... a net worth of $2m or an average income tax liability of at least $148,00 over the last five years.
Should that be $148,000?
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has insisted that he will pay taxes in the US and his decision to change his citizenship to Singapore had nothing to do with the country's more hospitable tax environment. "I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government," he said, in a …
Why are the Democrats singling out Eduardo? Last year over 1000 people renounced U.S. citizenship and unlike Eduardo openly ADMITTED it was for tax purposes, 499 in the first quarter of 2011:
Will the Special Ops Tax Collectors (SOTC) go after them, too? Oh, wait, those 1000 people are all Wall Street executives that donate to political campaigns. The Democrats will leave them alone because, uh, well, om, I'm sure there's a good reason...
@BillG - Did you not read the article?
"[Under the proposed new law] any expatriate with either a net worth of $2m or an average income tax liability of at least [$148,000] over the last five years, will be presumed to have renounced their citizenship to get out of paying taxes. [...] the government will tax their future investment gains no matter where they live."
So there you go, not singling out anyone. Mr. Eduardo is just the most visible and recent example (even though he apparently isn't actually trying to skip out on paying income tax.) He's the proverbial final straw.
I understand how this looks. Yes, I read the article. You are correct in what the article SAYS, but if you understand the United States Government you would know what the article MEANS.
A law is always broad but enforcement is selective. Cracking down on people that renounce U.S. citizenship for tax purposes is something that has been TALKED ABOUT in the USA for the past ten years. When Wall Street execs renounce U.S. citizenship for tax reasons and live in the USA as an expatriate, no one in Washington squeals one little bit. But having a highly publicized individual renounce citizenship during a highly publicized IPO during a -*!gasp* - ELECTION YEAR!
Well, the people in Washington have to justify their jobs! Harumph! Harumph! Harumph!
Taxing someone who is not an American citizen as if they were an American citizen is, of course, illegal. It's been tried in different forms - in the mid 1990's, when Chrysler moved their headquarters from a Detroit slum to Auburn Hills because three Chrysler employees were killed in two years on their way to work, Detroit passed a law to force Chrysler to still pay all local Detroit taxes even though they were not in Detroit anymore. It was illegal, of course, and Chrysler refused to pay.
No Taxation Without Representation. I think the Americas fought a war over that one.
But no one doubts that this law is aimed purely at Eduardo. I'm not even sure such a law will pass.
Why would wall street execs expatriate? That means they will no longer be wall street execs. Sure, if they want to retire... but most aren't ready to give up the cash cow just yet.
You may have not read the entire article you linked to:
There is a population of U.S. citizens who live overseas and may never have paid U.S. taxes on their non-U.S. earnings and non-U.S. accounts. Now that the IRS is enforcing the rules, with criminal penalties for scofflaws, the overseas residents would prefer to expatriate rather than pay.
That seems a much more reasonable reason. Thousands of people who are already expats, who have no desire to return to the US, who have all their money overseas, who just don't want the US tax collector sending them bills simply because they still have a US passport in a drawer somewhere.
Eduardo, get real.
All you need to do is donate to the right campaigns and quite honestly it's going to be way less than "hundreds of millions" of US Dollars in taxes, and even way less than the $67M the venerable Senator thinks you owe.
"Lobbyists" in Washington are awaiting your call. It's actually very affordable - a few 100,000 here, another few 100,00 there, and you can basically do whatever you want, they'll write some legislation for you.
BTW I gave up my green card for tax reasons too - I was out of the country for nearly 10 years and still paid my taxes every year, then some dimwit at the IRS decided to audit me. They sent me a letter that I owe $20k in taxes (for me, that's about as much as $2Bn for Mr. Severin). In the end it turned out I didn't owe anything, and in fact they owed me. But the stress, and enormous amount of effort involved getting all this documentation together, talking to a tax attorney et cetera was enough to convince me I have to get out of this crazy system. The IRS is nuts. Simple as that.
Communicating with them was crazy too - it was clear from the get go that they were "coming after me" - no presumption of innocence until proven guilty here! Not even common decency to assume I am "not" a criminal. No. They said right away, I better pay up, or things could get much worse for me. It was like a bad cop scene from a movie. Totally out of control, these people.
I know two other expats - one gave up his green card over a similar incident. The other his citizenship out of fear of the IRS. Both are not big earners - not "rich" by any means. But if you live outside the country, its ludicrous that they believe they have the right to tax you.
"Renouncing citizenship to simply avoid paying your fair share is an insult to middle class Americans and we will not accept it."
Hmmm, I may not be American, but shouldn't this sort of action (if indeed, that was his intention) be insulting to *all* Americans?!
