Congress gives America a special Christmas present: higher taxes

You’ve got to hand it to these people-- Congress really knows how to bring out the holiday cheer.

They have some sort of pathological need to pass the most absurd legislation at the VERY END OF THE YEAR giving people very little time to react.

Two years ago, for example, they passed comprehensive tax reform in late December 2017… and the new tax code went into effect only a few days later.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Yesterday I learned about yet another incredible tax incentive

Yesterday, I was looking at commercial properties for an Opportunity Zone investment… and one project in particular is really attractive.

The building itself is inexpensive-- only a couple of million dollars to buy it and a few more to renovate.

Frankly, for a large spacious office building in one of the best neighborhoods in the city, that’s really cheap.

And the projected yields are in the double-digits.

Lately, there have been[...] Click here to continue reading

The easiest (and safest) return on investment you’ll ever achieve

In 1993, William Kurt Hauser, a San Francisco investment analyst, presented his results from an incredibly interesting study.

Hauser had analyzed tax revenues in the United States over time and came to the conclusion that tax revenue as a percentage of GDP had remained around a narrow band of 19% since 1946.

That was astonishing. After all, over that same period, tax rates had been all over the place.

The top marginal[...] Click here to continue reading

Even Elizabeth Warren is maximizing her tax deductions

On September 11, 1791, sixteen men disguised themselves as women and waited patiently in a forest outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the local tax collector.

The tax collector’s name was Robert Johnson. And he was tasked with collecting the new Whiskey Tax that had recently been signed into law.

This was -very- early in US history; the Constitution had only been ratified two years earlier, and George Washington was barely into his first term as[...]

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Guess how much Britain’s richest man saves on taxes by moving to Monaco?

Bill Gates and I don’t agree on taxes.

He says that he should pay more. And I consider it my moral duty to pay as little tax as possible. I don’t want to fund the government’s destruction, corruption and waste.

But in an interview with Fareed Zakaria, Bill Gates did echo my Universal Law of Prosperity: produce more than you consume.

Bill noted that the government “only collect[s] about 20% of GDP[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s why the wealthiest city in America is screwed

Last month, Chicago hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin spent $238 million on a condo in New York City.

It was the most expensive home ever sold in the US (but only one piece of Griffin’s massive, luxury real estate portfolio).

Good for Ken… he’s incredibly wealthy and can spend his money however he wants. But most of society hates this kind of behavior.

Even if a guy has earned $10 billion through hard work[...]

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I’m personally paying rent for furloughed gov’t employees. Here’s how to apply…

If you’ve been reading Notes from the Field for any period of time, you know I don’t like paying taxes. That’s why I’m living in Puerto Rico today paying almost nothing.

And no, it’s not because I’m doing anything illegal.

Puerto Rico is one of the most incredible LEGAL tax havens in the world; under special incentive laws that were passed by the government several years ago, it’s possible to pay just 4%[...] Click here to continue reading

Own a business? Consider this approach to slash your tax bill

By the middle of the 11th century in the town of Coventry, England, the local townspeople had spent years under the oppressive regime of their ruler, Leofric of Mercia.

Leofric taxed his people heavily... which was commonplace in the Middle Ages.

Feudal barons were extremely creative in taxing trade and commerce, demanding egregious tolls from merchants who passed through their lands and waterways.

Clive Day’s book History of Commerce describes the absurd[...] Click here to continue reading

The state of New Jersey just signed its own death warrant

You would think New Jersey would have learned its lesson…

Two years ago, New Jersey’s richest resident – hedge fund billionaire David Tepper – decided to move himself and his business to Miami Beach.

Tepper, who personally earned more than $6 billion from 2012-2015, was tired of paying New Jersey’s top income-tax rate of 8.97% for the 20 years he lived there, in addition to the country’s highest property taxes, the estate tax[...] Click here to continue reading

There is no ‘patriotic duty’ to pay more tax

In 1873 during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, the government abolished its income tax.

Aside from a single episode in 1894, there would be no income tax in the United States of America for nearly 40 years.

It was during this period that the United States emerged as the largest, most powerful economy in the world.

And the country achieved this with no income tax. No inflation. And very little public[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the Italian government’s Orwellian new automated tax snitch

By the end of the 3rd century AD, the finances of ancient Rome were in terminal crisis.

Years and years of debasing the currency had resulted in severe hyperinflation-- a period of Roman history known as the Crisis of the Third Century (from AD 235 through AD 284).

During the time of Julius Caesar, for example, the Roman silver denarius coin was nearly 98% pure silver.

Two centuries later in the mid-100s[...] Click here to continue reading

How the new tax bill hurt one of the greatest ways for Americans to slash taxes

Puerto Rico won’t repay any of its $72 billion of debt until 2022…

The US territory declared bankruptcy last May. A combination of a shrinking population, bloated pensions and a job crisis (in 2006, the US government repealed tax incentives that attracted manufacturers to the island) caused Puerto Rico to go broke.

