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Offshore Banking and Asset Protection, Offshore Trading
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Offshore Banking and Asset Protection, Offshore Trading

  #21 (permalink)
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artemiso View Post
I'm not a lawyer so this should not be construed as legal advice.



1. The reason why hedge funds often have an offshore element is to get around UBIT for your U.S. tax-exempt and non-U.S. investors, while commingling their assets with those of U.S. taxable investors. The emphasis is on the bolded part. If you are a standalone U.S. tax-exempt investor or standalone U.S. taxable investor, you have virtually no benefit in setting up a complex keiretsu because your U.S. tax liability is probably already at a minimum.



2. Entity in zero tax offshore jurisidiction =/= zero U.S. tax liability
Especially with new FATCA withholding rules, if you have an offshore entity having a trade or business in the U.S. or have U.S.-source income, you would likely find yourself subject to significant U.S. withholding tax, unless reduced by treaty, and U.S. tax reporting requirements anyway. In fact you're probably doing yourself a disfavor by starting out from HK given that the U.S. tax treaty with China explicitly excludes Macau and HK.



3. Why Nevis, Cook Islands, Belize or Uruguay?
Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda are the most common domiciles for funds.

This part from the slides that you've posted is especially important and I would reiterate: "The popular offshore jurisdictions have robust anti-money laundering regimes and cooperate with international regulatory authorities". Your counterparties and service providers (e.g. Interactive Brokers, lawyers etc.) will almost certainly have their KYC/AML compliance requirements and you're probably better off with a jurisdiction that your accounting/legal/brokerage firms are familiar with.

4. Offshore entity =/= offshore banking
Most of the offshore funds that you're thinking of actually have their bank accounts in the largest financial hubs - in tax-heavy jurisdictions, especially London. There's no need to set up a bank account in a zero tax country, because you can (and probably will) have zero business, trade or income deriving from the tax-heavy country where your bank account is set up.



5. Cost-benefit analysis
I concur with PB's view as quoted above. Offshore entities are generally costly to set up. Registered agents in these jurisdictions are only interested in courting the business of customers who will incorporate more than 1-2 entities and the sweet spot for pricing their services is generally $300-$1,500/year. Authorities in these jurisdictions make a significant portion of their income from this and have the demand to price the annual fees at another $300-$3,000/year. Lawyers or CPAs who are familiar with these tax strategies often starting billing from $500/h. I generally find the the legal fees dominate all of the above - a good law firm that will set up the boilerplate LLC agreements etc. will probably charge you in excess of $10,000 for 1-2 entities. I'm sure you can find cheap services online that claim to do this for much less, but given that you're going up against the IRS, it's likely not worth saving that money.




Edit -> It seems that these 2 are your main concerns, which can be solved very easily without incorporating a single offshore company:

(1) Get insured. Pays for your lawsuits.

(2) Once you renounce your U.S. citizenship, you simply supply a Form W-8BEN to certify tax status - then you are not subject to U.S. capital gains tax, and you pay whatever personal tax on capital gains in your country of origin (presumably Ecuador and presumably zero in that case).

My suggestion certainly doesn't sound as sexy as your original plan, but I'll wager you that any CPA worth his salt will probably reach a similar conclusion.

Hong Kong for EU citizens has certain benefits eg: roll money into a company and then be employed by said company paying standard rate of tax. Company controls the money @0% tax. Malta has certain benefits for residents also. However after the banks got fined for there US clients I believe having a us passport is not so user / bank friendly.

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  #22 (permalink)
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I think key is everyone has different advise for each situation so u need a taxation specialist preferabbly a former IRS tax manager ( who left public service to go private) , someone at management level. Expect to pay around 400-500 bucks an hour for advise. I'm European for this type of advice in Ireland I paid 250 euros per hour. (Well worth it).


