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Premier Offshore International Tax and Business Guide

Free Download: 120 Page Expat Tax Guide

International Tax and Business Guide for Immediate Download

Updated for 2015

The Complete Guide for the
American Living and Working Abroad

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CLICK HERE: International Tax and Business Guide

You will learn how to:

  • Open bank account anywhere in the world,
  • Move your IRA or other retirement account out of the U.S. and under your control
  • Which country has the best tax laws and lowest employee costs,
  • How to incorporate your international business and eliminate or defer U.S. taxes,
  • Where to hold your money and investments for privacy and protection,
  • Which countries fit your business goals and personal lifestyle,
  • Where to get the best return on your currency, gold, stocks and/or real estate investments,
  • How to make investments and do business around the globe,
  • Which countries have the best residency and citizenship programs, and
  • How to keep yourself and your structures in compliance and out of trouble with the IRS.

CLICK HERE: International Tax and Business Guide

New to Offshore? Here’s how to get started…

If you’re new to the offshore world, or just wondering what your options are, here’s an introduction to going offshore. There are plenty of legal ways to go offshore. So long as you file the necessary forms and work with a firm that provides US tax compliance, going offshore will be safe and efficient.

Here are a few suggestions on how to plant your flag offshore and how we can help.

Open a Bank Account Offshore – Plant Your First Flag Abroad

The simplest way to gain experience in the offshore world is to open a bank account. There are a number of international banks that accept US persons. Services range from advanced investment and trading facilities to simple checking accounts. Some allow you to open an account by courier and some require you to visit their offices.

In it’s simplest form, an offshore account allows you to build a beachhead offshore. Put some of your cash abroad for a rainy day. Add to that an account held in a foreign currency, and you create a hedge against a weakening of the dollar. Combine this with a gold storage account and you have a solid offshore foundation and a place to land if necessary.

Accounts can be opened under your name or a corporation or LLC. Adding a structure to the mix increases privacy and protection, but you can plant that first flag… get your feet wet as it were… with a personal account.

For a list of banks we recommend, send an email with your account size and the investments you would like to have available to info@premieroffshore.com. If you want to start with a personal account, we will point you in the right direction. All of our formation services include opening bank and brokerage accounts.

Take Control of Your Retirement and Move Your IRA Offshore

Often the first major step in to the offshore world is to take control of your retirement account and move it out of the United States. If your IRA, 401k or defined benefit plan has vested, or is from a previous employer, you have the right to take control over that account and invest it in just about anything you like.

Whether you’re concerned with privacy, the possibility of government confiscation, or just want to increase your returns and diversify your investments, taking your IRA offshore is a quick and easy way to plant your flag offshore.

For more information, a personalized quote, and information on the banks and brokerages we work with, drop me a note to info@pemieroffshore.com.

Here are a few of my posts on this topic:

Protect Your Assets with a Foreign Trust or Foundation

Once your retirement account is out of harm’s way, you might consider placing the rest of your savings behind a protective barrier. That’s what offshore asset protection is all about… moving your assets behind a wall… a fortress guarded by archers and cannons… that can’t be breached by any civil creditor. The height and complexity of that fortress is up to you and depends on the level of risk (probability of litigation) balanced against the amount of capital being protected.

Asset protection is not hiding your cash in some banana republic or simple secrecy. It’s about devising a custom strategy that fits your needs and keeps your savings safe from future creditors. Even if those creditors have a map of your castle, they’ll have no way to scale the walls.

In most cases, offshore asset protection is tax neutral. You should not pay any more or any less US taxes because you’ve diversified and taken steps to protect whats yours.

One of the exceptions to this rule is that offshore asset protection can reduce or eliminate your US estate tax (death taxes). In certain cases, contributing your assets to a foreign trust moves them out of your US estate. If your total estate is over $5.43 million in 2015, an offshore trust or foundation might save you (or your heirs) on estate taxes.

And there are other exceptions to this rule. Advanced asset protection systems that include captive insurance companies and/or offshore life insurance contracts can reduce your US taxes by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or more. These advanced planning options typically require an investment of $1 to $3 million or the need to shelter at least $1 million per year in active business income.

