Disturbed and offended. That’s what a few folks were after reading an IL article I recently wrote about the Pacific Ocean tax haven known as the Cook Islands.
Reader D.C. told me to “go to H***” and accused me of advocating “…wealth protection so the rest of us have to pay so you can keep all of yours…”
J.E.B. said I was wrongfully telling “…people how to run away” from America.
P.K. said Americans “pay for our freedom in the form of taxes” and telling folks “how to hide their assets” is wrong.
Well, as a conservative I oppose confiscatory high taxes and the Big Brother government we are forced to finance. As a U.S. citizen I pay what I consider to be more than what President Obama calls my “fair share” and the propriety of hiding assets depends on from whom you are hiding them.
As a lawyer for many decades now, I know how important it is to read and understand what you read. I also know from experience that Americans have been bombarded for years by class warfare politicians attacking wealthy people as if success in life was a crime.
A large part of this propaganda has centered on offshore financial centers (“tax havens”) wrongfully portrayed as being used mainly for tax evasion. They are not.
Based on my personal knowledge I sighted the Cook Islands as an offshore jurisdiction where experienced professionals provide honest banking, trusts, and asset protection, plus maximum financial privacy no longer available in the U.S. because of the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act.
There are many others such as Panama, Belize, Uruguay, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Hong Kong, to name a few. For those who live there, even the U.S. Virgin Islands qualifies as America’s own tax haven.
The Cook Islands government is fully in tune with international tax standards. In 2009, along with almost every offshore financial center in the world, the CI government agreed to apply Article 26 of the model bank code of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which allows discretionary tax information sharing among governments.
The CI confidentiality laws prohibit the disclosure of existing trust and banking relationships except with the consent of the client. This means that no creditor or foreign government can gain access to bank or trust information except in cases of tax evasion, criminal money laundering or averting the financing of terrorism. These laws do prohibit information “fishing expeditions” by foreign tax authorities.
Unlike most other countries with territorial tax systems that do not tax their citizens when they live elsewhere, the U.S. taxes all U.S. persons no matter where they live or do business. I have always advocated complying with all IRS reporting and taxes and my writings explain how to do so.
I certainly do not advocate hiding assets about which the IRS has a right to know for tax purposes, but I do support paying no more taxes than owed. Unfortunately, in a lawsuit crazy country such as the U.S., locating assets offshore is a sensible protective measure that even persons of modest wealth should consider.
Editor’s note: Bob’s full account of the Cook Islands is a chapter in a new report called Escape Plan 2012: Safe Haven Strategies to Reduce Your Taxes, Preserve Your Privacy, and Reclaim Your Freedom Overseas. If that sounds like something you could use, learn more about it right here.