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The United States As A Tax Haven For Non-U.S. Persons

“Kathleen, what are the advantages of a UK passport-holder moving to the United States?”

–Lance G., England

With regard to the passport/citizenship itself? None. In fact, it isn’t easy for a foreigner to move full-time to the United States unless you invest a lot of money in a business or are sponsored for a job. The U.S. has no retirement visa program.

However, the United States is a “tax haven” for non-U.S. persons, so you could invest in certain U.S. investments and pay no tax–U.S. treasuries, for example, although they wouldn’t be offering the best returns right now even U.S. tax-free.

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“Kathleen, if I have a bank account in the United States with Citibank, which has branches in Colombia, can use money from this account to invest in an apartment, for example, in Medellin?”

–Mark C., United States

Yes, you can use the money, but Citibank isn’t likely going to be helpful in the process. Its Colombia offices are probably not retail branches (I don’t this for certain, but, typically, U.S. banks with offices in foreign countries are not retail branches but commercial offices or perhaps private banking branches).

Regardless, the Colombia operation would certainly be a separate company/bank, subject to the same local requirements and restrictions as any other bank operating in Colombia. You’d have to check with Citibank to be sure, but I’d bet that you’d have the same difficulty opening a bank account at Citibank Colombia as you would opening an account with any Colombian bank unless you have a Colombian cedula (residency card).

The answer is to open an account with what’s referred to locally as a “fiduciary,” then to transfer funds to that account for the purchase of real estate (or whatever). We recommend Alianza Valores.

Continue Reading: How To Complete And File The FBAR Form

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