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Tax Info For US Expat's (Manila)

American Citizens and Foreigners that own property and assets inside the US
or hold US Residency Status or Green Card status should read the following:

Did You Know?

* As an American Citizen, you can claim an exemption for up to US$80, Protected content for salaried income earned abroad, while you were living and working outside of the US. However, the IRS will still claim the right to tax you on all investment accounts, bank account interest, dividends and capital gains - regardless of where you are living (assuming they know about such accounts and can have access to such accounts for confiscation, which is often very difficult - if not almost impossible if your money is offshore).
* As an American Citizen, regardless of where you reside, The IRS claims the right to tax your estate for inheritance taxes when you die (which is why offshore annuities are a good idea - see below).
* As a US Resident or Green Card Holder (foreigners that hold residency status in the US), the same taxation rules apply to you as to US Citizens.
* As a Foreigner that owns investment or brokerage accounts inside the US, bank accounts or real estate, the IRS claims the right to tax you for US Inheritance Taxes even though you are not a US Citizen, and even though there may not be inheritance taxes in your own country of citizenship.
* As an American Citizen, if you formally declare yourself an expatriate and renounce your US Citzenship, the IRS claims the right to take 50% of everything you own (your assets) as an expatriation tax (which is why most Americans get their money out first, and then simply go on vacation - a long extended vacation whereby they do not return). You can thank the former Senator Patrick Moynahan of New York for that one.
* The IRS considers you resident for tax purposes if you spend Protected content or more inside the US.
* IMPORTANT: US domciled or registered mutual funds, stock and other investments are subject to US inheritance taxes (estate tax). Offshore Mutual Funds, and similar non US registered investments are NOT, if the deceased person was not a US citizen or resident at the time of death.
* While it is true that many US Annuities have a special feature whereby the annuity account becomes or is treated as a life insurance death benefit disbursement, it is still included in the deceased's estate tax calculation. Offshore Annuities are not, if the deceased was not a citizen or resident of the US at time of death. In fact, the disbursement of such policies is not even reported.

