy, expatriation frees up vastly more of your capital to give away. Also, your philanthropic impulses are no longer distorted by the IRS. You can give to any charitable cause worldwide without being penalized if it's not anointed as a tax-deductible entity.

The human impulse to help another in need is older than any government. Your judgment about how to contribute your capital to best help others will forever be superior to that of bureaucrats. Expatriation opens up new possibilities for you to reach out and help others in need.

10) Freedom from the risk of getting trapped. Politicians don't like it when the people who pay their salaries, fund their pensions, and fuel their jets close their wallets and walk away. As the number of renunciations continues to rise, it inevitably will turn into a political hot-button. The media will set the stage for politicians to denounce renunciation, paving the way to make exercising the right more difficult and costly. Wealthy people who renounce will be called greedy and unpatriotic. “Turning their backs on their fellow Americans” will be the sound bite wielded by politicians to conjure up the demand to “do something.” When that happens, I expect the exit tax to become dramatically worse. Instead of taxing unrealized gains at their regular rates, it may function more like the death tax. Add up everything you own – then cough up half. Otherwise sit down and shut up.

The other timing consideration is that getting a second passport is becoming more difficult, more lengthy and more costly. You need a second passport to expatriate, and countries are increasing the number of years it takes to gain citizenship. There are only two countries left in the world that have an economic citizenship program, which is by far the fastest way to get a second passport. If these two programs are pressured to fold, escaping the U.S. political combine will take most people five or more years, instead of less than one. You can bet on this: No matter what happens, it won’t get any easier.

[The full 29-page FREE report American Expatriation Guide – How to Divorce the U.S. Government is a virtual treasure trove of information  for anyone thinking of leaving the US… including in-depth, practical advice, and links to useful websites and forms you’ll need for expatriation. Read and download it here. ]

© 2010 Copyright Casey Research - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

gAnton
09 Jun 10, 22:50
Look Before You Leap

First, just a few warning comments. If the US government even thinks that you're renouncing your citizenship to avoid paying taxes, you probably will be denied any type of US entry visa for life. Personally, I've lived for many years on the border, and I've been in Mexico for over twelve years now. I haven't had one problem because of being a US citizen. I worked here for two years in the early 90's, but at that time wages earned in Mexico were essentially exempt from US taxes.

Secondly, as I stated, I lived on the Mexican border a long time. Also, I spent years in Korea and Viet Nan, and months in Japan and Denmark. So I was used to being outside the US. In my early years in Mexico, I made three or four trips a year of two or three weeks each trip, but now I only go the US when I have a very good reason to do so, and I my stay is as short as possible. Another thing, I never have had any contacts here with Americans, nor have I live in an American colony like you find on the shores of Gulf of California and in Guadalajara. To me, this would be very ugly. Anyway, I suggest you live abroad where you intend to stay for a couple of years before you even think about renouncing your US citizenship.

I wouldn't say that the Mexican government is any better than the US government, but it has much less desire and power to invade my privacy, keep track of me, or control my behavior. May God Bless Mexico! On the few occasions when I cross the the border, there is absolutely nothing about me in the computer, and often the immigration or customs agent becomes very frustrated I much enjoy these experiences!

A few short thoughts about Mexico:

Except for infrequent and routine occasions on long distance bus trips, I have never otherwise been asked for identification.

Mexico is made up of about nine very varied and unique cultural areas, and for various reasons, many areas of Mexico are in effect not under control of any government.

There is a very large informal market, so making a very good living outside of the purview of any government is easily done. The local traveling market is called a "tangis", and for safety reasons, tax collectors are not allowed to visit these without the invitation and escort of local police.

I have plenty of official documentation, but if your hurting for documentation, the local printer will fix you up. There still is little or no on-site document verification in Mexico.


Shelby Moore (author of "How Deflation is Inflation")
10 Jun 10, 05:22
Expatriation Benefit vs. Risks

If you want a background on my articles and comments at this site:

http://www.google.com/search?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marketoracle.co.uk+Shelby+Moore

I appreciate very much CaseyResearch publishing this detailed report. I ordered a copy and read it entirely. I had known about the ability to purchase citizenship from these Caribbean islands for $75k to $200k, plus attorney's fees, travel costs, renunciation costs, exit tax costs, etc.. I was also aware of the slower (and often excruciatingly frustrating) option where one obtains residency (e.g. Argentina) for retiree, investor, or marriage reasons, then gradually earns citizenship.