On the other hand, what gives the US government the right to tax people who have specifically renounced US citizenship? They would be taxing foreign nationals at that point, something that most countries consider to be a bit beyond the pale.
They're trying to tax him on income that he hasn't earned yet. If he earns that income after renouncing his citizenship they have no right to tax it, just as he has no right to avail himself of the facilities the US government provides to its citizens. Quid pro quo and all that.
Oh, I agree with you Graham - I wasn't agreeing with the sentiment or the actions, just that some politician deems the action to only be insulting to *one* class of citizen rather than all :)
[Part of me wonders whether they're just miffed that they didn't think of it first :D]
I think there is two reasons for this: One, they need to show they're doing something about the rich - scapegoat! Of course they can't offend their sugar daddies so a rich outsider is perfect.
Two maybe they're hoping to get him in line and get him to "donate" to some super PACs.
Three - there is a growing sentiment in the USA that expats should pay more tax. I can only presume this idea was born over a bottle of Wild Turkey somewhere in middle America. The way to get expats to pay tax is to sow fear and terror with some high profile cases, same reason the IRS goes after celebrities with a vengeance. One or two celebrities behind bars means tens of thousands of scared citizens that pay their dues.
What gives the right?
Well, Pres Obama signed into Law an act that now means that ALL US Laws NOW apply to the whole planet. That gives them the right to go after him everywhere. He'd better not come to the UK as he'll be on a plave to the US before the ink was dry on the entry stamp in his new passport.
If you have ever been a US citizen, or held a green card then you must file a US tax return every year. If you have not earned any income in the US then you may not be liable to pay any tax, but you will pay tax at US rates on any US-earned income which includes capital gains tax. Eduardo Saverin knows this as his reply quite clearly states - what is very sad is that the two US senators who are complaining apparently don't know this.......
The working class who this statement is targeted at don't. They are too busy trying to keep a roof over their heads. Romney paid about 14%, Obama about 17% and I paid 31%. I am just a working class stiff making less than six figures and I don't have any deductions or capital gains or any of the tax breaks wealthier people get.
I don't want the rich to pay 90% taxes. I just want them to pay what I pay.
I have a meeting with the I.R.S. in an hour so this will be AC.
When you say "pay what you pay", do you mean $30,000 p.a., which should cover their "share" of education, policing etc., or do you mean 31% ($310,000 p.a. for someone on a million a year)? $170,000 in taxes is not "less" than what you paid, though it's a lower percentage of a millionaires "hard earned" income.
i.e. Do you want to live in a capitalist or communist regime?
Secondary question: If the media report the % rather than total tax paid: Are they communist sympathisers?
The risk with satire is that is sometimes can be too subtle. The views apparently expressed in your original posting are most definitely alive and kicking in certain circles in the States. I should also perhaps mention that I have on several occasions asked/begged El Reg for a "Satire alert" icon!
As above, Romney's paying something over 40% on his income, dividends are taxed twice, first as company income, second as dividends in the hands of shareholder. More civilized nations impute dividends, that is you can deduct from your own taxes the tax already paid on the dividend.
For what ever reason the US insists on fully taxing company profits and offering a reduced rate on dividend payouts.
Try living outside Australia (I assume you are from there, as I) and getting a credit for the imputation. NFW, the local tax bodies ADD the imputation credit to your dividends and charge local taxes on the lot at their local whopping rate (50+% here). This is double taxation and they know it, they just specualte that I won't fight, and if I don't pay they can confiscate my wealth directly from my bank account administratively without so much as a "by your leave" (fact).
My tax bill (backdated 5 years) is going to be 6 figures, and force my departure, immediately. From a high income high tax-paying resident, to a zero tax paying resident. I was willing to pay my local share, I am not willing to double up on what I already paid in Oz! I suspect the IRS would pull the same number - they are rabid dogs too.
FUCK THEM ALL, socialists and IRS rabid dogs the lot.
Time to find a new country, Burma is starting to look promising.
Yeah, they're some of the more ignorant of the toilet bowl of ignoramusi we collectively refer to as "Our elected representatives".
Never mind the facts, they rule through sound bites and BS. The only people dumber than them are the ones that vote for them. Either party is guilty of this. They all disgust me.
[putting my teeth back in]
What are you talking about? Of course governments tax foreign nationals. I have paid taxes on investment in other countries to those governments, The US has a right to tax any money earned in the US. Of course they have no right to tax foreign income of non-citizens who do not live in the US.
Dodging taxes is only insulting to middle class Americans, as those are the only ones paying them. Poor don't earn so they don't pay. The rich dodge their taxes using other methods.