'offshore investments'
A Secret Back Door to Offshore Investments (and Banking)
for Americans - and Other Related Topics
John Schroder answers some commonly asked questions about offshore Investments and Banking.
We have had a large number of American Clients tell us that they are having difficulty establishing an offshore bank account or investment account, and the truth of the matter is that they are not alone. In fact, it would seem that things have gotten worse, not better. In fact, one of the banks in Dominica that some clients do business with, have informed us that they now require additional documents and additional information about existing clients by order of the local banking authorities. Ironically, in such a case, we are talking about existing clients that have maintained their accounts in good standing, in some cases for years and now all of a sudden, these clients are suspect. What is this all about? Well, before we discuss some ideas, strategies and information you probably did not know (the secret back door), it is important to explain at least what is going on and why (there are even more difficulties now than in the past).
First and foremost, it has pretty much always been the case that all banks and financial services institutions (offshore mutual funds, etc.) in so-called tax-haven jurisdictions have been a bit more demanding and difficult than non tax-haven jurisdictions. However, since the terrorist attacks in New York that took place September Protected content , things have become more difficult across the board. The reasoning or logic now is to stop the terrorists from having access to banking or investment capabilities. Before, it was the drug dealers and so-called money laundering, so it is really the same theme, with a new excuse. Ironically enough, it has been reported in major news sources that the terrorists already have converted their assets to cash, gold, precious gems, etc. in order to save their money from being confiscated. If such news sources are to be believed, then such persons are not even involved with traditional banking or investment firms at all anymore, yet the pressure continues.
Our opinion with all of this is that it is nothing more then a continuation of pressures to capture tax revenue, and to make it as difficult as possible for Americans especially to move their financial assets abroad. In essence, the same tactics being used to fight the so-called war on drugs is being applied to banking and the financial services industry. To some extent, they are related in that the thinking was, and is, to attack the financial resources of such persons involved in drug related business activities, and now terrorism. So, using the game plan for the drug dealers as an example, the idea was to financially support military and police operations in other countries to stop drug production, and to go after and find where such persons have their money (so it can be seized). It all sounds like a nice idea in theory, but the reality is that it has not worked. There are more illegal drugs in the United States at the present time than ever (just take an informal poll and sampling of everyone you know under the age of 40, a very high percentage of people in this age category not only use substances, such as Marijuana, on a regular basis, but also have no problem buying it either inside the US). In addition, such drug dealers are wealthy enough and sophisticated enough to be one step ahead. So, who suffers or has difficulties after all is said and done? It is the average middle-class American citizen who earns his money honestly, and simply wants to invest it outside of the US (which by the way, is perfectly legal to do so). The final point really is that such matters have been attacked at the wrong end. In the case of drug usage, one should question WHY there is such a demand for such substances in todays society (both in the US and Europe) rather than focus on the production. After all, if the demand goes away, the suppliers will disappear on their own steam.
The same logic can be applied to taxation matters as well. If citizens did not have a reason to bother setting up offshore structures and or investing outside of their home country for tax benefits, they would not. One way to stop citizens from having a desire to take their money (and often themselves physically) elsewhere is to reduce taxes and the bloated government spending that requires such excessive and burdensome tax support in the first place. If the US government, for example, passed a flat income tax of 15%, eliminated estate and inheritance taxes (just to name a few things), the offshore incorporation and financial services industry would suffer greatly as there would be no business for them. I very doubt this would happen, but this is the very real long-term answer.
In any event, understand that the logic of attacking non-US banks and investment firms has been the order of business as a rule, rather than fixing the actual problem (the Japanese have a saying, fix the problem and not the blame). So, while none of the institutions or the countries they operate in have any regulations, rules or laws which might prohibit them accepting US citizens directly (as an example) as clients, many do not as internal policy. Why? They would rather not be bothered with the hassle and aggravation imposed on them by the US governmental authorities.
However, here is where it really gets interesting. Which is to say, that many of these offshore banks or brokers will not accept accounts owned by US citizens, but they will accept accounts owned by non-US citizens and or non-US entities. In simpler terms, where as Mr. Fred Smith, US citizen, will have a hard time getting an account open, an entity such as an offshore company or PANAMA FOUNDATION will not. And here is our first back door strategy ownership of offshore investments or accounts via an offshore juridical entity (Incorporated Company, Trust, Panama Foundation, etc.).
Some people may instantly say, this is all well and good, but such structures do bear a cost and legal fees to set them up. This is very true. However, all things considered, US$3,000 may not be such a large expense as a percentage of assets if we are talking about US$100,000 or more to invest or protect. Of course the argument that such an idea is only really beneficial for those persons with a six-figure amount to invest, is valid.
So, the real question then becomes How does the smaller investor get to benefit or participate in offshore investments? One answer might surprise you (and the wonderful civil servants down at the internal revenue service as well). Which is to say, the answer can be found with American Insurance Companies and American Mutual Funds Companies that have offshore operations. That is correct, your eyes have not deceived you. We said American investment and insurance companies.
There are many very good offshore mutual funds and investment companies out there that will certainly accept investors, without the hassle and aggravation encountered elsewhere. The Guardian Investment Group is just one example of a non-US affiliated company of this kind, but there are many more well know American companies as well. You might be thinking that it sounds too good to be true, and that there must be a catch. Well, yes and no. One must realize that these offshore divisions of the American companies are not permitted to open accounts or issue annuity contracts to US residents, but what about US Citizens that are NOT resident inside the US? The truth is that they can and do so, here is the secret backdoor (number two).
Investors who have residency outside of the US (and can prove it via some sort of residency or immigration card) can of course easily demonstrate this and invest accordingly. However, many of these companies ONLY require a non-US address and nothing more. Meaning, if you know how to fill out an application form, then you can participate as well. Such firms do not ask for utility bills, letters of reference from your bank, priest or accountant. They do not even ask for a passport or driving license. For obvious reasons, I am not going to announce who these companies are, but we will of course gladly make this information available to our clients and readers who send us their contact information (send name, mailing address, telephone and email to: Protected content . Indicate on the subject line, Secret Back Door (and we will know what information you are asking for).
Another interesting idea for Americans, which is shall we say, not so secret, is the new Protected content savings plan passed into law this year (at least Congress finally has done something right to help tax-payers).
Are you an American that owns your own business, or are an executive of a company? Are you looking for a way to legally, under IRS regulations, to shelter up to 99 percent of your salary or earnings? Then you need to know about the new 412i retirement plan legislation, passed this year by the US Congress. You also need to us to learn more and get started. You can contact us at either Protected content Place in the subject line 412i information, and we will refer you to a highly qualified and reputable US based financial planner than specializes in this product.
Here are some key points:
You can shelter up to 99 percent of your salary or earnings. ALL of the contributions are tax deductible, regardless of the amount. It is approved in writing by the IRS, as opposed some other plans that only have a tax opinion letter. The plan must be administered through a US insurance company (Jeff works with one of the oldest and most secure insurance companies in the country). It offers flexibility in that account holders can take a lump sum at retirement, or elect to either take a monthly income (or continue deferring funds for a later date). Also, existing plans, such as 401K and other types of defined benefit plans are not penalized and can in fact be frozen (with the choice to use the 412i plan going forward). Sub Chapter S business owners especially, and our clients that are paid a consulting fee from a non US Company should investigate this option as well (as a way to shelter any income paid into the US).

(Taken from article on the web from John Schroder).

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