I have been thinking a lot about the potential benefits and risks, because I have traveled (lived) outside the USA some (but not all) of the past 15 years.

My thoughts:

1) For someone well under the $2 million net worth limit for renunciation tax-free, $100k+ is a lot of money to apply to something of dubious value as I will explain below. That is 80 ounces of gold and perhaps greater than 10 - 20+% of a person's net worth. In the coming chaotic "MadMax" greatest hyper-inflation depression of all time, 80 ounces of gold will probably buy 80 houses or dozens of boats or several small airplanes or small army of full armed security guards or enough food for decade. These sort of things might become more important to survive. Obviously someone with greater than $2 million in net worth, may be looking at the potential tax benefits outweighing the less than 5% net worth cost. That seems to make sense, except that I don't think the global tax situation is going to remain static. With all the rich "tax evaders" having citizenship in two tiny Caribbean nations that have no base economy other than being tax havens, wouldn't it be quite easy for the USA (and TPTB who are driving this NWO), to target these $multi-millionaires simply by applying pressure (via G20, etc) to other nations to stop honoring the passports from these tiny countries. I do not understand the logic that admits the USA is now pressuring the other countries of the world to lockout US citizens financially, but does not consider that the USA could easily apply that to citizens of other small nations. A simple political argument that these multi-millionaires tried to escape from paying their fair share of the global problem. Remember the UBS and Lichtenstein raids last year. I think it is very important to understand that we are heading for a global contagion of debt default spiral with negative real interest rates and negative marginal utility of debt. No country will escape from this, because every country has been complicit in the mis-allocation of capital for the past decades.

2) So I don't think there will be any escape from the global tax net coming, and that applies to potentially every citizen in every country. If you have a lot of visible wealth, you will be targetted in various ways. Even I expect physical gold and silver to be increasingly taxed at their fiat appreciation rates, such that gold and silver investors will completely wiped out. The law is not going to be your friend. I suspect most people are going to end having to break the law in order to survive. In fact, most of us break the law every day, given there is a law against almost every activity, and many of these are international laws. Let me be blunt. The elite are going after the millionaires during this epoch. They will wipe you out. They've thought of every escape route and they will close every one of them, even if you already renunciated and expatriated.

3) Renunciation and declaration of your net worth for the exit tax, is providing a list to be targetted in the future.

4) Revelation in the Bible is very clear about this. Do not depend on your gold and silver to save you. Do not depend on the law to save you. Confidence in these false securities is a weakness during these Tribulations.

5) I am contemplating that the most important thing to do now is to establish a humble residency and make sure you can live below the radar. If you want to live outside the USA, establish a residency someone, but don't expect citizenship in a country other than the one you want to live in, as being any extra security. Now if you could obtain dual citizenship, then this might be a strong benefit. Dual citizenship is apparently possible, but it is another very slow process.

6) Pay your taxes. If your investments depend on tax havens to be successful, you are setting yourself up for big problems in future. Of course minimize your taxes in the legal ways, that make sense to you. Do not of course alter your investment behavior due to taxes. If you taxes are part of the fundamental decision in your investments, then you should be looking for better investments. The best investments beat out any taxes by order-of-magnitude. Also keep in mind how much personal wealth do you really need? I hope you are investing for the benefit of mankind, and so I hope you investing in paradigm shifts. If you are just trying to accumulate wealth to take with you when you die or pass on to your offspring, then you've already failed. In short, this epoch is about a test of values. Remember it is the Tribulations. The trumpets have blown. Listen to what they mean.


Shelby Moore
11 Jun 10, 07:33
Taxation is critical NWO power

No way the global socialism will allow the millionaires any escape. All the tax havens will be folded. Europeans will be taxed even where they have expatriated to.

Please read my comments at bottom of this:

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article20208.html

And my extended comments here:

http://goldwetrust.up-with.com/precious-metals-f6/how-will-we-physically-trade-gold-silver-at-5000-500-t61-105.htm#3182


Shelby Moore
01 Aug 10, 00:00
Global tax harmonization

Elite rev up media attack to bring world into tax harmonization:

http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/110204/shadow-economies-on-the-rise-around-the-world;_ylt=Ah00MDbzObEF1K6k9JOdMedO7sMF;_ylu=X3oDMTE5YTg1aTBkBHBvcwMyBHNlYwN3ZWVrZW5kRWRpdGlvbgRzbGsDdGhldG9wMTBzaGFk

List:

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2010/07/19/000158349_20100719131253/Rendered/PDF/WPS5356.pdf

Step-by-step to NWO.


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