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FAQ

What is the best strategy for American/European citizens (double citizenship) that want to minimize their taxes. Where is it better to establish residency and where and how to incorporate? All countries/states considered.
I can talk personally about HK.For the US part, the US will tax you on world-wide income, and there are some really nasty forms that I'm grumbling about because I'm in the process of filling out now (FinCEN Form 114).  The good news is that if you live outside of the US, there are a lot of deductions and exclusions.  The bad news is that you will need an accountant.  My first year in HK, my US tax return was 100 pages, even though the tax amount turned out to be low.  Much of it was going through the exclusions and justifying that you can claim them.You do not want to incorporate for tax purposes.  There are some very, very nasty tax landmines if you create a shell corporation (controlled foreign corporation rules, passive foreign investment corporation rules, personal service corporations rules), and the worst part of it is that you don't save much money.  According to my accountant, the fun part about the rules is that *no one* can get them correct.  You will *always* make a mistake which gives the IRS a reason to audit you.You may want to incorporate for business purposes, because my company is a "real business" with active business income, I'm avoiding the landmines.European countries generally do not tax on non-resident income.One nasty thing is that if you are a taxed by X, but live in Y, you may have to come up with some special situations that is not covered by a form.  For example, the US tax year is 1/1 to 1/1, but HK's tax year is 4/1 to 4/1.  So I've ended up with many pages where I have to split up income.
How do Canadians working in the US on TN-1 visas do their taxes?
I had an accounting firm which specializes in these things do my taxes because I didn't understand it at all. At the end of it all, they assured me I owed no taxes to anyone, especially the US. I had to take their word for it.I worked for my own company, which payed me nothing in salary. Apparently I was working for free. I was subcontracting for a consulting company which paid my company a substantial amount of money for my services, The US client paid the consulting company, which took a fee for their services, and paid the rest to my company, which of course gave none of it to me. The consulting company insisted I incorporate to put some distance between me and the client and ensure that I was not deemed to be an employee, because that has legal repercussions in terms of benefits and taxes.Because I was paying my own benefits, rather than the client company, I just took the amount of money I wanted to make, doubled it, and sent my bill to the consulting company. Since benefits typically account for 20% of total remuneration, this worked out pretty well. I even had my own health plan. I took all my medical receipts and sent them to a company which specializes in this, they added 10%, and sent my company an invoice for that amount in insurance premiums. And then my company deducted it from taxes.My brother was President of my company to ensure that it was a genuine Canadian company in case I worked in the US for too long. I was just the Vice President. My brother was a President of 6 companies and a Vice President of 12 others so he knew how the system worked. He suggested the corporation hold its annual general meeting on a yacht in the Carribean, and expense it all, although we didn't act on that idea. I owned two houses at the time, so I deemed the largest room in each house to be my office, deducted them from taxes, and then deducted travelling costs between the two houses. The accountants assured me this was perfectly legitimate.Eventually the client company decided I was costing too much money as a consultant, so they hired me as a full time employee. I worked for a year and then they laid me off, which cost them 3 months severance pay, which I rolled into my RRSP. However I had built up some RRSP space in that time, and my company had substantial cash reserves as a result of not paying me, so I declared a dividend and rolled that into my RRSP too. I was going to take a few months off, but I floated my resume past the client’s competition and they immediately called me up and offered me a contract, and I was back in the game again.Wash, rinse, repeat. Just pretend you are laundering money and you will be the bank’s best friend. Everybody bends over backwards to make it easy.At the end of it all, somehow all the money ended up in my RRSP and I owed nothing in taxes to any government. Consulting, you can't beat it if you are creative enough and have a good tax accountant.The TN visa was dead simple, too. All I had to do was show up at the airport with a copy of my computer science degree and a signed contract from the client, they stamped my passport, and I was off to the US. They knew I was just a Canadian computer expert going there for a good time, not a long time, so there were no problems.
What are ways to minimize my US tax liabilities on foreign accounts, which need to be reported via FinCEN Form 114?
US citizens or those treated like US citizens (resident aliens, green card holders, etc.) are taxed on their worldwide income.  That is the fundamental rule of US taxation.  The US tax code only allows capital losses of $3,000 to offset other categories of income.  That applies to anyone filing a US return.To prevent double taxation, those paying foreign taxes are entitled to a foreign tax credit against any US income tax.FinCen Form 114 must be filed to report foreign assets.  It does not trigger taxes.  However, failure to file this form can result in some heavy penalties.You should really sit down with an experienced tax attorney or CPA to get specific answers to your concerns.
