Asset Protection with Offshore Trusts – The Cook Islands

OFFSHORE TRUSTSThis article is somewhat sensational (like most lay-articles on the subject of Asset Protection)  in that it focuses on the “bad users” but the science is still sound.

There are likely more people abusing tax deductions and self-directed IRAs than the kind of well timed and tax neutral offshore trust planning which we’ve helped 1000′s put in place legally.

I’m still a big believer in the Offshore Asset Protection Trust when done right. This means:

1.  Fully disclosed and with no abusive tax plan involved;

2.  Done by a professional; and

3. Done with no pending creditor issues.

SEE THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE HERE:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/COOKTRUST

 

See the

Asset Protection Trust Jurisdictions For Doctors Part 2: Going Offshore

OFFSHORE TRUSTSLast week marked the second chapter of our discussion of asset protection trusts for doctors, with a look some basic issues of jurisdiction, that is, what geographic location’s set of laws control the trust. For those who want a potentially higher degree of security with a longer track record, offshore tools like international asset protection trusts (IAPTs) are often attractive. 

 

Although painted in a negative light in recent popular lore because of issues with large numbers of tax evaders (many of who are American doctors) the defensive value of the IAPT remains intact. The simple mistake made by most of the people you read about having trouble with offshore accounts can be reduced to simply failing to report the accounts as the law requires. You do have a well-established right to have offshore bank accounts and trusts and the event of moving money to a foreign bank account owned by a trust or held personally as we covered in our previous article on offshore finance is typically not taxable in and of itself. 

A large number of successful American doctors set up this kind of defensive planning in the first place because they lack full confidence in the often inconsistent and subjective nature of the American court system and are unwilling to remain exposed to any claim or lawsuit that may come along, regardless of its validity and amount. One of the questions that I’ve asked clients pondering the domestic vs. foreign asset protection trust question is this: If you feel you that ensuring your life’s efforts against the above mentioned exposures in the U.S. court system is a good idea, does it make sense to rely on that very same system’s laws and subjective judgment in the planning you implement against it? While opinions and tactics vary widely among planners not all of those strong opinions are backed by actual long-term experience; make sure the answers you are getting actually are.

There are many international jurisdictions to choose from when creating an IAPT ranging from familiar Caribbean islands to Belize, Jersey, The Isle of Mann and the Cook Islands, one of my personal favorites. Some jurisdictions (especially many of the romanticized Caribbean ones) are now too close and connected to the United States to provide the full value of an offshore trust structure and others may be too remote, politically unstable or under-developed to provide many westerners comfort. This author’s personal experience with several thousand of these structures has been to use a remote but well-established protective jurisdiction staffed by top international banks and trust companies that controls assets housed in first-world, European-state-owned and insured banks. These provide superior solvency risk and political stability.  Banks such as these provide the many layers of protection and part of the system of checks and balances so important when moving your assets.

Once assets are moved, the “investment advisor” to the trust can allocate the trust’s assets to nearly any imaginable conventional investment and a few you can’t participate in directly as an individual U.S. citizen. In addition to the basic legitimate business purposes of wealth preservation and estate planning, the IAPT is also gaining popularity with those who have concerns about having their entire investment portfolio here in the United States. Currency stability as well as social political and economic variables have prompted more Americans than ever before to investigate these options over the last five years.

The costs and legal formalities, as well as the history and legal protection afforded, vary widely between jurisdictions, so it’s important to work with an experienced planner that has full range of required support resources like banks, trust companies, protectors, and investment advisors. As always, timing is key, so looking at these tools after an exposure has occurred dramatically reduces their effectiveness and legality.  In this limited forum we can’t possibly cover every detail, so get personalized professional legal help when examining this important asset protection strategy or any other.

 

 

U.S. Citizen Thinking Of Expatriating? Important Articles on What it Means

Due to the nature of our practice with thousands of Americans we have safely helped use a variety of tools including offshore trusts in a safe and legal way, we get lots of questions about expatriation.

Our position remains the same;  the best of usage of these tools is tax neutral and provides surety while allowing you to maintain your life and family inside the U.S. Below are some recent articles that address issues faced by those seeking to flee taxation by abandoning their U.S. citizenship forever.  – Ike Devji

 

FORBES: TEN FACTS ABOUT TAX EXPATRIATION:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/23/expatriation-exit-tax-limbaugh-obamacare-personal-finance-robert-wood.html

 

SCHUMER, CASEY ANNOUNCE PLAN TO STOP FACEBOOK CO-FOUNDER FROM DODGING TAXES BY DROPPING U.S. CITIZENSHIP

http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=336808

Expats Face Steep Exit Tax Courtesy of Facebook

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/05/18/expats-face-steep-exit-tax-courtesy-of-facebook/

