[Editor's Note: The following post is by TDV Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Berwick]
In the old days (pre 9/11) it used to be quite easy for people with money to ship their funds offshore to a jurisdiction like Switzerland to get some assets outside of the US and keep it away from the prying eyes of the US government, IRS, NSA and countless other three-letter agencies and away from frivolous lawsuits in the US which are rampant.
Those days have long passed. There are now more sophisticated, totally legal ways of doing the same but we never cease to be amazed how few people know about it.
The billionaire founder of Beanie Babies, Ty Warner, is a prime example. Yesterday he was sentenced to two years probation for failing to pay income taxes on millions of dollars he had in a Swiss bank account. He had, he noted, paid billions in taxes to the federal government over the years.
Mr. Warner is #209 on the Forbes 400 List.
While the prosecutors sought as many as four years in prison for the billionaire, US District Judge Charles Kocoras read from dozens of letters in support of Warner detailing his charitable works.
"Warner's private acts of kindness, benevolence and generosity are overwhelming," Kocoras said.
The judge also cited that Mr. Warner had attempted to join the US government's offshore amnesty/voluntary disclosure program, but they rejected him.
"Unfortunately, I never realized that the biggest mistake (I) ever made in my life would cost me the respect that was most important to me," Warner said, reading from written remarks in a low voice. "For all of this, your honor, I am truly sorry."
What Warner doesn't understand is that anybody with any sense at all understands perfectly well why he did what he did! He just did it wrong.
In addition to the record fine Warner has paid, he is now a convicted felon which, unless he already had a second passport (which we can help with at TDV Passports) means that he now will have a very difficult time not only trying to ever get his assets legally outside of the US again (especially after FATCA comes into effect in July, 2014) but will likely even have a hard time travelling outside of the US at all.
In essence, he and is his assets are now trapped inside the US… a place that will continue to increase taxes and inflate the dollar into worthlessness.
Within the next 5-10 years Warner could find himself penniless because of a simple mistake that we see all the time. And all of it over what was really a very small amount of money for a man worth billions.
Warner, a college dropout (as are most self-made billionaires), failed to report $24 million in income in foreign accounts, and even the existence of the accounts.
Warner agreed to pay a $53 million civil penalty and at least $16 million in back taxes. Plus, as part of his plea agreement, he will pay a more than $53 million FBAR penalty. The billionaire was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service. Can you imagine a billionaire on the side of the road picking up trash?
In the charging document, Warner is said to have opened an account at UBS in 1996. In late 2002, he moved $93 million to Zürcher Kantonalbank. That account produced over $3 million of income in 2002 alone, which went unmentioned on Warner's 1040. He even amended his 2002 return in 2007, but once again omitted the offshore income.
LEGALLY INTERNATIONALIZING YOUR ASSETS
We never cease to be amazed how few people actually know about legal ways to get assets outside of the US and receive the same tax benefits as Warner briefly did. And, you definitely don't have to be a billionaire to do it. And you don't have to move from or leave the US, if you don't want to (but we advise that you consider making plans to do so due to the coming financial collapse).
Some billionaires have done it correctly, however. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett moved a large portion of their assets offshore correctly in the last few years. Countless others, however, still remain unaware of not only the importance of doing this but exactly how to do it.
Luckily, the same avenues and information used by people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are available to those with much lower amount of assets… as low as $1 million makes it worthwhile to do. And that is what we will be informing people on and actually helping them do at our upcoming TDV Wealth Management Crisis Conference (for a free consultation call +1-646-568-5518 Ext. 516).
Even for those who don't have more than $1 million in assets in the US there are countless other ways to get your assets and income outside of the US and reap legal tax benefits from doing so. This is especially true for those who can or want to actually expatriate from the US. As example, yesterday we posted an interview I did with Mark Edgington of the Edgington Post (see here or click below) where I told him how he could easily move his business operations offshore and get up to $90,000 per year of his income tax free in the US.
FEW KNOW THERE ARE SOLUTIONS
It is understandable why so few people are aware of their options to reduce their taxes, legally, and get some of their assets outside of the US. The reason is that hardly any government registered financial advisors in the US are trained in these areas. Worse, many work for large US firms and they have no interest in you removing your assets from their jurisdiction.
You have to do your own research and follow websites and newsletters like The Dollar Vigilante to get access to this kind of information. Or attend events like our Crisis Conference for a personalized consultation.
Ty Warner found out the hard way what can happen if you do it wrong. However, the worst mistake, in my opinion, would be for Americans with assets to not look into doing it at all. The doors are closing and capital controls (FATCA) are coming into effect in July, 2014. Those who haven't looked to arrange their affairs by then may find themselves with much fewer options to do so at a time when The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI) and the US dollar collapse looms and find themselves trapped in an outright financial collapse that has the potential to leave even a person like Ty Warner penniless… and, as though the final insult to injury, on the side of the street picking up trash for his "community service".
TEOTMSAWKI will be the most dangerous time in human history for capital. Now is not the time to be complacent, my friends.