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Since the '80s the US has been the largest tax and regulatory haven for non-resident foreign nationals in the world. Here's information on the USA in general & the States of Delaware, Florida, Nevada & Wyoming that have Features that can be Useful for Tax Reduction, Asset Protection, Investment, Banking and a Wide Range of Other Tactics & Strategies.
Starting in the early 1980s the United States was made into the largest tax and regulatory haven in the world for foreign nationals not resident in the US. Today a foreigner can buy the newly issued Reg. S stock of a US company at a discount because the company does not have to register those shares with the Securities Exchange Commission. Foreigners can sell those shares back into the US forty days later without paying any tax on the trading profits to the US government. They can open bank accounts or buy the debt instruments of government and private borrowers and earn interest in the US tax free.
This was done pursuant to a deliberate national policy change in the early l980s. At that time many of America's top financial institutions were technically bankrupt. The combination of uncollectible bank loans to the third world and a 20%+ prime rate had put billion dollar holes in the balance sheets of banks and insurance companies. The solution was simple and effective - drop taxes on international capital and watch the money flow back into America's financial institutions.
This policy change has been wildly successful, pulling in trillions of dollars of capital into the US economy. It's not surprising therefore to see that Delaware, Wyoming and a number of other states, using the Limited Liability Company ("LLC") - a form of business entity generally requiring less legal formalities than do corporations and that has members rather than shareholders - have received sanction as international tax avoidance structures.
The US has numerous tax treaties and, like many nations, complicated, ever-changing tax laws administered by an often confused or irrational tax bureaucracy. If more than $10.000 is taken into or out of the US, outside of normal banking channels, a report must be filed with the customs authorities.
However, the combination of double taxation treaties and fact that foreign tax authorities do not generally consider the US a tax haven can, in the right circumstances and with good tax planning, result in a very good overall situation.
Delaware is home to half of the New York and American Stock Exchange listed companies because of its business friendly environment, including its well-developed, unique business related judicial system.
Delaware has among the lowest costs and least disclosure requirements of any of the 50 states. Companies can be registered within 48 hours and shelf companies are available. Corporation names must end with the word "Limited", "Corporation" "Incorporated" or abbreviations of such words, and are subject to a minimum annual tax of $50 (if they have minimum capital).
Although there is no state income tax, as with all states no matter their particular tax laws, all US companies (or any entity for that matter) are subject to applicable federal tax laws & reporting requirements. Companies must have a Delaware Registered Office and director, a secretary and at least one director. The director can be a corporation, meetings can be held anywhere, the public file need only contain the name of the company, incorporation number, date of incorporation and details of registered agent, and no records of the company's business need be kept in Delaware.
Delaware LLCs pay a $100 annual tax and are otherwise tax free if no business activity is carried on in the US, most of its members are not US citizens or residents and it does not invest in US companies.
Florida has been the national pacesetter in the number of new business incorporations, leading the nation. Its tax system, from a business perspective, is among the most advantageous in the US. Tourism, generating more than $34 billion in taxable spending in 1996, has an important impact on its tax structure. The state has 13 foreign trade zones to meet the needs of firms involved in import/export activities.
Florida has one of the nation's most extensive banking communities, ranking fourth among states in terms of assets and is home to 99 international banks, 74 of which are state-licensed foreign banks. It's the nation's 4th largest state in terms of population with more than 14 million people (projected to grow to nearly 18 million by the year 2010). With 10 state-run universities, 156 private colleges and universities, 28 community colleges, it has the highest average education level in the Southeast US.
Taxes and Finance
Florida taxes are moderate with the structure and administration of its tax system best shown by what is not taxed:
No personal income tax
No inventory tax
No corporate franchise tax on capital stock
No state-level ad valorem taxes
No ad valorem taxes on goods-in-transit
No sales tax on food, medicine, or most services
No tax on foreign source dividends, as defined by federal law
Nevada, widely known as the gambling capital of the world, has the fastest population growth of any US state, yet only a few miles from Las Vegas you'll find yourself in the wide open spaces of the "Old West" with its laissez faire attitude that, in many ways, still prevails. With the gaming industry and resulting tourism providing a major share of state tax revenue, along with its business friendly statutes and elected officials, Nevada provides businesses, especially smaller ones, what some consider to be the most advantageous economic, tax and legal environment in the US.
Along with having most of the benefits of Delaware, Florida & Wyoming, Nevada has no personal OR corporate income tax, is located in the booming western US (next to California & Arizona), and is the ONLY state to reject all information sharing agreements with the US' federal tax agency - the IRS.
Wyoming was the leading US state in recognizing and permitting formation and registration of the Limited Liability Company (LLC). A Wyoming LLC pays a $120 annual tax / filing fee and -- if no business activity is carried on in the US, most of its members are not US citizens or residents and it does not invest in US companies -- is otherwise tax free.
This document was excerpted, modified & otherwise prepared by the 'Lectric Law Library ('LLL) from materials supplied by Baltic Banking Group - www.BalticBankingGroup.com Copyright 1998 - 2002 'LLL & BBG, all rights reserved.