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

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-11/facebook-co-founder-saverin-gives-up-u-s-citizenship-before-ipo.html?goback=%2Egmr_3694878%2Egde_3694878_member_115647457

THIS IS A LINK TO SOME OF MY PREVIOUS ARTICLES ON OFFSHORE ISSUES INCLUDING THE RIGHT USE OF THE OFFSHORE TRUST AS A POWEREFUL TOOL IN  LEGAL and TAX NEUTRAL WAY: http://www.proassetprotection.com/category/offshore/

A Doctor’s Guide to Navigating Offshore Waters Safely – Asset Protection

A Doctor’s Guide to Navigating Offshore Waters Safely

By Ike Devji, J.D. | April 19, 2011

In the world of physicians’ legal and financial planning there is no term as simultaneously oversold, feared, and misunderstood as “offshore.” This is especially true at tax time, as all doctors and their practice managers have been bombarded by the promoters of various tax savings schemes that range in skill from “genius” to “criminal.” The legal jeopardy of using these tools the wrong way has been well illustrated by the recent crackdown on U.S. taxpayers including thousands of doctors who have been caught up and exposed by in the recent UBS scandal, as just one notable example among many.

As someone who has used these tools with doctors on a weekly basis for nearly a decade, I have seen a variety of approaches implemented with varying degrees of success. The following are core issues you must understand to use these powerful tools effectively and legally.

TAXES — All U.S. taxpayers have a duty to report any and all offshore accounts. The U.S. operates on a system of worldwide taxation, and while in certain limited cases money actually earned offshore may be tax exempt (see your CPA) it almost always carries a corresponding duty to report the income. If your primary motivation is to move money offshore and grow it free of taxes or at a lower tax rate, you are looking at the wrong strategy and creating a liability.

SECRECY — Secrecy is never part of any competently drafted offshore plan. Further, secrecy relies on the hope that you can open a “secret account” and no one will know about it and be able to reach it. It also relies on your willingness to lie about the existence of the account if you are ever asked about it in court or discovery proceedings, also known as perjury, which itself has substantial legal penalties.

TITLE — Who holds title to any offshore bank accounts is also crucial in effective use of the tool. If you hold title personally, including through a family member, or through a revocable trust in any form, assume the funds are accessible to a hostile party almost as easily as if they were located here in the U.S. From an asset protection perspective, using an irrevocable trust with an offshore third party trustee that is immune to U.S. court proceedings and a bank experienced in such matters in a protective jurisdiction is crucial.

THE BANK— Any serious offshore planning involves the use of a bank to be the custodian of funds. I advise that those seeking the protection these plans require use reputable first-world, (typically European) state-owned, and insured banks. New banking jurisdictions are emerging and there are reputable banks in most of the developed world, but few of them have experience in dealing with the issues you are likely concerned about. Further, international banks that have U.S. offices are not considered protective in any way; an experienced lawyer would simply move on the assets through a domestic branch. As an example, not only did the physicians that moved money to illegal unreported accounts through UBS commit tax fraud, they didn’t protect the money in any real way.

JURSIDICTION — Another vital issue is the jurisdiction of the account and the entities you are relying on to mange and protect it. Some offshore jurisdictions have laws and decades of history and infrastructure that specifically support the use of offshore trusts and accounts for legitimate purposes. A whole new group of jurisdictions would like to play in this arena and are aggressively promoting their laws, banks, and trust companies. While only time can sort out which of these jurisdictions are truly safe and politically and economically stable enough to trust with your life savings, I can tell you that few of us that practice primarily in this area would ever let our clients be a part of this “test.”

If you are considering offshore planning, keep these issues in mind and make sure the organization you are working with is staffed by experienced legal and accounting professionals with the resources necessary to do more than sell you a bank account and the proven infrastructure to help you achieve legitimate goals.

This article originally appeared at www.PhysiciansPractice.com the nation’s leading practice management resource, where Ike Devji is regular contributor. It is reprinted here with permission.

Managing Investments held in an offshore Asset Protection Trust

OFFSHORE TRUSTSUsing the massive deterrence and proven level of protection available in offshore Asset Protection systems requires a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals working to make sure that you are doing things safely, legally and effectively.

That team typically includes an Asset Protection attorney, a trustee, an offshore bank, a great CPA, and an investment advisor. As a team they watch over your family and assets.Financial Advisor Richard Arnold is one such experienced professional. We asked him to share some important basics below. -Ike Devji

 

By Richard L. Arnold

Physicians, business owners, real estate developers and others are increasingly concerned with protecting their assets/net worth in these difficult economic, political and litigious times. Those who have prepared in advance for potential lawsuits or negative economic events have considered establishing Asset Protection Trusts. These Trusts can have their assets held by a foreign bank, and managed by a financial advisor in the U.S. An Investment Policy Statement is prepared that defines the return objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon of the trust.

