By Mark Nestmann • January 21, 2014
Imagine you’re cruising down the highway, top down, your favorite song on the radio. Then you notice the blinking lights behind you. You get pulled over for doing 80 in a 65 mph zone.
By Mark Nestmann • January 14, 2014
A free lunch is a wonderful thing if you’re not the one picking up the tab. For the last 50 years, that’s what the world’s richest countries – the US, the EU, Australia, and a handful of others –have offered their citizens, in the form of a cradle-to-grave welfare state.
By Mark Nestmann • January 7, 2014
Every year, my associates and I help clients get a second citizenship (and the passport that goes along with it). And one of the questions that I hear most often is: "Will the US government know I’m doing this?" Officially, the answer is "no." But that’s not a complete answer...
By Mark Nestmann • December 31, 2013
The newest passport scam that has come to my attention recently is for Mexico. The Mexico "program," as the company offering this scheme calls it, can be completed in four months and with only two visits to the country.
By Mark Nestmann • December 24, 2013
Pop icon Tina Turner has just joined a multitude of famous – and not so famous – expats. Having recently acquired Swiss citizenship, Turner, a long-time resident of the canton of Zurich, voluntarily "relinquished" her US citizenship and passport.
By Mark Nestmann • December 17, 2013
The same is true of offshore tax planning. But in this case, the bear is not a 500lb animal of the forest; it’s the 100,000+ strong army of tax professionals that make up the IRS. Unfortunately, some people like to learn their own lessons, so, if you insist on provoking the IRS, here's a great way to do so.
By Mark Nestmann • December 10, 2013
FATCA, otherwise known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, is one of the most arrogant and one-sided laws ever passed by Congress. I've written quite a bit about it in the past, almost always on how it negatively affects the average American trying to do business offshore. Today, though, I actually have some good news to report.
By Mark Nestmann • December 6, 2013
Little by little, Bitcoin is winning individual users all across the planet. But something else is happening at the same time: Bitcoin is emerging as the anti-dollar. To the many countries and businesses that have been abused by dollar tyranny, Bitcoin provides a path of escape.
By Mark Nestmann • December 4, 2013
The politics of economic citizenship programs can be ugly. But occasionally, I find something in the works that makes me smile.
By Mark Nestmann • November 28, 2013
It’s been a long time since I had a warm and fuzzy feeling leaving—and especially re-entering—the USA on an international trip. Enhanced security measures in effect since the 9/11 attacks, the long lines to cross the border, and the fact that the US border zone is effectively a “Constitution-free zone” all contribute to a vague dread every time I cross a US border.
By Mark Nestmann • November 20, 2013
For me, one of the most ironic aspects of the Edward Snowden spy scandal is watching the reaction of foreign governments to it. Top-secret documents Snowden leaked to the press reveal that the US National Security Agency monitors phone calls, e-mail messages, and other electronic data in many countries.
By Mark Nestmann • November 12, 2013
If you follow the offshore scene, you may have heard about the proposed new economic citizenship program in Malta, an island nation in the center of the Mediterranean.
By Mark Nestmann • November 5, 2013
You might be wondering what on earth a fairly standard kitchen implement has to do with protecting your assets and personal freedom. Well – although most practitioners would never admit it – it turns out that cookie cutters and asset protection planning have a lot in common.
By Mark Nestmann • October 29, 2013
Two weeks ago, a major US bank sent out a letter that said it would no longer allow some account-holders to make outgoing international wire transfers. Incoming transfers were still OK. If you didn't like the new limitations—no problem.
By Mark Nestmann • October 23, 2013
In the 28 years I've worked in the offshore investment arena, I thought I'd heard every possible piece of bad advice clients could get. But one came up recently that takes the cake.
By Mark Nestmann • October 15, 2013
According to a recent poll by research firm Rasmussen Reports, fully 9% of the U.S. population has considered "expatriation." These are truly shocking numbers—nearly one in ten Americans thinking about giving up their birthright.
By Mark Nestmann • October 9, 2013
Only 100 years ago, your great-grandparents could travel almost anywhere in the world without a passport. And they certainly didn't need one to leave their own country. World War I (1914-1918) changed all that. Many countries, especially in Europe, began requiring foreigners who crossed their borders to identify themselves with a travel document. Passport holders from "enemy" countries were turned away.
By Mark Nestmann • October 1, 2013
If you live in the eastern USA, you've probably encountered an automatic toll-collection system called "E-Z Pass." No need to stop. No need to fish for quarters in your pocket. And no need to roll down the window to confront the often grumpy tollbooth attendant. No wonder E-Z Pass is popular! Indeed, about 25 million drivers in 15 states now use E-Z Pass. Now for the not so easy to stomach side.
By Mark Nestmann • September 24, 2013
Foreign banks, brokers, and trust companies are falling head over heels in their rush to get rid of as many U.S. clients as possible.
By Mark Nestmann • September 18, 2013
I get a lot of questions each week – many of which would be helpful to more than just the person asking. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a few of the more recent ones about self-directed IRA, second passports and FATCA.
By Mark Nestmann • September 10, 2013
Thanks to secret documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the U.S. government routinely monitors email messages, chat sessions, voice sessions, what sites we visit, what we buy and on and on... But when it comes to personal privacy, there's another group out there that makes the NSA look like simpletons.
By Mark Nestmann • September 3, 2013
If you live or invest in the USA, hold a U.S. passport or green card, or have even the most remote exposure to U.S. dollars, you face many threats.
By Mark Nestmann • August 27, 2013
Don't get me wrong – I hate government interference in my daily life. I hate how the state slithers into every aspect of our lives, takes our production in the form of taxes and generally bullies us around however they like. No doubt you do too.
By Mark Nestmann • August 20, 2013
As you may know, the latest quarterly statistics on "expatriation"—i.e., renunciation of U.S. citizenship—were published just a few days ago. A total of 1,130 names appeared in the latest list, which happens to be many more than any previous quarterly total, and more than the total number of expatriations reported in all of 2012.
By Mark Nestmann • August 13, 2013
By some estimates, more than two-thirds of company-provided computers in the U.S. are monitored by employers. If you work for such a firm, every email you send, every cute and crazy cat video you watch on YouTube, and every Google search you make is tracked, catalogued, and archived somewhere in the system.
By Mark Nestmann • August 6, 2013
If you think your U.S. citizenship gives you the right to a U.S. passport, think again. The government has several ways to cancel or refuse to renew your passport.
By Mark Nestmann • August 1, 2013
I get a lot of questions each week – many of which would be helpful to more than just the person asking. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a few of the more recent ones.
By Mark Nestmann • July 23, 2013
Acquiring a passport in another country and then expatriating—giving up your U.S. citizenship and passport—is a very serious decision. If you change your mind and want to return "home" to the United States, you might not be able to.
By Mark Nestmann • July 18, 2013
Every year, I spend four days in the Nevada desert at the annual FreedomFest event. In case you've never been, it's a celebration of "great books, great ideas, and great thinkers," and an opportunity to meet new friends of like mind.
By Mark Nestmann • July 12, 2013
It can... at least when it wants to ensure you're paying your taxes. Even though it goes against one of the hallmarks of the Bill of Rights, which reads: