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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Not the Immigrant of the Day - Eduardo Saverin

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Well, I guess the money is worth the bar on returning to the US. In case you haven't been watching the news, Facebook founder Eduardo Saverin, a Brazilian born, naturalized US citizen has renounced his citizenship, just in time to avoid taxes on the fortune about to land in his lap from the company's initial public offering. Talking Points Memo interviews a few friends of mine - Crystal Williams and Adam Green - who explain that renouncing your citizenship to avoid taxes comes with a heavy price tag - loss of one's ability to reenter the US. I guess he'll be able to afford to have everyone he wants to see flown to him.

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Comments

  1. gg's Avatar
    Round 1:
    Instead of the US immigration system screwing around with the immigrant. we see for a change an immigration screwing around with the immigration system.

    Round 2:
    Senators Unveil 'Ex-Patriot Act' to screw all expats ...

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/senators-to-unveil-the-ex-patriot-act-to-respond-to-facebooks-saverins-tax-scheme/
  2. George Chell's Avatar
    This is the biggest problem I have with giving GCs as proposed by Cornyn...will they keep their citizenship after they collect their loot...Many leave the country but keep their citizenship, but the rich ones will just flee egged on by folks like the Koch brothers and the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands. Wonder why Koch brothers want to stay in the US. Why dont they just pack up and leave and renounce their citizenship if they dont like it here?
  3. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Given that the US is THE ONLY country that requires its citizens to pay US taxes when they don't reside in the US, this is not surprising.
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    gg:

    Good luck getting that past the no taxes under any circumstances Tea Party House. Instead it will be useful of Schumer joined Cornyn in legislating sensible skilled immigration reform. The only thing I can see good is that all the legislation has been pro-skilled immigration unlike the UK or for that matter even Australia which does help the US economy in the relative sense.
  5. Paul Wilson's Avatar
    I'm sure they'll readmit him the next time he shows up with some new investment plan or idea that's bound to bring lots of money and jobs to the US. Unless they want the next Facebook to be created in Brazil or Singapore...
  6. Joshua Stein's Avatar
    "...renouncing your citizenship to avoid taxes comes with a heavy price tag - loss of one's ability to reenter the US. I guess he'll be able to afford to have everyone he wants to see flown to him."

    Laws can be easily changed, so that assessment is relative a this point...interestingly enough, many natural born US citizens are following the same path as Eduardo Saverin, and such trend may increase exponentially if economic conditions keep deteriorating (which is certainly an indisputable fact).
  7. Backlogged's Avatar
    One individual (although a high profile with Facebook IPO behind him) finds way to legally not pay his tax by renouncing his citizenship, that grabs the headlines more than corporations just skipping taxes like GE to the tune of many multiples than Mr.Saverin did. I guess senators are jealous they arent able to take their lobbying funds and other questionable income like him. But it certainly provides a good reason for perm residents delaying getting their citizenship or questioning whether they really want to be US citizens given the animosity or callousness towards immigrants in general and the congress and president just fighting back and forth with just talks and no action to back them up.
  8. gg's Avatar
    Greg, just curious to know why you named this guy as "Not the immigrant of the Day". He has not done anything that so called fortune 100 companies are not doing to avoid taxes. What about the positive side of his story ? Creation of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth for the US.
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    "He has not done anything that so called fortune 100 companies are not doing to avoid taxes."

    We call those folks Not Citizens of the Day.
  10. JoeF's Avatar
    The Eagles song "Hotel California" comes to mind:
    "You can checkout, but you can never leave"...

    The capital gains tax doesn't look like all that much (relatively speaking), so his claim that it is coincidental makes some sense. And given that the US is pretty unique in taxing worldwide income of its citizens, and he now lives abroad, it is understandable that he may not want to pay US taxes on his outside income.
  11. Greg's Avatar
    GG - Just because big companies are doing the same thing doesn't mean it's morally justifiable. I'm sure most tax evaders can come up with some kind of justification for their actions whether it's claiming government is not entitled to the money or they don't deserve to be taxed when they're job creators. I don't think I should get a pass on paying taxes just because I've created jobs for people. It's part of the social contract of being an American citizen. Let him skip out on paying taxes for the next company he creates in another country.
  12. Jack's Avatar
    Related article:

    You can't deny Eduardo Saverin a visa for being a jerk
    The outrage directed at Facebook's co-founder has led some to demand that Uncle Sam deny him a U.S. visa. Good luck with that.


    by Charles Cooper |May 17, 2012 4:37 PM PDT

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57436753-93/you-cant-deny-eduardo-saverin-a-visa-for-being-a-jerk/
  13. AJ's Avatar
    National citizenship is a fascist concept, so it is fitting a social network founder would ditch it just to prove a point. I'm surprised the other founders aren't following suit.
  14. gg's Avatar
    " Just because big companies are doing the same thing doesn't mean it's morally justifiable. I'm sure most tax evaders can come up with some kind of justification for their actions whether it's claiming government is not entitled to the money or they don't deserve to be taxed when they're job creators. I don't think I should get a pass on paying taxes just because I've created jobs for people. It's part of the social contract of being an American citizen. Let him skip out on paying taxes for the next company he creates in another country "

    Greg, this issue is more complicated that "social contract". In the US everyone is expected to be part of the "social contract" including non-immigrants. However this seems to be a one-way street in most cases. If a non-immigrants falls out of luck and lands before an immigration judge, its not "social contract" that decides his case but rules in the books. A non-immigrant gets ready to be "hauled up" by DHS the moment he loses his legal status in this country irrespective to his adherence to social contract.

    However I feel the outrage is more at the wealth transfer outside US than the "social contract". And I really don't understand this outrage because developed countries take in more money from developing countries than vice-versa. In a recently concluded research it has been determined that illegal capital flight costs developing countries over 1 trillion US dollars yearly and this wealth finally into the economies of developed countries. As to who actually benefits is anyones guess.

    http://www.gfintegrity.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,80/

    Top 10 countries with the highest measured cumulative illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009 were:

    China: $2.74 trillion
    Mexico: $504 billion
    Russia: $501 billon
    Saudi Arabia: $380 billion
    Malaysia: $350 billion
    United Arab Emirates: $296 billion
    Kuwait: $271 billion
    Nigeria: $182 billion
    Venezuela: $179 billion
    Qatar: $130 billion


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