For the basics of offshore trusts and foundation, please see my International Trusts page. For information on this and other more advanced techniques, please send an email to info@premieroffshore.com.

Second Passports and Foreign Residency Options

Record numbers of Americans renounced their citizenship in 2015… 1,335 during the first quarter alone. Expatriations have nearly doubled from the first quarter of 2014 and are up 10 fold from the early 2,000’s when the US began it’s attack on expats and international investments.

If you’re considering giving Uncle Sam the boot, or just want a backup travel document should the stuff hit the fan, then a second passport is for you. Remember that you must have a new passport in hand before giving up your US citizenship.

There are two paths to a second passport. You can buy a passport from countries like St. Kitts, Austria, and Comoros (see my 10 Best article below for a full list). If you don’t have the cash, you can become a resident of countries like Panama and Paraguay for a few years and then apply for citizenship. The cash for passport program is quick and easy but expensive. The residency path is slow and steady with minimal costs.

Here are a few of my posts on second passports:

Buy Real Estate in Growth Markets

One of the best ways to diversify your assets is to invest in foreign real estate. Property is tangible, you typically receive payments in a foreign currency, appreciation is not taxed, there are a number of high growth markets available to American investors, and you might not be required to report international real estate to the IRS (see link below).

We can create a holding company and put you in contact with real estate experts around the globe. The key to high returns in growth markets is local knowledge… don’t pay the “gringo price,” negotiate like a local.

For example, Nicaragua is expected to be one of the hottest markets from 2016 to 2020. For the reason why, see Follow the Smart Money into Nicaragua (on EscapeArtist.com). For my thoughts on the Panama market, see Panama, 2015 and Beyond.

Here are a few of my other posts on international real estate:

Start a Business Abroad and Pay Zero Taxes

If you can take you and your business offshore, and qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, then you can run a business and pay zero US taxes. Assuming you operate from a country like Panama that won’t tax your foreign sourced income, you might pay zero worldwide tax.

I have a number of articles on this topic, but the basics are that you need to be out of the US and operating your business through a foreign corporation setup in a country that won’t tax your profits. The most important component of this plan is that you qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

Here are my posts on how to start a business abroad:

For more information on moving your business offshore, please send an email to info@premieroffshore.com.

Offshore Merchant Account

The US has the cheapest and best credit card processing, period.

But, if you’re going to be offshore, you should go all the way, right?

If you can structure your business with an offshore bank account and merchant account, you will reduce your exposure to the US government and the risks of the IRS seizing your cash. You will increase privacy and protection for your business. This security comes at a cost, but it may be well worth it.

We can help you structure your business offshore and open bank and merchant accounts. If you wish to keep processing in the US, we can help you there as well. You will need a US corporation and merchant account added to your offshore structure. Of course, this means your US corporation will file a US return. It also adds a level of complexity to your accounting and tax planning.

For more information on offshore merchant accounts see my article How to Get an Offshore Merchant Account. This 9 page report will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the credit card processing industry.

US Tax Preparation & Compliance

We offer tax preparation and planning for all levels of international investors. Whether you have a advanced trust and company structure, a simple single member LLC, or foreign real estate and assets that need to be reported, we can assist.

For a confidential quote to prepare your current year tax returns, send an email to info@premieroffshore.com, along with a copy of last year’s return.

We also provide a ton of tax research on this site, which is intended to help you plan your structures and investments, but not necessarily prepare your returns… we don’t update our posts with changes to the code unless a major law comes along that affects future planning.

Tax rules, rates and forms are constantly changing. The US tax code is over 4,000 words long and there’ve been over 5,000 changes since 2001. My International Tax and Business Guide (2015, 6th edition)  tracks these changes and is updated for each tax filing season.

To receive your free copy of my 120 page book please sign up for my free e-letter. I’ll send it to you as a PDF immediately.

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IRS Audits and Tax Debt

The IRS has found it very profitable to go after international accounts and has gone to great lengths to target Americans abroad. The is the reason I created Premier – to offer legal and tax compliant options to Americans living, working, and investing abroad.

To many of my readers have been taken in by unscrupulous offshore incorporators. These scammers are not subject to US rules and provide little or no advice on the topic… and, those that do offer “guidance,” often tell you what you want to hear just to make the sale.

Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t care why you didn’t file your forms on time… they just want to take as much of your hard earned money as possible and put another pelt on the wall.

If you’re behind in your filings, or being audited, we can help. Our team of experts have decades of experience in dealing with the IRS and can settle your tax controversy in the most efficient manner possible.

One option for those living abroad is the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. If you qualify, you might be eligible to file your missing forms, get right with your government, and  pay no penalties.

For more information, see: 2014 IRS Settlement Program – I am writing this post in May of 2015 and the 2014 IRS program is still in effect. However, it may be modified or canceled at any time.

You might also take a read through: Prepare for an Offshore IRS Audit and Offshore Basics, What’s Legal and What’s Not

If you are a glutton for punishment, and want to read my articles on doing battle with the IRS, checkout the tax portal at EscapeArtist.com. There you will find over 40 posts on dealing with the great collector.

Note: Premier is not a law firm. If you’re being targeted by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, or have been charged with a crime, you need a lawyer. Send a brief email to info@premieroffshore.com and I’ll put you in touch with a tax attorney who specializes in IRS criminal matters.

About Us: Premier Tax & Corporate Services, Inc.

Premier Offshore Tax & Corporate, Inc. is a leader in international consulting, planning and incorporation services for offshore investors, entrepreneurs, asset protection, and U.S. retirement accounts. We are the only international incorporator that offers U.S. tax compliance. Premier has served thousands of business people, attorneys, accountants, physicians and expats.

We are frequently contacted by law firms around the world to design and implement advanced asset protection and business structures for their clients. We were one of the first, and still the leader, in helping Americans take their IRAs, 401ks, and defined benefit plans offshore. If you want to invest your retirement offshore, we can show you how. Premier’s team has over 100 years of combined experience in offshore, financial, tax, legal and business backgrounds. We have been successfully helping our customers with private financial solutions and safeguarding their wealth for over a decade.

You can trust Premier Offshore as your long-term partner in business. We are committed to excellence in providing you with the finest Offshore Corporations and LLCs, Second Passports, Offshore IRA LLCs, Panama Foundations, and International Trusts. More importantly, we will keep your structure in compliance with the U.S. IRS and you out of trouble.

We believe that knowledgeable clients make the best business decisions. Our website contains detailed information about living, working, and doing business offshore. We have built the largest free library on the web to support you and your international structures.

And we live what we teach. Premier has offices in Panama City, Belize, and San Diego, CA. All of our people are U.S. expats with first-hand experience in international business and U.S. tax compliance. You will see this experience on display in our services and in our blog which provides detailed and actionable information.

We offer confidential consultations. If you have questions about any of our services, please complete the form below, give us a call at (619) 550-2743, or send an email to info@premieroffshore.com.

Offshore Business Planning

Multinationals have enjoyed the benefits of offshore business planning for decades. ProperBusinessman with ideas for success Businessman with ideas for success planning has allowed these companies to legally stash billions offshore and out of the reach of the IRS.

For example, Apple has $157.8 billion in cash sitting overseas and reported the biggest quarterly profit in corporate history this month. Microsoft and Google, not to be outdone at offshore business planning, hold about $82.1 billion and $60 billion respectively overseas.

While tech companies are often better suited to offshore business planning, these laws can be used by anyone willing to diversify abroad. For example, General Electric holds about $110 billion offshore. Other big time offshore business planners include tech and pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson.

According to Forbes, U.S. companies seeking to avoid high corporate tax rates stockpiled an additional $154.5 billion overseas in the last year, bringing the grand total to more than $2 trillion (link is to Forbes).

But, here’s the thing: U.S. laws may have been designed by lobbyists for big corporations, but they apply equally to all of us entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a one man shop or a medium sized venture with millions in sales and 100 employees, offshore business planning can help you cut your taxes, increase profits, and protect your assets from frivolous lawsuits.

  • Our team of US expats has decades of experience offshore… and we live what we recommend. We are all American expats and Premier operates from Panama and Belize.

