multinationals crossing the pond globally mobile people



Every Border Crossing Has Consequences


The Complicated Life Styles of Multinationals Crossing the Pond




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Imagine being born then living your whole life in one little town, the town where your parents, grandparents, and further back generations also lived, never leaving except to go on vacation or shopping; having only one citizenship; speaking only one language; using only one money currency; investing in only one country's banks; working for only local employers; purchasing only one type of insurance; retiring and executing wills and estate plans for only one state and country.


Now imagine a family with multiples of everything listed above, both domestic and foreign. Meet your globally mobile family.


The internationally mobile lifestyle goal for global families is easy in theory, not so easy to accomplish in practice. Pondstraddlers* have multiple complex financial, immigration, tax and personal planning issues that the rest of us cannot begin to understand.

Complex, costly international country immigration and taxation compliance conditions have become commonplace in surprising, inadvertent situations that could not have been conceived of in the past. There are more electronic gates to navigate while formalized barriers to entry are sometimes insurmountable when protection and securitization of country borders is enhanced.


Multinational entities impacted by the plethora of new tax and immigration government initiatives, have sophisticated business-planning mechanisms to harmonize additional complex effects. However, tax planning for burdensome U.S. tax compliance programs, in particular, has not been anywhere near as facile and smooth for those ordinary individuals who reside permanently outside the United States along with their Multinational families (MNFs).


The contrast is dire.


Many U.S. citizens resident overseas have had their lives permanently and negatively affected. They have had no choice but to absorb the greatest impact while having the least access in redress resources given that there is no specific U.S. delegate representation in Congress or the U.S. Senate as is available to every U.S. citizen living (in a state of the Union) domestically in the United States. U.S. citizens residing permanently overseas have become the “new” ugly Americans. Their needs appear to have been completely forgotten in the incessant quest for controlling tax regulation on the competitive spread of transglobal business by governmental authorities, politicians, and the public.


Foreign banks and investment firms under the U.S. FATCA agreements and some U.S. banks (on the interpretive directive of the U.S. Patriot Act) are routinely closing US / foreign accounts, denying or calling mortgages, investment accounts, insurance policies, and pensions, thereby presenting major deterrents to individuals and their families for a normal financial life. Indeed, their personal situations have become so fraught with uncertainty, stress, emotional, and financial isolation that consideration of expatriation from the United States has become a serious component of their cross-border financial planning dialogue. In his International Tax Blog, Atty Andrew MItchel reports the highest number of expatriations ever for the third quarter September 2015.


Global citizens with other country connections are not, and will not, be exempt from increased immigration, tax compliance, legal, and new governmental regulations given the global initiatives promulgated by many of the G20 countries along with the OCED Common Reporting Standards, the BEPS initiatives and the inception of Automatic Information Exchange - all efforts to introduce greater tax parity between nations and fulfillment of country coffers.


The cross border financial planning process is inexorably linked to the financial success of international citizens and their multinational families.


Currently, too, there is no standard set of processes and components formally defined for cross border (international) financial planning: it is a new fluctuating field on the frontier of innovative financial planning disciplines.


Cross border planning for globally mobile citizens means understanding the international parameters juxtaposed alongside the generic financial planning process. Generally in the basic domestic planning process there are a set of six integrated steps through to plan implementation, encompassing seven important components of an individual’s personal financial profile: The “financial planning subject areas” typically include, but are not limited to: financial statement preparation and analysis (including cash flow analysis/planning and budgeting), insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.


Cross border (or international) financial planning is much more: in jurisdictional depth, regulatory and financial complexity, associated costs (both from proactively planning or failure to plan), articulated planning, and implementation. Simplistically, every one of the planning components defined for a domestic citizen’s (i.e. US / UK / Bermuda) financial plan must be viewed in a doubled, tripled – or more topical context in order to fully frame the multinational’s profile while encompassing the broad multi-jurisdictional overlay on the client’s basic composite financial information. There also are a number of specific additional topics that are integral to the cross border planning process that are not, generally, needed in a generic financial planning context.


The sheer complexity and breadth of data demands that cross border financial planning practitioners use innovation, deduction, analysis, in-tuition, consistent knowledge upgrades relative to international taxation, immigration, tax treaties with various country domestic tax regimes, and plain determined research on a domestic and international level in order to appropriately manage all areas of potential client planning risks.


The mulitple topics listed below are not inclusive. Each of these data points will demand a refined elegant compilation of linked underlying material resources, an analysis of conflicting data, a set of alternative strategies, along with (almost mandatory) collaboration and cooperation between internationally experienced legal and financial professionals for the international family to achieve financial planning success.




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Bermuda Residents - the Real Perennial Pondstraddlers* and their Cross Border Financial Planning



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Read background articles on

- understanding residency & domicile

- multinational relationship parity

- international investment issues

- the financial challenges of managing a pondstraddling life

- retirement relocation decisions

- estate legacy complexities.


Coming soon.


Citizens, from every country,

have embraced global mobility: crossing borders (and ponds) for employment, military service, retirement, education, relationships, and investments. The OECD in their Migratory Outlook 2015 reports significantly increased migration patterns than ten years ago.

During these migratory processes, new multi-national relationships in multiple jurisdictions develop while family generations and traditions are still nurtured at home. A family may appear to be purely one country domestically situated, say in Bermuda. However, the reality may be that the family generational structure has changed significantly and now has international relatives, assets, and business interests that will need complex tax, immigration, and financial planning.