Even in its fragile economic state, PR was planning on paying creditors $3.6 billion through 2022.

Then Hurricane Irma and[...] Click here to continue reading

Record number of Americans want MORE government in their lives

[Editor’s Note: As we’re coming up on the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to republish some of our most popular articles from 2017. Today’s was originally published on April 24]

In a poll conducted a few days ago by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, a record 57% of Americans responded that they want MORE government in their lives, and that the government should be doing more to solve[...] Click here to continue reading

The best tax incentive in the world

In a move almost destined to prove that laws and policies have absolutely zero meaning, the European Union released a list of “tax havens” last week… with a massive, giant, highly conspicuous omission.

The blacklist contains the names of the usual suspects-- Panama, United Arab Emirates, etc., along with a few additions like Mongolia and Marshall Islands.

But, again, conspicuously missing from this list is far and away the biggest tax haven in[...] Click here to continue reading

Taxes: here’s what’s going to stay the SAME

On October 3, 1913, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Underwood-Simmons Act into law, creating what would become the first modern US income tax.

The legislation (at least, the income tax portion) was only 16 pages and imposed a base tax rate of just 1%.

The highest tax rate was set at 7%-- and it only applied to individuals earning more than $500,000 per year, which is about $12.6 million today according to[...] Click here to continue reading

Update from Puerto Rico: People are running out of cash, ATMs aren’t working and groups of looters are posing as police

My friend Adam (not his real name) lives in Puerto Rico and sent me a startling update…

Adam and his family evacuated the island for the hurricane, but he’s been in close contact with his friends who stayed on the ground.

And the situation is bad.

According to his contacts on the ground, people in Puerto Rico are running out of cash. And ATMs aren’t working.

That’s[...] Click here to continue reading

Where there’s [almost] “blood in the streets” in America today…

In the spring of 1871 after a miserable defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Paris plunged into a major crisis as local citizens revolted against the government.

Financial markets went berserk as a result, and the prices of French government bonds plummeted.

There’s an old story that an heir to a large fortune came calling to the offices of the Rothschild banking family looking for investment advice.

According to accounts republished several[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s what happened when they raised taxes 2,000+ years ago

In 353 BC, as violent class warfare broke out across ancient Greece, one wealthy Athenian lamented in his journal,
When I was a boy, wealth was regarded as a thing so...admirable that almost everyone affected to own more property than he actually possessed. Now a man has to be ready to defend himself against being rich as if it were the worst of crimes.
Ancient Greece had become deeply divided at that point.

The[...] Click here to continue reading

Take advantage of this free insurance policy for your savings

This is the very first article I’m writing to you on the brand new Macbook Pro that I just purchased here in Hong Kong.

It’s the fully loaded version with 16GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD hard drive, and 3.5 GHz i7 processor.

Given that I actually run Linux on may laptop and barely do anything outside of word processing a bit of programming, the purchase was probably overkill. But I got[...] Click here to continue reading

Don’t hold your breath for any comprehensive tax reform. But here’s something you can do now

On October 22, 1986, the world was an entirely different place.

The Soviet Union still loomed, as did the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Most people had no idea how to use a computer, let alone even heard of the “Internet” (which at the time was still a military communications project.)

Hardly anyone had ever seen a cell phone. And with a $4,000 price tag, even fewer people owned one.

Microsoft stock[...] Click here to continue reading

How to cut your taxes no matter what your situation

On the plane ride back to Chile last night, I was sitting next to a particularly chatty woman who wanted to know my whole life story and what I was doing in Mexico.

I played along and explained to her that I had been on a cruise for the past week speaking at an investment conference.

“Oooooooh,” she said, and then inquired what I had been speaking about.

That’s when the conversation[...] Click here to continue reading

You can’t rely on Social Security. Do this instead

In the late in the 5th century BC, the government of ancient Rome came up with a new idea that has lasted for thousands of years.

I’m not talking about their roads, republican form of government, or water sanitation.

Their bold idea was to start paying retirement benefits to Roman soldiers.

This was a pretty big deal. In ancient times, you worked until you died. There was no such thing as retirement.
[...] Click here to continue reading

How I made an extra 15% by buying this stock on a foreign exchange

September 2, 2015
Vienna, Austria

Recently I wrote to you explaining why I’d just purchased shares of Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell is a giant in the oil industry that’s been in businesses for more than a century. And while I almost never buy stocks, they were practically giving this one away.

When I bought Shell, the shares were trading for less than the company’s net tangible asset value.

In other words,[...] Click here to continue reading

I believe we have a moral obligation to starve the beast.

On August 5, 1861, facing rapidly deteriorating economic conditions and a horrible defeat at Bull Run, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861 into law.