See: "Mitt Romney Tax Returns Released: Paid Just 13.9% Rate In 2010, Had Swiss Bank Account"
Justwondering how you can tax someone who isn't either a citizen or resident, and what the punishment for ignoring the demands for payment from a government unconnected to you would be? I mean, Americans think their law applies globally, but this is a bit ridiculous. Can the UK government tax Bill Gates then?
There is no question about the US' right to tax him according to their laws while he was a US citizen - regardless of where his butt is (onshore or offshore). The issue is the US seems to want to continue taxing this guy after he is a Singapore citizen living in Singapore... which I think should be considered fucked up under any circumstances.
That said... judging from the comments, apparently nothing gets people riled up more than their sense of entitlement to other peoples' money/property. Eat the rich, amiite?
While this may be SOP in Yank media culture, it shouldn't be. Poor devil has just found out that in the Court of the US Press, you're always guilty until the checks clear for the advertising space and public interest drops off.
Retractions are always buried in a basement in a locked filing cabinet, next to a sign saying "beware of leopard".
While I don't disagree that Apple, MS, Google et al should pony up proper taxes and not avoid them... This is clearly a personal decision of someone who effectively runs a US company moving himself to a locale where he doesn't have to pay tax on an extremely large amount of money. He is not a multinational company who could at least argue that they have operations in the countries they pay very little tax in.
Having said that, if he really wants to show that it's just a co-incidence that he moved out of the US, right before a whopping tax bill, he could just pay the tax. I just don't think that's going to happen, somehow.
Actually, this has never been in question (whether he will pay capital gains tax), as his press release pointedly makes clear. The question is, having paid a squillion in tax, renounced citizenship and upped sticks ... does he have future tax liabilities to the US.
The answer is no, unless this funny law comes into effect, and I have no idea what bizarre consequences it will have.
The loophole is for a guy holding citizenship to renounce it and more or less carry on as normal but with many more millions of dollars in his pocket. The loophole could be closed by requiring former US nationals to continue to pay US taxes if they hold a US work permit or reside within its borders for X number of days over the next 5 years.
Basically make it so if they want they money they can get the hell out of the US and not come back any time soon.
This is not a 'loophole'. It is "capital flight" -- which scares the bejeebers out of the people doing the oppressing. Why won't he stay here and be oppressed?
Income earned in the US is taxable in the US, and he can't just move to escape that -- that's not the issue, and never really was, grandstanding aside. What is the issue is that if you push the investor class out thanks to moronic policies, you lose the investments that create jobs. Eventually, the public cottons on, and the politicians lose theirs (rightly so, as the architects of our misery). Schmucky Schumer et al want him to stay and eat the shit sandwich they've prepared for him.
It's obvious the move IS a tax dodge, so why try and wasel your way out of it? It isn't like anyone worth (or about to be worth) in excess of a billion dollars has anything to worry about. I'd do the same thing, but would be open and honest about it, and certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over soon-to-be-ex senators of mine bitching about it.
And by the way America, you are NOT the world.
Friday rant over. Roll on beer o'clock.
The thing is, that this is tax due on earnings, and someone renouncing their citizenship just before those earnings are paid, in order to not have to pay that tax. I'd say it's shitty behavior, the money was earned in the US and should be taxed there, it's just that he moved away and the money earned in the US is being paid elsewhere.
Just a reminder...Capital Gains are only realized when stock is actually sold. If this guy NEVER sells his stock...then there are zero realized dollars to charge a Capital Gains tax.
Steve Jobs took $1.00 a year salary so HE could qualify for the lowest Capital Gains tax rate...and Apple paid for Jobs planes and probably most of his bills. I don't hear anyone bitching and complaining about Jobs...He LL. Some probably want him granted saint hood. What a Joke.
It's not whats right or wrong in this nation...its who are you and does the general public want to worship you or persecute you. Today...more and more...American rules with a mob mentality.
I don't think that would slow them down for even a second. After all, you can be a Senator from Indiana for years without actually deigning to live there. They'd just exempt themselves from the law like they do with any other US law they find inconvenient under the pretense that they're serving the public, and it'd be all just OK.
I noticed that you had missed a point last time. It's implicit in this article, but most comments here haven't seen it.
You cannot evade US tax by changing citizenship for the purpose of evading tax.
It is regarded as a wholy artificial tax-evasion scheme.
However, as with any tax prosecution, the tax department has to prove on the balance of probability that the purpose of changing citizenship was tax evasion.
The new proposal is that there be an automatic assumption of guilt, modifying the onus of proof.
Hah, the only reason they're pissy is because their version of tax dodging is nowhere near as affective.