The Cross Border Directional Compass Data Checklist (part of the Cross Border Compass Financial Planning Procedural Process developed by Martha Harris Myron gathers a vast array of complex multinational, multi-jurisdictional personal information that is distilled into a measurable, analytical globalized process that provides focused guidance for internationally mobile people challenged in managing their financial lives.


The list below provides general outlines of the many and varied complex information required and issues that can affect pondstraddlers' financial life planning.


Warning! Cautious due diligence is required, however, to discover “dormant” international connections in what appears to be a ordinary domestic country family. This general overview list is not inclusive or comprehensive; it is well to remember that there can be information surprises.


1. Immigration and Customs. Concepts of residency, domicile and citizenship. Pre-immigration /inbound regulations, planning and structures. Customs and Immigration authorities – visas, foreign investor regulations, right of abode and ability to conduct trade and business. National Jurisdiction Codes and Regulations for Border Crossings. Repatriation/Expatriation considerations for physical and electronic inbound and outbound planning.


2. Residency, Domicile and Citizenship.  Residency is a critical component of global mobility planning because where you are ordinarily resident is where you are subject to taxation. Residency (and citizenship) means many things to many people. Open to interpretation and ambiguity, residency combined with U.S. citizenship presents an upward scale of complex tax compliance rules, often to more than one country. Being resident (or non-resident) in a country is defined most frequently by days of residence, generally 183 days or longer. Residency may also be defined by a facts and circumstances test. We reference the OECD Model Treaty Convention, Article 4 on residency, the US Internal Revenue Service definition of residency, the US Homeland Security Customs and Immigration Service regulations on border crossings, Bermuda resident regulations under Bermuda laws, and other country’s residency rules, depending upon the provenance of the client and family.

3. Country Connections and Familial Relationships: Social, Emotional, Cultural and Physical Ties to Two or more countries. Impact of local and foreign economies on goals, family values, and other related areas that are involved in transitory lifestyles.


4. Economic Positions and Outlook for more than one jurisdiction. Impact of local and foreign economies on all facets of financial plan and other related areas that are involved in crossing borders and resettlement, i.e. inflation, work prospects &, redundancies, security and economic stability of jurisdiction, business governance and government regulatory structures, sovereign credit ratings, foreign trade agreements, real estate and business investment under the United States FIRPTA rules, legal, tax, property acquisitions, political and cultural considerations, freedom of press, individual rights, and transparency agencies in combating corruption.


5. Trade and Business. Multi-jurisdictional capital business structures, related party participation, issues relative to differences in tax regimes, business equity ownership, law constraints and regulatory structures, local ordinances, community property rules, Bermuda business ownership structure under the 60/40 rule, cultural trade differences, choice of entity classifications, i.e. controlled foreign corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, hybrid strategies, debt financing and fund sourcing, security transactions and jurisdictional tax regime planning.

6. Investments. Appropriate investment planning for cross border lifestyles including cash management, foreign currency, allocations, and tax efficient portfolios, foreign currency risks, re-adjustments of composite holdings to reflect multi-jurisdictional constraints, report of foreign accounts, financial interests and assets, passive foreign investment company rules, withholding taxes, capital gains / losses treatments.

7. Insurance and Risk Management. Risk management and insurance issues in multiple jurisdictions, health, life, property & casualty, regulatory oversight, perils, coverage limitations, exclusions, ability to transfer to more than one jurisdiction, tax treatment and structures of annuity products, viatical settlements.


8. International and Domestic Tax Compliance. Multinational families, dual citizens, foreign nationals subject to income tax, estate / state tax thresholds and compliance, current regulations from US Internal Revenue Service, other jurisdictions’ tax and governmental agency regimes, US federal income, estate, gift, and transfer regulations, United States state income, estate, gift, and transfer regulations, Anti-Money Laundering regulation, FATCA, multiple reporting requirements, tax treaties, unilateral, multilateral and effect on residency rules, conflicts of tax laws.

9. Retirement and Pensions. Government regulations / tax imputations for pension distributions where two pensions may mean none from either, retirement affordability issues, changes in lifestyles and culture issues, taxation of US domestic qualified plans and foreign account pensions, longevity research data, tax treaty and Totalization agreements, claim to various jurisdiction pensions, ability to implement a pension plan overseas and procure full pension settlements.


10. Estate Planning: Family legacy issues, forced heirship rules, foreign and US wills, non recognition of US or foreign trusts as separate entities by other countries, foreign trust reporting requirements for grantors, beneficiaries, guarantor, debt financiers, and protector issues, distribution issues, use of trusts with holding companies, and investments, forced use of foreign trusts, estate planning for more than one jurisdiction and more than one citizenship. The challenge for trustees / cross border planners in achieving economic and emotional parity between members of multi-national families in multiple jurisdictions.

11. Traps and Regulatory Quagmires. Conflicts of Laws, and Inadvertent Planning Traps. Coping with common assumptions and traps in cross border planning, reporting, financial and tax compliance, common versus civil law, accounting rules, treaties, culture, linguistics, and others demonstrate only too often the absolute necssiity or working with internationally experienced qualified professionals in law, accounting, auditing, tax, risk management, investments, retirement, trusts and legacy regulatory structures in more than one country.


Source: To Disregard or Not, That is the Question?

The Unequal Business Path to Global Mobility. Comparing and Contrasting the International Business Expansion Decision Making Process, Including the Use of Disregarded Entities Between A Domestic United States Corporation with Contemplated Foreign Operations And A Dual-Citizen (of United States/Bermuda) Permanently Resident Abroad and the Principal Owner of a Foreign Business.

Thesis by Martha Harris Myron, CPA PFS JSM: Masters of Law in International Taxation and Financial Services.


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