Today I confessed my sins to Uncle Sam.
No, I’m not talking about anything sinister. But in a mad dash through a US stopover today, I dropped US Treasury form TDF-90 in the mail: “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.”
It went something like this:
“Forgive me uncle for I have sinned. May last confession was April 15th. Here is all the information on my foreign bank accounts, including those for which I only have signature authority. I am confessing this intensely private information despite the fact that I have no financial interest whatsoever in said account, and the account holder does not even fall under your jurisdiction. I understand that being party to financial accounts outside of the United States must be inherently evil, and I look forward to giving you more of my money next year.”
This form is required by the US government for all persons that have a financial interest or signature authority in any foreign financial account– banking, brokerage, etc. In my case, I listed all the relevant information for a Panamanian bank account– I am very confident banking there as my research from this trip indicates strong liquidity levels and tight loan standards devoid of significant exposure to US agency debt. I am required to submit this form by June 30th.
Our Uncle certainly has a way of keeping tabs on us: disclose or go to jail. It’s an unfortunate no-brainer, and if you have similar accounts you need to do the same… the alternative is simply not worth the risk, though I understand that sometimes they allow conjugal visits at minimum-security federal prison camps.
I’m using particularly strong language today to illustrate a clear point: there are right ways to go offshore and wrong ways… and dodging legal obligations is like playing Russian Roulette. It really hurts one out six times.
Simply put, Uncle Sam wants our money… and I say ‘our’ because, chances are, if you’re reading this missive, you fall in the unfortunate category of people who are actually productive and whose tax dollars pay for everyone else’s stimulus. I’m convinced this tax burden is going to increase, and they are going after every penny to which they feel entitled (in their sole discretion of course).
Offshore structuring makes a lot of sense: there are much safer places for your assets than a dollar-based US bank account where your wealth can be inflated away, frozen, stolen, or sued. And as I am sitting here in the business lounge at JFK Airport going through subscriber emails as fast as I can, I see many of the same questions.
Many of you are asking for specific contacts for banks, brokerages, lawyers, etc. I am working on the right framework to help you… but I need to be clear about something.
I have spent several years and tens of thousands of dollars traveling around the world and building up contacts. I know who is good because I do/have done business with them, and I know who is bad because I have been swindled by some of them and lost money. My trusted contacts are trusted for a reason, and I would be betraying that trust if I just published their contact information all over the internet.
Bear with me while I work on a few ways to share the right information with some of you.