Can I leave the money in a Hong Kong account and use a debit card, etc in the US, or when do I have to pay taxes on money I make in Hong Kong?
First of all, you will have to report this information correctly.  You will have to declare any foreign accounts, and the Hong Kong government has just signed a tax agreement with the US, so you should assume that any accounts that you have in Hong Kong are known to IRS.Also google for "IRS form 8938" and "FINCEN Form 114".There are some very tricky rules  here, and you will need a tax professional, but the bottom line is that  in the end you will have to pay US income taxes.  There are some very complex and messy rules, but in the end the purpose of those complex rules is to make sure that you pay US taxes.  If you are a US resident then you will definitely have to pay US tax on money that you move from Hong Kong to the US.  This is US income and is taxable.  However, because this is income, you can deduct this as an expense from your HK corporation and not pay HK tax on it.This assumes that this is an actual HK business.  To simplify things greatly (and again you need to see a tax professional), if this is a real HK business with income in HK, then you will not have to pay US income tax until the income gets transferred to the US.  You pay HK profits tax on the HK profits, but the moment it gets transferred to the US, you pay US taxes.  This gets tricky because you want to avoid double taxation, so in this situation you really *want* to pay US taxes.If the HK company is a shell company, then you are subject to controlled foreign corporation rules, and the taxes will get very messy and you will need a tax professional.  If it is a shell corporation, then you will likely find that in the end, the best thing to do is to disregard the shell corporation, treat all of the income as subject to US taxation, and then put in whatever HK taxes you have to pay as a foreign tax credit.There are some things that can make things even more complicated (i.e. if you are a citizen of a third country.)My advice is do not fight the tax code.  There are a dozen landmines, but in the end if you pay your taxes, the tax man will not come after you.  If you fill out forms X, Y, and Z incorrectly but you end up paying the right amount of taxes (or more taxes), then the tax man will not care.  If you get clever, then whatever tax savings you would have gotten will be eaten up by lawyers and accountants.One thing that an accountant may do is to first do the taxes the straightforward way.  Then they get clever and you see how much money you can save by being clever.  One reason for doing things this way is that if you aren't careful, you can end up paying *more* taxes by being clever.  For example, the profits tax in HK is a flat tax, whereas US income tax is progressive.  It's not hard to come up with a scenario in which you end up paying 16% on income which the US would have taxed at 0%.
Do military members have to pay any fee for leave or fiancee forms?
NOOOOOOO. You are talking to a military romance scammer. I received an email from the US Army that directly answers your question that is pasted below please keep reading.I believe you are the victim of a military Romance Scam whereas the person you are talking to is a foreign national posing as an American Soldier claiming to be stationed overseas on a peacekeeping mission. That's the key to the scam they always claim to be on a peacekeeping mission.Part of their scam is saying that they have no access to their money that their mission is highly dangerous.If your boyfriend girlfriend/future husband/wife is asking you to do the following or has exhibited this behavior, it is a most likely a scam:Moves to private messaging site immediately after meeting you on Facebook or SnapChat or Instagram or some dating or social media site. Often times they delete the site you met them on right after they asked you to move to a more private messaging siteProfesses love to you very quickly & seems to quote poems and song lyrics along with using their own sort of broken language, as they profess their love and devotion quickly. They also showed concern for your health and love for your family.Promises marriage as soon as he/she gets to state for leave that they asked you to pay for.They Requests money (wire transfers) and Amazon, iTune ,Verizon, etc gift cards, for medicine, religious practices, and leaves to come home, internet access, complete job assignments, help sick friend, get him out of trouble, or anything that sounds fishy.The military does prall the soldier needs including food medical Care and transportation for leave. Trust me, I lived it, you are probably being scammed. I am just trying to show you examples that you are most likely being connned.Below is an email response I received after I sent an inquiry to the US government when I discovered I was scammed. I received this wonderful response back with lots of useful links on how to find and report your scammer. And how to learn more about Romance Scams.Right now you can also copy the picture he gave you and do a google image search and you will hopefully see the pictures of the real person he is impersonating. this doesn't always work and take some digging. if you find the real person you can direct message them and alert them that their image is being used for scamming.Good Luck to you and I'm sorry this may be happening to you. please continue reading the government response I received below it's very informative.¬†¬†¬†You have contacted an email that is monitored by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Unfortunately, this is a common concern. We assure you there is never any reason to send money to anyone claiming to be a Soldier online. If you have only spoken with this person online, it is likely they are not a U.S. Soldier at all. If this is a suspected imposter social media profile, we urge you to report it to that platform as soon as possible. Please continue reading for more resources and answers to other frequently asked questions:¬†¬†How to report an imposter Facebook profile: Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... Caution-https://www.facebook.com/help/16... ¬†¬†Answers to frequently asked questions:¬†¬†- Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.