More than likely what happened with the guy (since he's lived in singapore for the past several years) is his accountant said "hey when this thing comes in, you'd be saving a load of cash if you changed citizenship*
And that's how it went.
But seriously, I can't stand it when government officials piss and moan about this kind of thing when a good portion of them are doing the same themselves just with different methods. Also sucks balls how the world police are handling everything now, I mean by their wacky laws, i could set up a website in the UK following all the UK laws, but if it infringes on an american law I'd be extradited for trial etc. Ungh, hate legal people.
I've lived in the US most of my life....and many Americans tend to be a "Do as I say...not as I do" nation. The increasing levels of government restriction is getting to the point that I am thinking of leaving as well. The government is moving towards forced charity to support the growing lazy and inept population. Instead of telling the inept to make an effort to become self-sufficient and self-reliant. America is a bad parent who avoids addressing the REAL problems and chooses to get others to care for the lazy and inept. America is Passing the buck and avoids the reality of its society's failings.
This is NOT the greatest nation in the world anymore. The continued lowering of general social expectations...and lack of personal self-responsibly is a constant disappointment. Instead of trying to grab for other peoples money....the government needs to get on track and boost the economy, address illegals. No country is perfect, but America is NOT facing the reality of its demise
I expect to see more Americans leaving as this society continues it's downward spiral. The government is trying to get the wealthy to support those who make zero effort to be self-reliant/self-sufficient. People need to grow up and take care of themselves. It's NOT my responsibility to support others, while they sit on their A$$ and make zero effort to contribute towards supporting themselves. Excuses flow in abundance from those who choose to play and not work hard for their future..
Job avoidance is what these congressmen are REALLY working on.
Let's hope you never get made redundant, or have an accident and become disabled, or require medical treatment your insurance won't cover because of some tiny clause in the t&c because then you will be up against the people just like yourself who think that just because someone needs some help at sometime they are lazy and don't want to work and why should they pay to help you out?
Yeah, cos America is doing great financially isn't it.
Remind us again who's major banks etc began the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe and subsequently the whole chain of events from there. America's capitalism what a great system. Cause untold misery for millions just so a handful of people at the top can have a great life and where lying, cheating and stealing to get to the top are seen as positive qualities.
Banks did not "do" the sub-prime catastrophe. Before the feds got involved in mortgage lending, the only way you could get a mortgage was with 20% down, and there was NO SUCH THING as a sub-prime mortgage.* That's *why* the sub-prime market is improperly regulated -- it is a relatively new market created by legislative fiat that the imbeciles in DC were unable to anticipate (or worse -- I suspect they used the inevitable creation of this market as a way to funnel cash to themselves/their cronies). It sucked if you didn't have the 20% saved up, but defaults were few and far between. After all, the whole purpose of a substantial down payment was to make sure you had enough skin in the game that you wouldn't overextend yourself.
Capitalism by itself works. Capitalism with trolls working the system to amass power to themselves does not work -- as it isn't capitalism. Crony capitalism isn't a form of capitalism at all. Don't get me wrong as to political leanings here -- we have had a lot of crony capitalists on both sides of the aisle in the US -- Lincoln, for example, was a master at it, and I am no fan of the Jeffrey Immelt-style of cronies -- but they are just a conduit for cash created by the government's oppressive legislation -- put them in jail, and the politicians will find other conduits. Just look up the largely unreported NOAA slush fund scam for a textbook example of "oppress someone, offer relief if you pay someone off, profit" scheme that rewards huge businesses and punishes smaller ones that don't understand that in DC, you have to pay to play.
Like any legislation that creates more problems far worse than the original, the politicians are at the place where they blame someone else for the problems they created. Next will be proposed legislation to "punish" the scapegoats, creating more problems that they can run for election on, and collect "donations" in order to give businesses a pass on enforcement a la China. Lather, rinse, repeat. In one paragraph, you repeated the main two lies used to pass the blame on and obfuscate the true source of the problem.
I'd call politicians parasites that afflict the people they purport to serve, but that's insulting to parasites anywhere. Ticks are mere pikers in comparison -- they just suck your blood until you die. These creeps suck your blood, blame you for the poor quality of blood due to your anaemia, bill you, your estate, and your descendants for the cost of their sucking their blood, any medical treatment, and burial expenses, and use your medical condition to justify latching on to any other source of blood handy.
My advice to you, young padawan, is to not give so much credence to people that say they are trying to "help" or "inform" you. Then you won't be "controlled".
* -- in fact, there is no such government interference in business real estate loans, which is why you do not hear of a sub-prime business real estate sub-prime market -- even though you can make the argument that since 90%+ of business startups fail, there should be a lot more sub-prime business real estate mortgages. If your business wants a mortgage, they still have to put 20% down or pass fairly stringent financial tests that would not be politically palatable in the heavily demogogued "buy a house for 0% down-no income or assets needed to apply" home mortgage market.
