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Multi-National Planning

In today’s world, multinational planning is not just a luxury for the few.  It has become a necessity for many.  Citizens of the modern economy live, play, do business and own assets in more than one place.  Few of us live in the same location where our parents lived, and our children are going to expand the horizon of global travel, activity, and living even wider.   This creates both opportunities and risks.  Those who plan for the multinational reality will harvest the opportunities.  Those who do not plan, will be taken by surprise and reap the risks.  Structures that are portable, jurisdiction adjustable and independent will survive and thrive, while those stuck in a single location will be held captive by provincial limitations.

Multinational Planning vs. Multinational and Offshore Entities

“Multinational entities” are sometimes portrayed as just big corporations that own or control the production of goods or services in one or more countries other than their home country.  There are lists of such entities.  The stereo-type is that only the giants of industry and finance play in this league.  “Multinational planning,” on the other hand, is simply coming to grips with the globalization of the economy on a personal level, and mapping out a plan for prosperity and longevity in the world as it is emerging.  This means compliance with, accommodation for, and taking advantage of applicable laws in multiple locations.  Multinational planning is also different than mere “offshore” planning, which can mean operating any place other than the one in which you are domiciled.  Effective multinational planning requires integrating structures across different jurisdictions so that they work together lawfully, efficiently, and effectively.

Contrary to the rantings of some anti-globalization activists, multinational planning is NOT a means of income tax evasion.  The law is crystal clear, U.S. citizen and resident aliens must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S. Congress passed the “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” or Fatca in 2010.  Under Fatca, U.S. taxpayers must report financial assets outside the U.S. to the IRS on Form 8938.  The rules may also require individuals to file the FBAR (FinCEN Form 114 — Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) with the office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is a separate bureau of the Department of the Treasury from the IRS.  The IRS has made vigorous efforts to enforce such laws.  Multinational planning is all about working within the law, not working against or avoiding the law.

Off Shore vs. Domestic Asset Protection

Multinational planning and offshore entities are NOT for everyone.  Many times, domestic planning is not only sufficient, but superior.  Here are a list of indicators that offshore or multinational planning is NOT for you:

  • All your assets are located in and will stay in the U.S. (Even with asset protection where the asset being protected are located in the U.S.)
  • All your family members live in the U.S. and are likely to remain there. (The people assets are being protected for all live in the U.S.)
  • You source of income is dependent upon you being in the U.S. (for example, a service provider or professional that must be in the U.S. to do business)
  • While you may travel occasionally for pleasure, you do not regularly need to travel out side the U.S. and you plan to live in the U.S. for the rest of your life
  • You investments are exclusively in U.S. markets and U.S. dollars and/or tax structures defined or created by U.S. law (IRA, 401(k), Defined Benefit Plan, etc.)

The more of the following items apply to you, the more Multinational Planning may make sense for you:

  • You already own or will own assets or business outside the U.S.
  • You have family members and significant relationships with persons living outside the U.S.
  • Your source of income and/or business is portable and can operate from anywhere in the world
  • You frequently travel and have a business purposes for travel outside the U.S. and you may reside outside the U.S.
  • You invest in markets outside the U.S. and in currencies other than the Dollar

Whether or not to expatriate is also a big decision in multi-national planning.

How Can Durfee Law Group Help?

Durfee Law Group and its attorneys only practice law in those jurisdictions where they are licensed to do so.  (See Terms of Engagement.)  Where appropriate or necessary, independent local legal counsel will be required.  For our Multinational Planning Clients, Durfee Law Group can assist with the following:

  • Help you decide if a Multinational Plan is right for you, and if so, help you select the nature and situs for such a plan
  • Help you unwind a Multinational Plan if you got into one and it is not working
  • Establish a U.S. domestic plan to integrate with the Multinational Plan
  • Engage and coordinate with attorneys, tax advisers, CPA’s, fiduciaries, bankers, investment advisers, and key persons in the U.S. and other jurisdictions to design, implement and maintain a Multinational Plan.
  • Diagram, track and monitor the structure and status of a Multinational Plan
  • Coordinate annual updates and periodic service of the various components of a Multinational Plan.
  • Other services as determined on a case-by-case basis.

Frequently Used Resources for Offshore Jurisdictions

I put together and maintain this list of resources (and many of the other links on this page) mostly for my own use.  I share them here because some clients and advisers we work with may find them beneficial.

Bahamas

Bahamas Government Official Website.

Nevis

Nevis Government Official Website.

St. Kitts & Nevis Government Services Website.

U.S. Relations With Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Nevis Trust Requirements.

Cayman Islands

Government Websites.

Forming a Business Entity.

Residency Requirements.

Switzerland

Swiss Infinity Global Investment.  Landing Page.

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