How to Outsmart FATCA
Lately, more people are waking up to the fact that their wealth isn’t safe in the U.S. anymore.
Even though it’s a world away, the specter of Greeks lined up at ATMs desperately trying to withdraw cash … and of private safe deposit boxes opened and looted by bankers desperate to find cash to feed into those ATMs … seems to have struck a raw nerve.
One approach on many people’s minds is to get offshore asset protection by opening a bank account outside the U.S. banking system. After all, if the money’s outside the country, it’s safer, right?
But the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has made that extraordinarily difficult for most American citizens. Foreign banks simply don’t want to deal with American clients, who are now the world’s financial pariahs thanks to our representatives in Washington.
So … what to do? I’ve got an offshore asset protection strategy that works. Let me show you how you can implement it in a matter of days.
FATCA – Offshore Asset Protection
To enjoy a foreign bank account, stop being yourself. Become someone … something … else.
For Americans with deep pockets, it’s still possible to open a foreign bank account directly, in your own name. After all, many foreign banks are willing to do a bit of extra paperwork for someone depositing millions.
But what if we’re not talking about millions? It’s still perfectly possible to obtain a foreign bank account. Just set up an offshore limited liability company (LLC) that you own. Let the LLC open up the foreign bank account, using your money. The LLC’s accounts — there can be more than one — can be in many different currencies, in different jurisdictions.
Now, let me say upfront that this doesn’t solve all of your problems. Foreign banks are still going to want to know who the “beneficial owner” of the LLC actually is. And when they find out it’s a U.S. taxpayer, they will still have to report on that account to the IRS under the terms of FATCA.
But there’s a big difference with an LLC account: The attorney who sets up the LLC opens the bank account for you at the same time, and handles much of the paperwork the bank would have to do under FATCA, for a single fee that’s usually only a few thousand dollars.
Such attorneys have longstanding relationships with foreign banks, and can open a foreign bank account under the LLC’s name with small initial deposits. The attorney can then appoint an LLC “manager” to act as its local representative for a few hundred dollars a year.
So getting quick, low-cost access to a foreign bank account is one benefit of an LLC/account deal. But there’s another, and it’s a biggie: Under LLC statutes in countries such as Nevis or Panama, the LLC’s owners (called “members”) are shielded from the LLC’s debts, and vice versa. If someone sues you in a U.S. court, the money in your LLC’s foreign bank accounts isn’t just in a foreign country … it isn’t even yours. Legally, it belongs to the LLC. That means a huge extra step for any litigant.
For example, if a U.S. court rules that your LLC’s assets must be forfeit to a creditor … like the IRS … the manager of your Nevis LLC is under no obligation to comply. The creditor’s only option is to re-litigate the claim against you in a Nevis court. Your creditor would need to post a bond in Nevis and hire local counsel just to have their argument heard. The sheer cost and headache would encourage the creditor to seek an out-of-court settlement … or to give up altogether.
So a partnership between a foreign LLC and a foreign bank account gives you offshore banking capability and offshore asset protection from lawsuit-happy enemies.
But there’s more: By opening your account in the name of the LLC, your name isn’t on the bank’s record on the account. Even though the IRS might know about the account because of FATCA, nobody else will.
FATCA – Get the Help You Need
There’s more to the offshore asset protection than opening an offshore LLC and offshore banking, of course. And despite the fact that you will find websites offering to do this for you online, I strongly recommend that you don’t do that. It’s not worth it, since mistakes can be very costly.
Instead, use one of the experienced specialist attorneys I recommend in the Sovereign Confidential Council of Experts. They know their stuff on offshore asset protection, and have local correspondent attorneys and LLC managers already set up in offshore jurisdictions.
Best of all, your new LLC and foreign bank account could be up and running by next week … if you act today.
Offshore and Asset Protection Editor