There never will be such legislation, as businesses are the scapegoats here, and nobody in politics loves businesses -- they only want their cash -- and creating oppression in order to create a highly profitable (to them) moral hazard is the way that Washington DC does business these days.
You keep telling yourself that, maybe one day it will be true. Oh, no it won't as it's complete rubbish
Capitalism in America only encourages greed and reckless behaviour. The government may have relaxed the rules regarding mortgages but they didn't make the banks go reckless with their lending. They could quite easily have said no we won't lend to you but greed drove them on. They knew what they were doing, knew the house of cards would collapse and still kept doing it all in the name of making a few extra dollars and stuff the consequences. It was like a massive game of pass the parcel as they sold the debts around each other and the game was to not be left holding them when it all went titsup.
The constant demand for profit growth makes businesses reckless. It has to as constant growth forever is impossible. When your market is saturated the only way to go is down but bosses have to show they are performing so they start to cut corners, reduce the workforce, outsource as much as possible even when that is a bad idea so the standard of goods drops, there are fewer workers so not as much money is put back into the economy, can't spend if you haven't got it so profits drop and the cycle starts again, lay off workers rinse and repeat. Even if a business performs consistently that isn't enough for the stock market so they reduce the price of the shares as they demand growth every single year.
A much more sensible system would want businesses to be sustainable and reward it. If you made $1m profit last year, and the year before that and are on target to do the same again that shows the business is doing well, but not in the eyes of the stockmarket as the people running the business are legally obligated to produce growth even if that isn't possible and get punished on the share price if they don't. Surely it makes more sense to have a sustainable business making about the same profit every year for 50 years rather than constant growth for 10 followed by a massive crash as the demand is no longer there. If the business can grow then great but the current system is based on the false presumption that can carry on forever.
Perlcat do you know how silly you sound? The government put in place those laws that stopped the banks getting silly and when they relaxed them everything went bad and yet at the same time you say that if the goverment had kept its nose out and didn't interfere then it wouldn't have happened. Relaxing the regulations is the government having less to do with business and according to you thats a good thing. The banks then abused their new freedom but then you think it's the governments fault for not being strict enough. What do you want? Regulation or no regulation? You seem to be contradicting yourself.
Banks can be relied upon, in all cases, to act in their own best interests and the interests of the "Capital" which they represent. This is the priciple purpose for the existence of banks. They are not charitable institutions, and they are peopled by individuals, rightly or wrongly, for whom social conscience is a cool name for a band.
I do not understand why people are so constantly surprised at these facts.
It seems every meltdown in the history of finance has been preceded by a round of deregulation..
I can commend this tome to those with the intellect and interest to plough threw it.
Try it, you may learn something.
Paris: For no apparent reason
You mean if a *lack* of regulation means that competitive pressures 'force' banks to be stupid, that rather disproves the 'magic markets' theory offered to us by perlcat and others? I'd have to agree.
Apparently giving the banks what they wanted was an act of "government oppression" which makes them merely the "scapegoats" for their own subsequent freely chosen actions in pursuit of profit.
Lending money *actually* secured on property over the period of the loan, to people who can mostly afford to make the payments is solid, unglamorous business. Building Societies managed it for over a century without much difficulty.
On the other hand, making loans which never could be repaid only makes sense if there is a bigger fool to sell them on to
Perhaps "government oppression" forced the ratings agencies to be corrupt and/or incompetent enough to rate products based on such junk as triple-A?
Seeing the mental contortions practised by some people to convince themselves that 'black is white' and 'white is green' gives one a hint of what it was like to be a dissident in the Soviet Union!
True about the feds mandating loans for the poor, but that would limit the banks over-exposure to $10K on a $50K house. Multiplied by 160 million houses (worst case, from US Census data), that's just $1.6 trillion the US would have to cover, equivalent to 3% of the _entire_ US housing "value" of $48tn (160m x $300K, the average price)
According to Ben Bernanke, ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveschaefer/2011/12/06/bernanke-there-was-no-secret-bank-bailout-and-it-was-only-1-5-trillion/ ) bailout loans peaked at $1.5tn, though the banks allegedly needed between 7 and 24 tn - due to their irresponsible leveraging they had to sell assets at fire-sale prices. Though SOMEONE had the cash to buy the assets - actually, my self-invested pension did quite nicely out of buying depressed bank shares.
And British banks were under no compulsion to buy toxic US assets or over-leverage loans to Brits
So I'd blame the US feds 5% and the banks 95%.