Here are just a few of the areas our offshore business planning service can help:

Planning Your Offshore Strategy: Beginning with the jurisdiction and then the type of entity, we will design a custom offshore business structure that will reduce your worldwide tax obligations, diversify your business abroad, and protect your asset.

For example, let’s say you have an ecommerce business. Together, we decide that the country of Panama is the most efficient jurisdiction for the parent company and call center:

  • the business can be structured to eliminate local taxes,
  • low cost English speaking employees are available,
  • the country offers excellent internet connectivity,
  • banking and ecommerce are available at competitive rates, and
  • 5) visas are available for you and your executives.

Next, we decide to add an offshore subsidiary in the country of Belize to receive payments from clients outside of Panama. Panama will not tax foreign sourced income, so billing through a subsidiary is efficient.

Then we transfer existing and future intellectual property in to subsidiaries incorporated in Cayman Islands. The Panama corporation licenses the IP from these companies, providing another level of asset protection, country and currency risk diversification, and tax mitigation.

Finally, we wrap all of this up in to an offshore trust or a Panama Foundation to maximize privacy and protection.

Offshore Staffing and Visa Issues: As expat entrepreneurs we bring years of experience to your team. We can help you find, qualify, and manage employees and independent contractors.

We can also help with work and business visas for you, your family, and your executive team. Some of our visa programs are proprietary and, depending on your country of operation, can reduce costs and speed up you entrance to the market.

Onshore and Offshore Merchant Accounts: We can negotiate both onshore and offshore merchant accounts on your behalf with ISOs and acquiring banks around the world. The country and structure selected will depend on many factors and we have experience in all levels of merchant processing.

Of course, if you are going to go offshore, you should go all the way. Moving your credit card processing offshore has many benefits. So long as you have an office with employees offshore, your discount rates will be reasonable.

Some clients require U.S. banking and credit card processing. We can assist you to find the best processor for your niche and mary your desire to go offshore with your need for a U.S. account. Such a structure adds layers of complexity to your offshore business plan, but we can guide you through the minefield.

For a detailed description of the offshore merchant account, see my article: How to Get an Offshore Merchant Account.

International Tax Planning: We are one of the few firms offering international formation and tax planning services to small and midsized businesses. Our offshore business plans are specifically designed for closely held companies looking for the same tax and business benefits available to the multinationals.

For example, we might develop an offshore plan that allows you to qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, draw a salary of up to $100,800 tax free from your active offshore business ($200,000 p.a. for a husband and wife), and retain earnings over an above the FEIE tax deferred. For more on this, see my article on retained earnings in an offshore corporation.

Or, as mentioned above, we might decide that an IP holding company is the cost effective way to move a portion of your profits from foreign sales out of your parent company.

Another offshore business planning technique making headlines is the offshore inversion. This is where your business buys a foreign competitor (doesn’t need to be a competitor, but that is the most common) based in a low tax country. At the end of the transaction, the tax home of the business becomes the low tax jurisdiction, greatly reducing your worldwide tax obligations. That is to say, the tax home of the company is “inverted” from the U.S. to the low tax country.

If you, your business, and your employees must remain in the US, and you don’t have significant foreign sales, an offshore captive insurance company might be the solution. An offshore captive will allow you to move up to $1.2 million per year out of your U.S. corporation on on to the books of your offshore insurance company. That is to say, you pay insurance premiums to your offshore insurance company of up to $1.2 million which are deductible to your U.S. company.

The offshore captive is most effective for a U.S. based business with at least $500,000 p.a. in net profits it wants to move offshore for several years.

We can assist with these and other offshore business planning techniques. Every situation is unique and we will build a plan that fits your needs. Maybe a “double Irish,” or a “double Irish with a Dutch sandwich,” fits the bill. Or maybe you have significant capital gains and will benefit from a US complaint offshore life policy. Or maybe a merger or JV with a foreign partner that minimizes both taxes and reporting fits your goals. No matter the situation, we can help.

All you need to benefit from these offshore planning strategies is a guide. Our team has decades of experience advising entrepreneurs and navigating international waters… and we are US expats living what we recommend. [br][br][br][br]

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Phone us at (619) 483-1708 or email info@premieroffshore.com for a confidential consultation on any offshore planning or international taxation issue.

Please note that our office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST.

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