"There was even, recently, legislation proposed that would have made it possible for the IRS to take away the passport of any U.S. person it accused of owing US$50,000 or more in back taxes. The IRS wouldn't have to prove the accusation...just make it. And the American in question would find himself without a passport.
"This legislation was shot down, but I believe you can expect to see it put forward again.
"More recently, the IRS has been allowed to raid the IRA account of one American with a disputed tax debt.
"This is the climate we're all navigating," Lief continued. "What can you do?
"You can moan, groan, and complain. Woe is me...
"You can wait, watch, and hope for someone to come along to help...to show you what to do from here. But who would that someone be? Some government? It's government that has gotten us where we are today.
"Your only sensible option is to take control yourself."
Analyze. Monitor. Adjust. Adapt. Overcome.
That's the starting point for this week's discussions here in Panama City at this Offshore Summit.
Lief began the day by walking attendees through the basic strategy.
"Diversification," Lief said. "That's fundamentally what we're talking about. Three flags...five flags...seven flags...call it what you like. The point is to spread your assets, your investments, your business interests, and your life around.
"If you're diversified among different asset classes or investment types but all in the United States...you're not diversified," Lief pointed out.
"If you've got several bank accounts but all Stateside, you're not diversified.
"How many of you have more than one credit card in your wallet right now?"
Everyone in the room raised his hand.
"Good," Lief continued. "That's a start. You need more than one credit card, more than one bank account, more than one residency, and, I strongly recommend, more than one citizenship.
"You need options. That's the key to surviving and thriving in the face of what's to come...whatever's to come."
This isn't about hiding money. This isn't about avoiding taxes. This isn't about getting away with anything or breaking any law. Years ago, that could have been the case. Years ago, these ideas and agendas were more cloak and dagger, more suspect, and pursued by what was generally recognized as a fringe element.
Today these objectives are a necessity of the world we're living in.
"Diversify or die broke," as Lief put it.
Lief was followed by Mark Nestmann, the world's top residency and second citizenship expert, who continued in the same theme.
"Here are the three steps to taking back control of your life, your money, and your future," Mark began.
"First, establish an offshore economic base. Move your assets, your investments, and your business interests offshore.
"Second, find a suitable new country for establishing residency. Note that it's possible to be a legal resident of a foreign country without being physically resident there. Foreign residency can be a back-up plan, a waiting option.
"Third, obtain a second citizenship. This can follow from your foreign residency...or, depending on your circumstances and the jurisdiction, it can be the result of genealogy or a direct investment.
"Follow these three steps," Mark explained, "and you're in control. You, not any government anywhere, are in the driver's seat of your life and your future."
P.S. We're recording every speaker and every presentation, every question and every expert response over the three days of this final Offshore Summit of this year. While the conference continues, you can purchase the complete collection of recordings, which will be bundled to create our all-new Offshore Self-Preservation Kit, for a specially discounted pre-publication price.
When the final speaker leaves the stage Friday evening, this discount (of more than 70%) will be off the table. Meantime, you can take advantage of it here now.Continue Reading:
"Capital moves where it's treated best. For a long time, capital has been treated pretty well in the United States. And lots of foreign investors have taken positions as a result. Now they're taking their money and going elsewhere.
"Americans, like those of us in this room today, who are paying attention...they're moving their money, too. They...that is, we are looking for places to take our capital where it will be treated better.
"The FATCA legislation was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010 at 12:01 a.m. No Rose Garden ceremony. No signing celebration. No one realized what was going on until it was too late.
"And, still, today, 2 ½ years later, no one has taken credit for drafting Section V of the HIRE Act, where the FATCA legislation is to be found. No one knows who wrote this language, but my guess is that it was not written by any congressman. Sections of this law are too sophisticated, too smart to have been written by your typical politician. This law was drafted by someone who knows how the offshore world works.
"Playing the thing out, you realize that it is no longer going to be possible for any financial institution anywhere in the world to work with Americans in the dollar world without becoming compliant according to the new IRS requirements. Banks have three choices.
"They can refuse to comply and stop dealing in the dollar world.
"They can refuse to comply and stop working with Americans.
"Or they can comply.
"Some banks are already making their decision. Every week, more banks around the world are deciding that the way out for them is to kick out all their existing American clients and not to allow any new ones.
"However, I predict that, over the next five years, most all banks worldwide will decide to comply. I don't see any other practical outcome.
"If we could believe that this FATCA legislation were the end, well, then, ok, we could figure out how to navigate the new global fiscal landscape...and move on with our lives.
"But I don't think there's any reason to think this is the end. I believe this is the start. The start of capital and exchange controls in the United States that are going to have an enormously negative effect on that country's future..."
Joel was followed by another tax expert, Mark Nestmann, who took the podium, faced the audience, and explained, simply:
"The United States is waging an offshore tax vendetta.
"You think you're compliant in your reporting to the IRS? Wait two months. Chances are, if you are compliant now, you won't be then.
"I believe this is intentional. The IRS is working consciously to create fear among Americans, to scare them into thinking that offshore activities are wrong...bad...illegal.
"I'm here, along with all my fellow speakers and presenters over these three days, to assure you that they are not.
"Investing offshore, banking offshore, incorporating a business offshore...these things are all completely legal.
"All these things, though, now come with ever-expanding reporting requirements. I can imagine straightforward offshore structures that require six, seven, eight annual filings to the IRS. This is the price we Americans must now pay for the 'privilege' of investing offshore.
"It's hard to believe that this is anything but by design.
"Take out some Kleenex," Mark continued, "and I'll walk you through what you need to know to be compliant today.
"If you're an American, you want to be moving what you've got offshore. But you want to do it in full compliance with IRS code...as follows..."
P.S. "Who is that speaking right now?" Jackson came up behind me to whisper in my ear while Joel Nagel was up on stage addressing the group.
Young Jackson is here at the Emergency Offshore Summit with us this week. We've put him to work helping out some of our exhibitors.
"Everyone must be really interested in what he has to say," Jack observed. "The Exhibit Hall is empty. Everybody's in here..."
If you weren't able to join us to hear Joel, Mark, and our other expert speakers this week, don't worry. We're recording every speaker and every presentation, every question and every response over the three days of the event. While the conference continues, you can purchase the complete collection of recordings, which will be bundled to create our all-new Emergency Offshore Self-Preservation Kit, for a specially discounted pre-publication price.
When the final speaker leaves the stage Wednesday evening, this discount will be off the table. Meantime, you can take advantage of it here now. Continue Reading:
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Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.
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