¬†¬†- Soldiers are not charged money for secure communications or leave.¬†¬†- Soldiers do not need permission to get married.¬†¬†- Soldiers emails are in this format: john.doe.mil@mail.mil Caution-mailto: john.doe.mil@mail.mil anything ending in .us or .com is not an official email account.¬†¬†- Soldiers have medical insurance, which pays for their medical costs when treated at civilian health care facilities worldwide ‚ÄĘ family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses.¬†¬†- Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles.¬†¬†- Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind.¬†¬†- Soldiers deployed to Combat Zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house themselves or their troops.¬†¬†- Deployed Soldiers do not find large unclaimed sums of money and need your help to get that money out of the country.¬†¬†Anyone who tells you one of the above-listed conditions/circumstances is true is likely posing as a Soldier and trying to steal money from you.¬†¬†We would urge you to immediately cease all contact with this individual.¬†¬†For more information on avoiding online scams and to report this crime, please see the following sites and articles: ¬†¬†This article may help clarify some of the tricks social media scammers try to use to take advantage of people: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/ Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/61432/ ¬†¬†CID advises vigilance against 'romance scams,' scammers impersonating Soldiers¬†¬†Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/180749 ¬†¬†FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center: Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx Caution-http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx ¬†¬†U.S. Army investigators warn public against romance scams: Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130... Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/130... ¬†¬†DOD warns troops, families to be cybercrime smart -Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450... Caution-http://www.army.mil/article/1450... ¬†¬†Use caution with social networking¬†¬†Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146... Caution-https://www.army.mil/article/146... ¬†¬†¬†Please see our frequently asked questions section under scams and legal issues. Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ Caution-http://www.army.mil/faq/ or visit Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ Caution-http://www.cid.army.mil/ .¬†¬†The challenge with most scams is determining if an individual is a legitimate member of the US Army. Based on the Privacy Act of 1974, we cannot prthis information. If concerned about a scam you may contact the Better Business Bureau (if it involves a solicitation for money), or local law enforcement. If you're involved in a Facebook or dating site scam, you are free to contact us direct, (571) 305-4056. ¬†¬†If you have a social security number, you can find information about Soldiers online at Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... Caution-https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/sc... . While this is a free search, it does not help you locate a retiree, but it can tell you if the Soldier is active duty or not.¬†¬†If more information is needed such as current duty station or location, you can contact the Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC) by phone or mail and they will help you locate individuals on active duty only, not retirees. There is a fee of $3.50 for businesses to use this service. The check or money order must be made out to the U.S. Treasury. It is not refundable. The address is:¬†¬†Commander Soldier's Records Data Center (SRDC)¬†8899 East 56th Street¬†Indianapolis, IN 46249-5301¬†Phone: 1-866-771-6357¬†¬†In addition, it is not possible to remove social networking site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on this site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the social networking platform immediately.¬†¬†Please submit all information you have on this incident to Caution-www.ic3.gov Caution-http://www.ic3.gov (FBI website, Internet Criminal Complaint Center), immediately stop contact with the scammer (you are potentially providing them more information which can be used to scam you), and learn how to protect yourself against these scams at Caution-http://www.ftc.gov Caution-http://www.ftc.gov (Federal Trade Commission's website)
How can I fill out Google's intern host matching form to optimize my chances of receiving a match?
I was selected for a summer internship 2016.I tried to be very open while filling the preference form: I choose many products as my favorite products and I said I'm open about the team I want to join.I even was very open in the  location and start date to get host matching interviews (I negotiated the start date in the interview until both me and my host were happy.) You could ask your recruiter to review your form (there are very cool and could help you a lot since they have a bigger experience).Do a search on the potential team.Before the interviews,  try to find smart question that you are going to ask for the potential host (do a search on the team  to find nice and deep questions to impress your host). Prepare well your resume.You are very likely not going to get algorithm/data structure questions like in the first round. It's going to be just some friendly chat if you are lucky. If your potential team is working on something like machine learning, expect that  they are going to ask you questions about machine learning, courses related to machine learning you have and relevant experience (projects, internship). Of course you have to study that before the interview. Take as long time as you need if you feel rusty. It takes some time to get ready for the host matching (it's less than the technical interview)  but it's worth it of course.
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