Important information about capital controls

April 19, 2010
Quito, Ecuador

I don’t have to tell you that world governments are collectively pushing hard against people who abusively hide money overseas.

Governments’ primary motivation at the moment is to make sure that no one is evading their tax obligations; for now, they don’t care much if you pay taxes on your income, and then transfer after-tax earnings overseas.

In a way, though, their offshore crackdowns have become a self-fulfilling prophecy that is creating its own demand.

People who understand what’s going on are now more motivated than ever to take action using legitimate and available tools– proper use of international business structures, offshore bank accounts, foreign real estate, second passports, etc.

Why? Because they don’t want to get caught with their pants down when the window of opportunity closes.

Someday, and likely soon, cash-starved governments will implement whatever measures are necessary to trap capital within an economy, enslaving people to taxation, regulation, and inflation.

These are called capital controls, and I think that they’re an absolutely certain part of our future… though ‘future’ is the operative word. There has been a lot of insidious legislation passed around the world recently, but none so far has been capital controls, at least in developed countries.

A few weeks ago, blogger after blogger set off a wave of panic across the Internet by announcing that capital controls had, in fact, been implemented in the US. They were erroneously interpreting a new law called the HIRE Act, claiming that certain provisions were tantamount to capital controls.

This interpretation was simply wrong.

Frankly, I’m pleased that so many websites are now paying close attention to expatriation issues. It seems like every time I turn around, someone is sending me an article from a new website that is doling out advice on internationalization.

I think this is fantastic, and indicative of a growing concern around the world. The problem is that most of them are armchair expats handing out monkey see, monkey do information from Google or Wikipedia that is totally inaccurate.

Misinformation can cause panic and even direct financial loss… this is why you want to be careful about your advisers and go straight to the source.

For example, if you want information about international taxation, talk to an international tax attorney, not Wikipedia. If you want to know about expatriation, talk to people who have successfully done it, not the armchair expat who watches CNN International.

This is one of the chief reasons why we are in the process of redesigning our website; it will allow subscribers to connect with each other in order to swap stories and advice based on their own personal experiences. More on that later.

Today, though, I really wanted to set the record straight about the HIRE Act. On March 30th I initially responded to the misinformation about capital controls; in that missive, I promised that I would soon conduct an interview with an international tax law expert to shed more light on the subject.

Today is that day… and if you’re interested in objective truth about capital controls without all the ‘Chicken Little’ sensationalism, I highly encourage you to check out this interview with Mark Nestmann.

In the interview, we’ll discuss:

– What are capital controls and why the HIRE Act doesn’t qualify
– What capital controls will look like when they’re implemented
– Warning signs to watch out for in the future
– What you can do today to protect your savings
– Options for opening a foreign bank account

Mark Nestmann is an uncontested expatriation expert. As a trained international tax lawyer, Mark has been in the industry for two decades and authored many books on the subject.

One of them, the Lifeboat Strategy, is a really comprehensive, actionable guide to expatriation.  If you’re wondering how to develop a legitimate strategy for going offshore, you should absolutely start with his book.

(as an aside, Mark is putting the finishing touches on a new update to the book which he will list at a much higher price. Anyone who purchases the Lifeboat Strategy today at the lower price will be automatically sent the updated version at no charge.)

I hope you enjoy the interview.