Last edited by leinster; December 22nd, 2014 at 08:39 AM.
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  #23 (permalink)
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You might want to look into what Sovereign Man ? Internationalization for Personal Liberty and Financial Prosperity has to say about the subject.

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  #24 (permalink)
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artemiso View Post
I'm not a lawyer so this should not be construed as legal advice.



1. The reason why hedge funds often have an offshore element is to get around UBIT for your U.S. tax-exempt and non-U.S. investors, while commingling their assets with those of U.S. taxable investors. The emphasis is on the bolded part. If you are a standalone U.S. tax-exempt investor or standalone U.S. taxable investor, you have virtually no benefit in setting up a complex keiretsu because your U.S. tax liability is probably already at a minimum.



2. Entity in zero tax offshore jurisidiction =/= zero U.S. tax liability
Especially with new FATCA withholding rules, if you have an offshore entity having a trade or business in the U.S. or have U.S.-source income, you would likely find yourself subject to significant U.S. withholding tax, unless reduced by treaty, and U.S. tax reporting requirements anyway. In fact you're probably doing yourself a disfavor by starting out from HK given that the U.S. tax treaty with China explicitly excludes Macau and HK.



3. Why Nevis, Cook Islands, Belize or Uruguay?
Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda are the most common domiciles for funds.

This part from the slides that you've posted is especially important and I would reiterate: "The popular offshore jurisdictions have robust anti-money laundering regimes and cooperate with international regulatory authorities". Your counterparties and service providers (e.g. Interactive Brokers, lawyers etc.) will almost certainly have their KYC/AML compliance requirements and you're probably better off with a jurisdiction that your accounting/legal/brokerage firms are familiar with.

4. Offshore entity =/= offshore banking
Most of the offshore funds that you're thinking of actually have their bank accounts in the largest financial hubs - in tax-heavy jurisdictions, especially London. There's no need to set up a bank account in a zero tax country, because you can (and probably will) have zero business, trade or income deriving from the tax-heavy country where your bank account is set up.



5. Cost-benefit analysis
I concur with PB's view as quoted above. Offshore entities are generally costly to set up. Registered agents in these jurisdictions are only interested in courting the business of customers who will incorporate more than 1-2 entities and the sweet spot for pricing their services is generally $300-$1,500/year. Authorities in these jurisdictions make a significant portion of their income from this and have the demand to price the annual fees at another $300-$3,000/year. Lawyers or CPAs who are familiar with these tax strategies often starting billing from $500/h. I generally find the the legal fees dominate all of the above - a good law firm that will set up the boilerplate LLC agreements etc. will probably charge you in excess of $10,000 for 1-2 entities. I'm sure you can find cheap services online that claim to do this for much less, but given that you're going up against the IRS, it's likely not worth saving that money.




Edit -> It seems that these 2 are your main concerns, which can be solved very easily without incorporating a single offshore company:

(1) Get insured. Pays for your lawsuits.

(2) Once you renounce your U.S. citizenship, you simply supply a Form W-8BEN to certify tax status - then you are not subject to U.S. capital gains tax, and you pay whatever personal tax on capital gains in your country of origin (presumably Ecuador and presumably zero in that case).

My suggestion certainly doesn't sound as sexy as your original plan, but I'll wager you that any CPA worth his salt will probably reach a similar conclusion.

Hi @artemiso,

Let's say for example you have an internet based business with no physical presence outside of a datacenter of your choosing. If that business were to be incorporated outside of the US, then it would seem to me it is not a US business but a foreign business. Then that business would not be subject to US taxes. Now, members of that business that may be US citizens would of course be subject to US taxes on their income.

This is just one example. Keeping in mind I am not an attorney nor an accountant, and that I am still researching this but the above represents my current understanding as of this post.

I have explored the insurance option. It is not a cost effective option for my situation. It is better for me to create my own insurance.

As for the reporting, while I certainly don't like the invasive nature of FBAR/FATCA, the goal is not evasion but avoidance. I don't believe "secrecy" is the key here and is not my goal. That said, if there is a legal opportunity to skip FBAR/FATCA reporting, then why not take it?