>>Banks did not "do" the sub-prime catastrophe. Before the feds got involved in mortgage
Here in AUS, we had already made both mistakes: Deregulation, and Low-start-loans. Fortunately, we had the deregulation at a different time, not at the same time as the Low-start-loans.
So the shoddy salesmen only sold normal expensive mortages and financial products, and the low-start-loans were only sold by governments and banks.
But the USA had both examples to look to. The immediate effect of banking sector deregulation, with the failure of banks. And the poor people stuck in low-start loans, in the expectation that they would benefit from a rising economy and rising housing prices. And then did both at once.
You remember what Bismark said? Only a fool learns from his own mistakes.
Yes because Europe has such terrible things like Bismark & Beveridge universal healthcare systems that deliver better quality care at between half and one third the cost. They have education free at the point of use.
Nasty socialist ideas that turn out to be better and cheaper. Before you spout out some rubbish about how America's system is better, go check out the annual cost of healthcare vs life expectancy & quality of care. Despite costing twice as much per person & not offering universal coverage the USA's system is ranked 37th in the world.
Having experienced quite a few countries around the world, including the USA and several European countries, America would be smart to look at what other countries are doing and learn from them. America has so much potential, it's sad to see it wasted.
"He quotes a 1996 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that renders inadmissible any former citizen who is determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to have ditched their citizenship for tax purposes."
How could a 1996 amendment give powers to Homeland Security when the Dept of Homeland Security wasn't created until 2002?
Its the legislative magic of incompetently written, incomprehensibly written, thousand-page laws. Politicians, ever the masters of being on BOTH sides of any issue, have crafted laws that are simultaneously *for* and *against* things, and as such, can get reinterpreted any way they want. It's the same principle involved in both the famous quote: "Even the Devil can quote scripture for his own purposes", and the syntactical cleverness where you place certain words in a paragraph to hide the rickroll.
Well-written laws are short and easy to read, understand, discuss, and vote for/against on the merits. Modern bullshit laws weigh in at forty pounds, and nobody, and I mean NOBODY reads them. They can't. Not even possible. I'd call it incompetence, but I think that's a plausible deniability fig leaf covering far more malicious intent.
As was in the article, and the one before, he will be paying.
And as has been referenced in many comments, he will have to continue filing taxes.
The man has not lived in-country for years, and does not plan to return. So, why should he pay taxes towards utilities and services he does not/cannot use. He should change his citizenship to pay taxes where he lives, thus supporting the services (roads, police, etc.) that he does use.
I'll take a stab at this. The subjective pain of paying a given amount of tax varies highly depending on what the government does with it and what your fellow citizens are also paying.
I've paid taxes in France and in Canada. In one case, you have a government that hasn't managed to balance a budget in 30 yrs, a huge public sector payroll and a pension system that a first semester actuarial student would tell you will collapse in a few decades. Along with a population that believes that the government $ can fix anything.
In the other you have a country which radically reduced its spending in the mid 90s when it became clear it wasn't sustainable. Lots of pain but people generally take pride on running a balanced budget (the last few years have been an exception). When I pay taxes, I know that government spending is highly scrutinized.
Both France and Canada used my tax money to deliver on matters that I care about: public education and health. Both countries' general citizenry agree to pay fairly high taxes and don't pretend that only "the rich" should pay taxes.
The US on the other hand manages to run a huge deficit, deliver laughably overpriced healthcare in a highly unequal manner and is acknowledged to have an under-performing public education system. In a country where the median income is about 65K$, Pres. Obama "bravely" supports upping the taxes for those making >250K$ while Republicans state that no one should pay more taxes. So, I am basically hearing that someone making >90K$ cannot possibly give up any moneys to balance the budget. Only the very rich should pay, everyone assumes, but everyone will consume services and claim they are hard up. I find that obscene, even though I also find CEO level pay obscene. A Republican senator, the party of small government, sponsors a 250M$ bridge to nowhere in Alaska and almost gets away with it. US military spending outstrips what, the next 20 countries in the globe put together? The Senate and House dicker endlessly about BS without fixing the budget. Even while voters can't be bothered to pay taxes they are almost unique in the world in claiming taxes from their expats.
I don't know if Saverin is trying to dodge taxes or not. But were I in his shoes, I would feel little inclination to pouring money into such a dysfunctional system. I would pay what I owed and leave asap. Give me the impression that my money is being used wisely, including to help people less well off than me, and I will pay taxes without complaining much.
The law is the law, you say? Yes, but people can vote with their feet. Saverin is doing so.