It was the first time in US history that the federal government would charge an income tax on its citizens. But Lincoln felt that it was vital to fund what would become one of the most unconscionably costly conflicts in US history.

The original law in[...] Click here to continue reading

US government was more forgiving of the Nazis than its own citizens

April 14, 2015
Santiago, Chile

70 years ago, the United States of America had just emerged from World War II as the most dominant superpower in the world.

At that point America’s economy was the only one left standing.

And the US government had essentially dictated terms in establishing a new global financial system (known as the Bretton Woods agreement).

Doing so thrust the dollar at the center of world trade[...] Click here to continue reading

Australia wants to tax bank deposits. Does anyone think the US won’t?

April 1, 2015
Santiago, Chile

Several months ago, the government of Australia proposed to tax bank deposits up to $250,000 at a rate of 0.05% (5 basis points).

Their idea was for the money to be invested in a rainy day Financial Stabilization Fund to insure against in the unlikely event of a banking crisis… or all-out collapse.

And as of this morning, it looks like the levy might just pass and[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how Shakespeare structured his assets to minimize taxes (brilliant!)

March 17, 2015
Santiago, Chile

William Shakespeare was definitely not one for following the rules.

The playwright was famed for the ways in which he bent the English language in unusual ways to create some of the most significant literary works to date.

It was part of his genius, really, in that he didn’t allow himself to be limited by things like syntax rules that others abided by.

And, it seems,[...] Click here to continue reading

Puerto Rico Act 20 & 22: Guide & Personal Experience

Puerto Rico Tax Incentives:
Ultimate Guide & My Personal Experience
With Act 20 & Act 22



When I wake up and see the ocean in front of me, I have to pinch myself.

Here I am, living in a beautiful place that’s part of the United States… yet I pay ZERO US federal income tax, only a 4% corporate tax for my businesses and ZERO capital[...] Click here to continue reading

Steve Jobs held billions of dollars offshore. Was he ‘unpatriotic’ ?

February 24, 2015

At the end of September 2011, just days before his passing, the company that Steve Jobs founded had a $25 billion cash hoard. Nearly half of this was stashed overseas.

What’s more, Apple was running billions in profit through multiple Irish subsidiaries, neither of which were taxable by the US government.

Steve Jobs departed this life owning 5.5 million shares of Apple (and another 138 million shares of[...] Click here to continue reading

Surreal: IRS apologizes for seizing bank accounts

February 12, 2015
Puerto Varas, Chile

Twenty-seven years ago at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, George H. W. Bush accepted his party's nomination to run for President of the United States.

(This was when he announced Dan Quayle as his running mate, to which Senator John McCain later remarked "I can't believe a guy that handsome wouldn't have some impact.")

In his acceptance speech, the elder Bush famously told[...] Click here to continue reading

How you can avoid dying as property of the state

January 30, 2015
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

The Japanese are known for being great savers and for prioritizing family ties. So it’s particularly important for them to make sure that their savings get passed along to their children.

It’s part of human nature to want to pass along our knowledge and our wealth to our offspring so that they can have better lives.

Sadly for Japanese citizens, their government is a miserable[...] Click here to continue reading

Say goodbye to the nation state, this is how the new system will look

December 9, 2014
Santiago, Chile

In the moment after the musicians finished their last song, the silence was broken by the faint tune of someone singing “Mu isamaa on minu arm”.

The singers on stage quickly looked at each other nervously, but seeing strength in each other’s eyes they began to join in.

The year was 1969, and the Soviet leadership that held control over Estonia had banned this patriotic song. Singing[...] Click here to continue reading

This guy’s got some serious tax problems

November 26, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

I can't say I've known too many guys in my life named 'Boris' who were shy about standing up for themselves.

The name itself means 'wolf' in an extinct Turkic language.

And if the current mayor of London Boris Johnson is going go to toe to toe with the IRS as he has stated, I certainly hope the translation is accurate.

Mayor Johnson is[...] Click here to continue reading

Americans: This is how free you really are.

April 15, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

Among all the great stories and conversations passed down from the ages, probably my favorite is one from the ancient historian Lucius Cassius Dio about Roman emperor Caracalla.

Caracalla ruled in the second century AD, and he was notorious for bankrupting the Roman treasury and waging costly, unnecessary wars.

Dio tells us that Caracalla made "one excuse after another and one war after another;[...] Click here to continue reading

If it’s such a privilege, why do they have to stick a gun in your face?

April 12, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Two. Billion. Hours.

That's how much time people in the Land of the Free waste each year preparing and filing their tax forms to the IRS-- roughly 13 hours for each of the ~150 million individual returns filed.

And if you're doing your own taxes this weekend, it may certainly seem like you've spent that 2 billion hours yourself just preparing your 1040.

To put[...] Click here to continue reading