With regards to cost, yes I've been quoted around $10-12k for the formation and approximately $2-4k per year in maintenance fees, excluding accountants/tax prep.

Mike

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  #25 (permalink)
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Itchymoku View Post
What are some examples of lawsuits you could avoid? That whole AMP nonsense?

Most likely, as they would need to put up a $25,000 bond as the first step. Nevis also has a loser-pays law.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

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  #26 (permalink)
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Big Mike View Post
Let's say for example you have an internet based business with no physical presence outside of a datacenter of your choosing. If that business were to be incorporated outside of the US, then it would seem to me it is not a US business but a foreign business. Then that business would not be subject to US taxes. Now, members of that business that may be US citizens would of course be subject to US taxes on their income.

OK so I think I have a better understanding of what you're up to now: you are dealing with the issue of (a) the business entity for futures.io (formerly BMT) as well as (b) the business entity for your trading activities. Note that these two are (and should be treated as) different issues.

(a) Regarding your internet business (futures.io (formerly BMT)), I agree with your analysis. It seems to me that you don't really need an "offshore company" in the sense of directing income with U.S.-source tax character through a non-U.S. entity. Rather, you need a regular company in the same way a HK citizen might start a HK company. Provided you've renounced your U.S. citizenship and continue to maintain futures.io (formerly BMT) from Ecuador, U.S. withholding tax is probably not a problem. Since you won't have any U.S.-source income, I don't see a pressing need to maintain an offshore keiretsu with expensive agreements. You should simply incorporate a regular company with limited liability for its owner in the city most convenient for you or where you will be spending most of your time, i.e. probably Ecuador. You should also be able to maintain a U.S. bank account for that Ecuador entity without incurring U.S.-source income character or significant U.S. reporting requirements.

(b) As for your trading, you can probably do it personally and supply a Form W-8BEN as described in my previous post.

In either case, this is a cheap problem to solve and shouldn't require you paying $13-14k in year 1.


Quoting 
As for the reporting, while I certainly don't like the invasive nature of FBAR/FATCA, the goal is not evasion but avoidance. I don't believe "secrecy" is the key here and is not my goal. That said, if there is a legal opportunity to skip FBAR/FATCA reporting, then why not take it?

I have nothing against this. As I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum, anyone is free to arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; there is no patriotic or statutory duty for you to choose the pattern that will pay most to the IRS. I would call this "tax planning" or "minimization" rather than "avoidance" though.


Quoting 
I have explored the insurance option. It is not a cost effective option for my situation. It is better for me to create my own insurance.

I trust you've made a thorough analysis but I'm curious - why is that? General liability insurance coverage would probably cost you less than $60 per month and cover you up to $5M in legal liability. Seems way less than $2-4k per year to me. If you need more than $5M or your own custom insurance terms, you can usually communicate your needs to the insurance underwriter or approach an insurance broker, e.g. Marsh, Aon. Is there something similar in Ecuador? If not, then your problem reduces the one of finding a jurisdiction outside of the U.S. with the most navigable legal and insurance system, which would probably be somewhere in Europe rather than in the Caribbean.

The legal risks are probably significant at my firm (a $25k bond will certainly not deter anyone likely to litigate us) and nevertheless we take care of it with insurance.

Again, I'm not a licensed accountant or lawyer, so do consult such persons on these points.

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  #27 (permalink)
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artemiso View Post
OK so I think I have a better understanding of what you're up to now: you are dealing with the issue of (a) the business entity for futures.io (formerly BMT) as well as (b) the business entity for your trading activities. Note that these two are (and should be treated as) different issues.