Do they? When you factor in healthcare (24kusd a year, an average of 500 usd per month per person), education (35k usd a year in our household) etc to make it like for like I pay more tax in the USA than in Europe by far, even including the additional vat and fuel duty in Europe.
haha seriously a downvote, for what? Muppet!
For those from my former european home, the tax situation over here varies a bit but basically you pay your federal income tax, medicare tax, social security tax and state income tax (some states don't charge a state tax on income, they just use a sales tax, some use both), then you or your employer (or both of you) pay for your health care, if you are lucky, then you pay property tax to the local thieves guild. Then you often pay a sales tax to the state (here I pay about 8.5% state income tax and 4.2% sales tax). There is fuel duty (state and federal which amounts to approx 16-17% here I think).
Then if you want your kid to be able to read and think (and not just downvote) you pay approx 15-17k a year basic school fees, then another 1-3k in ancillary school junk (registration, uniforms etc), then another 10k per kid in required donations to the school and about 20-30 days a year servitude to the school.
I may be going back to school next year, the bill will be approx 60k per year.
The land of the free, my feckin arse it is. I will fight for this country, I will respect the laws, I will pay my taxes honestly but I will not sit back and pretend all is awesome.
For the merkins, at least in the UK, you pay income tax (similar structure to the US, allowances etc) and national insurance to the guberment. Then you pay property tax to the local thieves guild (who then use it to break paving slabs to their relatives can trip over them and sue for whats left of your taxes). You pay a sales tax of between 12 and 20% depending on where in Europe you are, I think the UK is 20% right now. Fuel has a pretty hefty duty on it, then sales tax on top of that.
Education \ Health etc isn't totally free (often there are loans for higher education and copays for medical treatment, although most countries work off one of two systems that use economies of scale and centralised control of costs), but everyone pays all the time based on their ability to pay. Better or worse? In some areas it seems to be more efficient to do it the European way, although the USA has got some things very right (the WIC programme springs to mind.).
If the USA allowed dual citizenship, like a lot of other countries, then perhaps this sort of circumstance wouldn't come about. Having to renounce either your current citizenship to become a citizen of the USA or to renounce your USA citizenship to become a citizen of another country seems odd and rather restrictive. We don't know why Eduardo wanted to become a citizen of Singapore, but perhaps if he were allowed to keep his USA citizenship he would have.
Must be beer time...
Not exactly. Depends upon the country you're from -- there was no restriction/impedance to US citizenship for three people I knew that emigrated to US from Russia -- I did all their paperwork, so I know, and I am quite sure that USDHS would make that point quite clear if it was illegal. However, Russia does not allow dual citizenship, so eventually, they'll head to the Russian consulate to formally renounce it. In the meantime, they're in the limbo of having Russian citizenship, but unable to take advantage of the copious benefits therefrom -- like compulsory military service, yadda yadda yadda.
No hurry -- the sky doesn't fall if they don't get it done ASAP, but if you go to Russia with expired Russian passport, wacky hijinks *will* ensue -- unless you hire a lawyer, and pay off the right people.
Really intelligent post there Doug.
But to your point... why should he pay up? As has been previously stated, he's not actually been living in the US for the last couple of years, and has now decided to become a citizen of another country.
As to what he owes, I'm not sure he has said he's not going to pony up any taxes, but only ponying up those that are due at time of income earnt - and as a non-US citizen. Which is only recently right?
Good luck to him I say.
I thought this was fun:
According to the survey I'm worth just $31 - but I lied a little in the survey, since I did play WWF for a short time on an android phone. But I haven't played for months now.
In reality I'm probably worth more like $0.22 to FB since I'm one of those AdBlock-using-freeloaders. FB's site is pretty clean looking when you see it ad-free. Then again I don't have Timeline. Yet. *shudder*
As usual Senator Casey is speaking through an orifice not intended for vocals.
Mr. Saverin cannot legally avoid paying such US taxes as he owes and has stated that he will comply with US law.
Just another case of Bob never seeing a populist bandwagon he didn't want to jump on - even if it has no wheels.
...no taxation without representation?
The senators probably don't know. There is no way that a citizen of Singapore, domiciled there, should be liable to taxation by a country in which he or she cannot vote. Any other situation would be an affront to the principles of the founding fathers of the United States.
Or, hold on! Maybe Her Majesty's Government could start collecting back taxes from the rebellious colonies that renounced their citizenship for more or less this exact purpose?
"It will then be up to the person to prove to the IRS that they've left the country for good reason or the government will tax their future investment gains no matter where they live."
What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
As for this guy OWING taxes, I did not see that he owed any back taxes so I will assume he is current. If he gives up his citizenship, even before landing a big wind-fall profit, any moneys he has will fall under the tax rules for the country he lives....or so I believe.