Here are a few answers to FAQ’s related to managing your investments in an offshore Asset Protection Trust:

• The foreign bank is the custodian for the investments in the Asset Protection Trust, therefore it is important to choose a bank that is financially solid as the investments will be in excess of insurance on deposits. Financial information on the banks can usually be obtained and evaluated.

• Generally, foreign banks can buy any U.S. individual stock, ETF or mutual fund. They can also buy foreign stocks, bonds and mutual funds, but contrary to typical wealth management in the U.S., money managers are normally not used due to the volume of transactions. If the trust is using a U.S. Advisor, purchase recommendations are sent by the Advisor to the Trustee, who then instructs the bank to make the purchase.

• The custodian bank charges transaction fees to buy and sell securities, which are about 1.8% for both a purchase and a sale. If the bank is managing the assets, additional fees run about 1.1% to 1.3% depending on the size of the account. This fee can be avoided by using a U.S. Advisor whose fees generally range from 70 to 90 basis points depending on the size of the trust. Be sure to choose an advisor who is experienced with offshore trusts.

• IRS rules require the preparation of various forms and there have been recent changes to the reporting requirements. Consult a knowledgeable tax specialist to be sure you are complying. The tax requirements are not onerous, but of course must be complied with. We work with tax advisors who have experience in reporting offshore investments.

We operate as a multi-family “family office”, managing approximately $1B in assets. Please call me if you are interested in discussing our services further, or contact Ike Devji.

Richard L. Arnold, Advisor and Operations Manager
CB&T Wealth Management and The Corundum Group
1 South Nevada Ave., Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Direct (719) 228-1083 Cell (719) 330-1226
Rick.Arnold@centralbancorp.com www.centralbancorp.com

Tougher Tax Law For Overseas Assets

Tougher Tax Law For Overseas Assets
(Dow Jones) A new U.S. law that is part of a crackdown on tax havens means that wealthy clients will be hit with stricter filing requirements next tax season.

New rules will result in duplicate reporting for some taxpayers and steep penalties for those who fail to comply. The law makes it more difficult to hide assets overseas, partly by taxing foreign banks that don’t share information about U.S. account holders.

READ MORE:

Tougher Tax Law For Overseas Assets

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 (Rangel-Baucus Bill)

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 (Rangel-Baucus Bill)


Recent Offshore Tax Haven Legislation

Since 2007, numerous attempts have been made at passing targeted tax haven legislation. Although none of these initiatives has progressed in any meaningful way thus far, under the Obama Administration there is a much higher likelihood that this type of legislation will be promoted.

SEE THE WHOLE STORY HERE

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0bab19ec-e537-4822-bf77-f67d6ebf0dcd&utm_source=Lexology%20Daily%20Newsfeed&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Lexology%20subscriber%20daily%20feed&utm_content=Lexology%20Daily%20Newsfeed%202010-01-29&utm_term=

ARE YOU AN ACCIDENTAL TAX CHEAT? THE IRS IS LOOKING FOR YOU.


The IRS is currently running a “Voluntary Disclosure Opportunity” that expires October 15, 2009.

You have likely heard reference to this amnesty event in the context of allowing those with “secret” offshore accounts (see my other posts on this amateur practice) to report them and get square with the tax man – but there are many other situations that require reporting and which are often intentionally or accidentally overlooked – be sure you and your clients are fully aware.

If any of the following situations apply in your case, make sure that you file proper forms to report these transactions and if required declare income prior to the extended deadline of October 15, 2009 in order to avoid severe and harsh penalties including criminal penalties:

1. Do you have a foreign bank account including a security account, credit
card account etc outside the United States that you did not report as
required by law?

2. Do you have unreported income from a foreign country?

3. Do you own any unreported foreign entities such as corporations, trusts,
partnerships or disregarded entities?

4. Do you own Mexican real estate through Mexican Bank Trusts?

5. Do you have rental income from property outside the United
States?

6. Did you receive unreported inheritance from outside United States?

7. Are you a beneficiary in any trust formed in foreign jurisdiction? Did
you receive any unreported distribution from the trust?

8. Have you sent money outside United States by way of loan, equity etc in
last few years and not reported it to the IRS?

If any of the above situations apply to you, please contact professional accounting help as soon as possible so that they can help you – Penalties will be exceptionally harsh after October 15, 2009.

My thanks to Pallav Acharya, CPA, FCA, CIM of CPA global Tax & Accounting
for this list. Phone: (480) 889-8949 – Pallav is in Scottsdale, AZ and works with clients all over on international taxation issues.