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Jay Butler of Asset Protection Services of America – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

I generally recommend that Americans try and stay on-shore whenever reasonably possible because if you have a business with an international presence, offshore properties producing income, or wish to move more than $10,000 in cash per year offshore, such activities will invariably need to be reported on your annual income tax return and can raise suspicion with the IRS.

The benefit however to moving your business, investments, or larger quantities of money offshore is that it can place assets outside the reach of judgment creditors. And if such assets have not been moved offshore in an illegal manner (by not violating the badges of fraud for example), assets in a foreign jurisdiction are extremely difficult for the U.S. government to gain authorization to seize.

With the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) having been enacted on January 1st of this year, you may want to have a competent international tax advisor assist you with some of these strategies from a tax perspective. Outbound wire transfers which exceed an aggregate of $50,000 during the calendar year are now subject to a 30% withholdings tax. You may be surprised when you send a $100,000 offshore to purchase a piece of real property and only $70,000 arrives.

If you are considering moving a (relatively) larger portion of your estate offshore, then you may want to consider making use of an irrevocable offshore trust or foundation. The $5 Million lifetime gift-tax allowance previously available during calendar years 2011 and 2012 has been extended through 2013. By taking advantage of IRS form 709, you may be able to gift upwards of 80-90% of your estate into a safe, zero-tax jurisdiction for the benefit of your children and future generations.

Overall, the best strategies for asset protection and wealth preservation offshore should be simple to understand and execute. If you cannot readily wrap your head around your structure, you may want to consider revising your current strategy.

Mike Cobb of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Offshore asset protection is the highest Dollar bill in a chain and lock to dramatize offshore asset protection – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingform of protection a US citizen can have.  Even with the disclosures on the 8938 and other IRS tax forms, privacy is greatly enhanced when assets are held offshore.  An offshore trust is a powerful asset protection tool when used correctly.
 
The best strategy for offshore asset protection is a custom plan that takes into account your total assets, the location of them, your risk profile for lawsuits, your age, family structure and generational planning.   
John Ohe of Hola Expat Tax Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Antigua, Guatemala – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBeing a tax accountant and tax adviser and having a range of different types of clients who are expats, what I would say about wealth protection, asset protection, asset growth, and portfolio management is that there are challenges for Americans when they have a lot of assets abroad.
 
There's a fair amount of filing requirements that are needed in the reporting of financial accounts. In addition to that, there are potential penalties involved when you invest in foreign mutual funds. We generally do not advise US expats to plant a significant amount of their portfolio assets (not including real estate) in foreign countries. 
 
There are three main reasons for this. Number one, the reporting requirement gets very complicated.
 
The second reason, depending on the country you're in, is that there could be potential country risks. Certain countries are not as stable. For example, if you look at the country ratings on the Internet, the US government has a triple-A rating. Other countries in Western Europe also have very high ratings. 
 
When you get down to Third World nations, you don't know the political and country risks that are involved. If, for example, you have a lot of assets in Venezuela, things could get very ugly. You can lose access to those assets or there could be massive devaluation of those assets. There's a fair amount of country risk that you should be cautious about before you put a big chunk of your estate outside of the US. 
 
Third, we always say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." There's a very good reason for that. When we talk about a portfolio for expats, most expats have money in the local country because a large part of their expenses are local. 
 
When you manage a portfolio, you want to have a good mix of asset types. This goes for international exposure as well. There's a combination of, "How much country exposure do I want to have?" along with the additional dimension to a general portfolio mix in a purely US-based portfolio, where you may have a portion in large caps, small caps, long-term bonds, short-term bonds and money market-like assets that are much more accessible and more liquid.
 
(Antigua, Guatemala, pictured.)
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beach in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are three overriding views for asset protection and wealth preservation offshore, and those are diversification, diversification, and diversification. You want to make sure that your asset classes are diversified- that all your eggs aren’t in one basket. It would be foolish for an investor to hold 100% of his assets in cash. It will also be just as foolish for an investor to hold 100% of his assets in stocks. I think just as stocks are an important asset class, just as an important asset class is foreign real estate. 
 
There are tremendous gains that can be made over time in Central American real estate.  For example, I’ve met many people here in Panama who have fundamentally transformed their life through their investment in raw land here in Central America. I think foreign real estate absolutely has to be an asset class for any serious-minded investor.  
 
(Beach in Panama, pictured.)
Stewart Patton of U.S. Tax Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Shark Spotting Mac notebook sleeve by Jet Metier – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBe very very careful when researching offshore asset protection strategies.  There are sharks in these waters.  Lots of people with absolutely no professional credentials whatsoever have set up shop as self-appointed offshore asset protection gurus, and they'll happily give you advice on all sorts of things they have no real understanding of.
 
In general, there are two main benefits to moving assets offshore:  (i) you potentially make yourself look less wealthy than you are to someone who may want to go after you, and (ii) you remove your assets from an environment where they can be frozen with a simple phone call from a judge or regulatory agency.  However, if push comes to shove, and you are at all interested in not lying under oath, then your creditors may still be able to reach assets you hold offshore (by forcing you to hand those assets over to them).
 
Holding assets offshore typically does NOT reduce your U.S. income tax liability. The typical offshore asset protection structure is tax-neutral, which means that it doesn't change your U.S. tax position at all--you are still subject to tax on income from passive investments you hold offshore. However, there are certain offshore strategies that DO work to reduce or defer payment of U.S. tax, but these are specialized structures that must be designed by working with a U.S. tax attorney.
 
(Shark Spotting Mac notebook sleeve by Jet Metier, pictured.)

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