Does anyone here honestly KNOW tax law for the USA and his new home country?
I smell class warfare stoked by congress and inflamed by the uneducated.
... and I am Marie of Romania.
Of course, this has NOTHING to do with the US government taxing us just because they can. Nope, not at all. Never. Nothing to do with it. Don't know why that thought ever popped into my head.
[BTW, where is that Sir Humphrey Appleby icon?]
OTOH, might this be related to him knowing that the stock value is basically snow: that the market will realize myFace isn't worth all that, never mind the bag of chips, and he's going to be paying taxes on vapor-money?
@cjoki, really? I smell bullshit.
Bullshit that has been going on for decades.
In the 70s people like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, David Bowie went abroad as tax exiles.
Companies have had offices in Luxembourg etc for years, for the purposes of tax avoidance. (funnel billions into the Luxembourg operation which then 'loans' billions back to the US/UK organisation. Repaying the loan exempts local tax and therefore instead of 20% corporation tax in US/UK, pay often less than 1% on the repayment in Luxembourg)
F1 drivers go to Monaco I hear.
All owe a debt to the country that gave them a foot up (in my opinion), but decide to fuck off and leave the rest of us to make up the shortfall. But if you all think that's fair, maybe I'll sign on the welfare and sponge off you as well! Or take all your money and fuck off abroad depriving your economy of the millions of tax dollars I've leached. They must LOL at us proles.
People seem to be talking as if there is a Moral obligation to oay taxes. The obligation to oay taxes is not a moral one, but unequivically a legal one.
I am not morally obligated to support people who don't want to work. People in Europe and aren't morally obligated, to bail out banks, and incompetent banks, and Americans aren't morally obligated to support genocide, in Iraq and Afganastan.
The mere concept of taxing someone who lives and earns outside of the country, and who derives no benefit from taxes paid ( eg through local services) is in this case what's morally wrong.
Interestingky enough, Companies have both a moral and legal obligation to their shareholders to minimize their taxes paid and not visa versa.
I think that is a big difference of attitude here. Neither attitude is wrong, other than in the eyes of the other people. There are probably a larger number of people in Europe who believe they do have a moral obligation to pay tax because of what the states provide both to the person paying the tax and those unable to pay tax. I have used the National Health Service (albeit very rarely), the police, fire service, education etc in my birth country. I had no issue paying tax there (beyond being disgusted at how some of it was wasted), I felt that it was important to ensure I paid my fair share and not go out of my way to find ways to minimise that payment. However, that was in a social capitalist country where the state did provide a lot both to me and those that couldn't afford things for themselves. I firmly believe in kicking lazy people in the ass until they work or letting them starve, but I do think that all kids should get an equal start and equal opportunities in life, at least until they are in a position to make their own future.
In the US, my experience has been that you have to provide for yourself many of the things the state would provide for you. In some respects it is less efficient, but you have more freedom. I do respect the difference and why people choose it. I would wager more people in the US believe it is their duty to pay the least tax possible because the entire ethos of the country is around (I'm struggling for a word other than selfish, because that has negative connotations I don't mean) creating your own future, being responsible for your own wealth and health (despite lawyers trying to convince everyone nothing is their fault and they should sue). The state is something that isn't benevolent, there is very little social care etc. But I have noticed that charitable giving is far more frequent and generous here. Again a shift from state to person. When considering why euros might feel morally obliged to pay taxes, consider the social aspects and that a lot of what the state does in European countries is what charities would do in the USA, and visa versa, before considering Americans selfish \ greedy, remember that they actually just move the onus from the state to themselves to help people \ causes.
No doubt some chump will downvote this because the words were too long, but I have attempted to be non biased.
Have an upvote, you're the first one I've noticed to state that companies have a legal obligation to their shareholders to reduce taxes paid.
They don't have a moral requirement to do this, it may even seem that their legal requirements are immoral.
This required action now also applies to Facecrack, so don't be too surprised when they register in whichever country is most favourable.
What's the difference between immoral and illegal?
One you know is just not right, and the other is a sick bird of prey.
then I'm the corsetier to Marie of Romania
"A Bill of Attainder is a legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial".
The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."
"The Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function or more simply - trial by legislature." U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 440 (1965).
"1996 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act that renders inadmissible any former citizen who is determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to have ditched their citizenship for tax purposes."
Shirley Saverin has the money to test the 1996 law in the Supreme Court. But doesn't it beg the question why he would he want to visit here?
As someone suggested earlier, his only worry is being nabbed by Interpol while visiting some expensive place and then hustled like Eichmann back to Washington and the water board.
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