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Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO
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Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO

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Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO

Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.

Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for an Internet company. Saverin’s stake is about 4 percent, according to the website Who Owns Facebook. At the high end of the IPO valuation, that would be worth about $3.84 billion. His holdings aren’t listed in Facebook’s regulatory filings.

Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship, a move that can trim their tax liabilities in that country. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dorm and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO.

“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” said Tom Goodman, a spokesman for Saverin, in an e-mailed statement.

Saverin’s name is on a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship “around September” of last year, according to his spokesman.

Singapore doesn’t have a capital gains tax. It does tax income earned in that nation, as well as “certain foreign- sourced income,” according to a government website on tax policies there.
Exit Tax

Saverin won’t escape all U.S. taxes. Americans who give up their citizenship owe what is effectively an exit tax on the capital gains from their stock holdings, even if they don’t sell the shares, said Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, director of the international tax program at the University of Michigan’s law school. For tax purposes, the IRS treats the stock as if it has been sold.

Renouncing your citizenship well in advance of an IPO is “a very smart idea,” from a tax standpoint, said Avi-Yonah. “Once it’s public you can’t fool around with the value.”

Saverin previously scuffled with Zuckerberg, his Harvard University classmate, over his ownership in Facebook. Saverin sued him and settled for an undisclosed amount.

The 2010 movie “The Social Network” added to Saverin’s fame after it portrayed him as a scorned friend who provided the company’s early financing and then was squeezed out. In the film, written by Aaron Sorkin, Saverin was portrayed by Andrew Garfield, who will play Spider-Man in “The Amazing Spider- Man.”
Saverin’s Investments

Saverin moved to the U.S. in 1992, and became a citizen in 1998, his spokesman said. He has invested in Asian, U.S. and European companies, according to his spokesman.

He plans to invest in Brazilian and in other global companies that have strong interests in entering the Asian markets. “Accordingly, it made the most sense for him to use Singapore as a home base,” Goodman said in the statement.

His U.S. holdings include Jumio Inc., an online payments company, and ShopSavvy Inc., a price-comparison service.

Renouncing citizenship is an option chosen by increasing numbers of Americans. A record 1,780 gave up their U.S. passports last year compared with 235 in 2008, according to government records.

Income-tax rates for top U.S. earners will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent next year, and rates on capital gains and dividends also are scheduled to rise unless Congress blocks the increases.
‘Tax Cost’

“It’s a loss for the U.S. to have many well-educated people who actually have a great deal of affection for America make that choice,” said Richard Weisman, an attorney at Baker & McKenzie in Hong Kong. “The tax cost, complexity and the traps for the unwary are among the considerations.”

Some of the world’s largest wealth-management firms have ramped up efforts to fight tax evasion ahead of Washington’s implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as Fatca, which seeks to prevent tax evasion by Americans with offshore accounts. HSBC Holdings Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Singapore Ltd. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. all say they have turned away business.

The 2010 law, to be phased in starting Jan. 1, 2013, requires financial institutions based outside the U.S. to obtain and report information about income and interest payments accrued to the accounts of American clients. That means additional compliance costs for banks and fewer investment options and advisers for all U.S. citizens living abroad, which may depress banks’ returns.

Facebook plans to price its IPO on May 17, offering 337.4 million shares at $28 to $35 each. The shares will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol FB. Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are leading the sale.


Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO - Bloomberg

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lol - of course Singapore makes sense.

He'll be paying 15% tax there!

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I am surprised they allowed him to renounce citizenship.

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I am surprised they allowed him to renounce citizenship.

Mike

How could they stop him?

I am sure Singapore will already be processing his citizenship application.

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DionysusToast View Post
How could they stop him?

I am sure Singapore will already be processing his citizenship application.

He probably still has his Brazilian citizenship. And S'pore is REALLY efficient in processing residency. In the old days, if you applied for a residency permit on Monday, you would have it by Friday.

The US actually started charging for renouncing recently. ( I had a friend renounce a couple of months ago. )

Math. A gateway drug to reality.
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Source: Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook’s Saverin’s Tax ‘Scheme’ - ABC News


Quoting 
Senators to Unveil the ‘Ex-Patriot Act’ to Respond to Facebook’s Saverin’s Tax ‘Scheme’

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again.

In September 2011, Saverin relinquished his U.S. citizenship before the company announced its planned initial public offering of stock, which will debut this week. The move was likely a financial one, as he owns an estimated 4 percent of Facebook and stands to make $4 billion when the company goes public. Saverin would reap the benefit of tax savings by becoming a permanent resident of Singapore, which levies no capital gains taxes.

At a news conference this morning, Sens. Schumer and Bob Casey, D-Pa., will unveil the “Ex-PATRIOT” – “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy” – Act to respond directly to Saverin’s move, which they dub a “scheme” that would “help him duck up to $67 million in taxes.”

The senators will call Saverin’s move an “outrage” and will outline their plan to re-impose taxes on expatriates like Saverin even after they flee the United States and take up residence in a foreign country. Their proposal would also impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on the capital gains of anybody who renounces their U.S. citizenship.

The plan would bar individuals like Saverin from ever reentering the United States again.

“Eduardo recently found it more practical to become a resident of Singapore since he plans to live there for an indefinite period of time,” Tom Goodman, Saverin’s spokesman, told Bloomberg News in an email.

Last year 1,700 people renounced their U.S. citizenship.

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I'm not sure that's the right answer.

I was born in the UK. When I left there 14 or so years ago, it was to travel the world, not to evade taxes. In any case, the UK government appreciate that I am no longer a burden on that society as such they don't see any reason for me to pay tax there. If I spend more than 1/6th of my time in the UK, I pay tax again.

The US government charges you tax on your worldwide income, regardless of where you live and it is quite unique in this respect. It's time for them to figure out why people like this do what they do. There's a reason they leave like this.

There are countries that are just as nice, if not nicer to live in than the US. They are first world and they have very attractive taxation systems, not to mention healthcare systems.

The US needs to compete or not. It's a free market, right?

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