An increasing number of North American retirees are wisely seeking to diversify a percentage of their hard earned savings overseas. Some invest in a retirement home, others prefer different offshore investments. Soon-to-be retirees are evaluating the benefits of moving to a less expensive, but engaging environment. So what better venue for a conference about overseas diversification and investment than on the carefree Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye?
Ironically, although Belize is a very small, little known Central American country, it has become one of the premier offshore banking centers in this hemisphere. Few people know about, or appreciate, the banking and offshore business advantages the Belizean government extends to expats. So Hemispheres Publishing, in association with Caye International Bank, decided to teach expats about offshore investing and asset management, as well as the advantages of doing so in Belize.
Every few months Hemispheres and Caye International Bank jointly hold a conference designed to teach retirees and investors about a broad selection of offshore options. They also point out the pitfalls of not planning ones financial future with care. These conferences assist attendees to evaluate the pros and cons of diversifying their assets, and their lifestyles, outside of North America.
Conference Venue and Attendees
Grand Baymen Belize has been fortunate to provide support for Hemispheres and Caye Bank's conferences, held quarterly at the Caye Financial Bank Center. Much of the conference gatherings are held on the Grand Baymen family of properties Most attendees stay at Grand Baymen's Exotic Caye Beach Resort. The conference includes a good number of cocktail parties and meals held on site at various Grand Baymen locations. There is also plenty of opportunity to join local tours, nature adventures (such as fishing or snorkeling), and to join special off-site dinners.
Each day begins with a breakfast buffet on the beach, under a tent, while taking in the stunning aquamarine Caribbean seascape. This week the tranquil environment was indeed a notable contrast to the bleak stock market gyrations. The relaxing ambiance and warm Caribbean breezes helped to calm the investors frazzled nerves... Once fed, the attendees strolled across Coconut Drive to the Caye Financial Center conference room, for the lectures.
Both speakers and attendees were diverse, knowledgeable, and interesting. One attendee I spoke with is an Indian psychiatrist, another a FedEx pilot. There was even a couple attending who sell Amazon rain forest remedies. It's always a pleasure to meet and mingle with the eclectic mix of people who travel to Belize for these events. This makes for lively dialogue and thought provoking interchange between the speakers and attendees.
The presentations range from offshore bank presidents, income tax specialists and asset managers, to those of us who spoke about living, retiring and investing in Belize. Some speakers present unique investment opportunities. Others just provide guidance on how to better plan for a secure financial future.
Planning and International Income Tax Traps
I've spoken at almost all of these conferences, but one, during the last two years. So I have also been fortunate to listen to many of the speakers.My topic is always about living, retiring and investing on Ambergris Caye. So these days I only attend talks that will keep me abreast of the USA's ever changing IRS rules and regulations. This time my goal was to catch up on any recent changes in income tax requirements, as well as the HIRE Act restrictions related to future money transfers out of the USA.
Morey Glazer is an international tax expert who has worked in the USA and for clients all over the world for well over 35 years. I know Morey very well. He is also my husband's and my income tax advisor. Practical and down to earth, he preaches "plan, plan, plan". As in the past, he advised all attendees to pay the taxes they are required to pay. He also noted that planning ahead would allow them to avoid paying more taxes than required.
A growing number of attendees are asking Morey about the pros and cons of giving up their US citizenship - so he touched on this topic. He also updated us on the status of Voluntary Disclosure requirements for non-compliance, in regards to various overseas disclosures, such as FBARs and Form 5471 for Foreign Corporations.
On August 31st of this year the voluntary disclosure process ends. Morey alerted us to the huge penalties that will befall those who don't complete their delinquent paperwork within the next few weeks.
The HIRE Act Update
Another hot topic is the HIRE Act, also referred to as the Jobs Act. HR 2847 was developed as a jobs bill. It took a while for the lawyers and offshore bankers to grasp the insidious nature of the Title V Offset Provisions. Joel Nagel, an international attorney who specializes in asset management, updated the group on this controversial "hot" topic.
Joel explained how Subtitle A is another attempt to deter Americans from moving their money overseas. Some consider it the first step towards currency control. Section 1474 requires that after specific dates, banks are required to withhold 30% of any cash transfer an American makes to a foreign bank outside of the USA. This money will be forwarded to the IRS. It will be up to the taxpayer to convince the IRS that they deserve to be refunded their own money.
The HIRE Act is a very complex topic. I won't pretend to be more than a reporter on this subject. I won't attempt to cover the nuances in a brief blog.
But there is one bit of good news about the HIRE Act's Title V Offset Provisions. The date the law takes effect has been delayed. Initially the act was to come into full force in January of 2013. Now at least portions of the act have been delayed until January of 2014. There is considerable debate about whether it can be repealed.
The advice given at the conference was to prepare now, assuming in the future it will be much more difficult to move money overseas.
Learn More, or Join a Future Conference
Hemispheres Publishing and Caye International Bank will hold their next financial conference in November of this year. The attendees will again be staying at Grand Baymen Belize, at their resort - Exotic Caye Beach Resort.
Of course, you are welcome to visit anytime. Just click here for resort info.
Whenever you come to visit us, you need only walk across the street to Caye International Bank to set up a new offshore account. They only require $500 US to open an account. Click here for info on Caye International Bank.