(a) Regarding your internet business (futures.io (formerly BMT)), I agree with your analysis. It seems to me that you don't really need an "offshore company" in the sense of directing income with U.S.-source tax character through a non-U.S. entity. Rather, you need a regular company in the same way a HK citizen might start a HK company. Provided you've renounced your U.S. citizenship and continue to maintain futures.io (formerly BMT) from Ecuador, U.S. withholding tax is probably not a problem. Since you won't have any U.S.-source income, I don't see a pressing need to maintain an offshore keiretsu with expensive agreements. You should simply incorporate a regular company with limited liability for its owner in the city most convenient for you or where you will be spending most of your time, i.e. probably Ecuador. You should also be able to maintain a U.S. bank account for that Ecuador entity without incurring U.S.-source income character or significant U.S. reporting requirements.

(b) As for your trading, you can probably do it personally and supply a Form W-8BEN as described in my previous post.

In either case, this is a cheap problem to solve and shouldn't require you paying $13-14k in year 1.



I have nothing against this. As I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum, anyone is free to arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; there is no patriotic or statutory duty for you to choose the pattern that will pay most to the IRS. I would call this "tax planning" or "minimization" rather than "avoidance" though.



I trust you've made a thorough analysis but I'm curious - why is that? General liability insurance coverage would probably cost you less than $60 per month and cover you up to $5M in legal liability. Seems way less than $2-4k per year to me. If you need more than $5M or your own custom insurance terms, you can usually communicate your needs to the insurance underwriter or approach an insurance broker, e.g. Marsh, Aon. Is there something similar in Ecuador? If not, then your problem reduces the one of finding a jurisdiction outside of the U.S. with the most navigable legal and insurance system, which would probably be somewhere in Europe rather than in the Caribbean.

The legal risks are probably significant at my firm (a $25k bond will certainly not deter anyone likely to litigate us) and nevertheless we take care of it with insurance.

Again, I'm not a licensed accountant or lawyer, so do consult such persons on these points.

I have not renounced yet. I may never. But at minimum, I cannot until I obtain citizenship outside the US, which will be ~3 years more for Ecuador.

WRT insurance, I contacted a half dozen firms and the short version is none were willing to provide cost effective insurance (for example, <$100/mo) for the business. They cited various reasons which primarily involved the financial content which they viewed higher risk.

As for the $25k bond, yes I agree - but in the past instance of where I was sued, I feel pretty confident it would have deterred them. That in combination with the loser-pays law in Nevis. If the USA had loser-pays, it would have likely deterred them as well. At the very least, they would owe me a substantial amount in legal expenses, since futures.io (formerly BMT) won the suit.

Ecuador has its own set of challenges. For example, the 5% exit tax for monies deposited here. So it is not an ideal "hub" for assets.

Mike

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Need help?
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4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
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  #28 (permalink)
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@artemiso,

BTW the way I understand it, FBAR/FATCA reporting is for US citizens regardless of where they live or where they bank. Banking institutions are required to automatically report to the USA, it is non-voluntary and any bank that does not report is subject to 30% withholding. Some banks (many banks I am told) have chosen to not allow American's to conduct business, because they don't want the headache.

I already have multiple banking relationships in Ecuador (and they are part of FATCA). But Ecuador is not a "safe haven", so even those assets should be included in the new organization for asset protection reasons -- based on my present understanding.

It gets slightly more complicated due to my residency visa, which was obtained via a real estate investment. So I am not sure that particular title could be transferred out of my name.

I'm working through these questions with multiple sources.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
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  #29 (permalink)
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Just finished a conference call with another attorney. This group wanted over $80,000 for the creation of trusts and LLC's and that was separate any tax advice/CPA work. That figure was after they wanted an approximate "picture" of my assets, something that I felt was wrong from the beginning. Just saying, buyer beware.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
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  #30 (permalink)
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@artemiso I will revisit the commercial insurance after I make the organizational changes. Maybe you can make an introduction for me so I can get it done this time without further time wasted.

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses.
3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make.
4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers.
6)
Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.

If you want
to support our community, become an Elite Member.

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