Back in the U.S., I normally play the lottery each week (shuddup, it’s my retirement plan and it’s only a couple bucks “investment” each time), mostly when the payout is respectable.
So this past Tuesday, I bought a Euromillions lottery ticket because the payout is €70 million ($79 million). The tax on that $79 mill works out to about $32 million — except that all over Europe and the U.K., Euromillions lottery winnings are not taxed. This is not the case in the U.S., of course, where the godless fiends of the IRS will swoop down and take Uncle Sam’s 40% (pound of flesh) share at gunpoint.
Which leads to an interesting thought.
$79 million is an awful lot of “fuck you” money — a lot more than the post-tax $47 million. Needless to say, U.S. citizens are forbidden to have overseas bank accounts without disclosing such accounts and their contents to the IR fucking S, so that Uncle Sam, in this case, could collect the aforementioned 32 million pounds of flesh.
But the lottery is paid out Over Here, not in the U.S.
What would stop the winner from saying a simple “fuck you!” to the IRS, give up his U.S. citizenship, refuse to pay them their “goodbye” tax (“fuck you again”) and take up residence somewhere like Monaco, Liechtenstein, or one of the several tax havens scattered around this part of the world? (Believe me: show up at one of those countries’ embassy or consulate with $79 million cash and ask for “asylum”, and they’d get into fistfights to get you to pick their country over the others.)
In other words, at what point does one say that citizenship isn’t worth the price one has to pay for it — especially when all the USGov will do with your money is piss it away on the usual government wastage like Solyndra subsidies or welfare for illegal aliens?
I know I probably sound like some liberal asshole who doesn’t want their tax dollars to go to military spending, but in my case it’s the exact reverse sentiment: if I could pay my “windfall” lottery taxes direct to the Pentagon, specifically earmarked towards a new aircraft carrier, F-35 or couple of M1 Abrams tanks, I’d do it in a moment, without hesitation. But you can’t do that, can you? Tax dollars go into the “General Fund”, and are then siphoned off by the usual suspects into subsidies for objectionable art projects or even worse, to federal funding for Oberlin College, while the Pentagon gets fractions of a penny from the tax dollar, literally.
I’m making something of a joke about this situation because I’d never do it — my citizenship is too precious to me, I’d feel like I’d betrayed my adopted homeland, and I could not face never being able to visit my kids, family and friends back in the U.S. for the rest of my life.
But I have to tell you, I wouldn’t attack someone who made the opposite decision. Which should tell you how far our beloved government has fallen in public esteem — because if I, one of our country’s proudest and most grateful adopted citizens can even be tempted to thinking about this option, how badly have they screwed things up?
So come on, all you loyal Americans out there: what would you do with $79 million sitting in Europe, waiting to be given to you? Stay over there forever, living in luxury, or pay the taxes and live here in 40% less luxury?
And just to put this thing into perspective: assuming you dedicate 10% of your new non-taxed fortune to housing (and that’s not a bad principle), what you could get for your money in the Principality is the top floor of this little thing:
Even worse, you’d no longer be a Texan…
It’s an easy choice for me; I’d smile and let the IRS sonsabitches get their last good bite and come back to the U.S. Not only is it where my kids, grandkids, family and friends are, but reading the news about what the moslems are doing to the place, I can’t see any European country I’d want to live in.
Plus, gun collection.
I hate the IRS, too, but there’s a lot of the US I still haven’t seen. I could do that in luxury on $47M as well as on 79.
Yeah, hold my nose and stick around. Although if I had that much cash I might try to buy me an office and throw bricks from inside the asylum.
Who knows, it just might work.
Ten years ago I would have agreed with you all.
The last decade has ground me down and opened my eyes to the narcissism and venality of the ruling-class thugs and idiots (and their supporters no less) that now control our once-great nation. (Our current President excluded.)
I’ll take my corruption and bribery “straight-up”, if you will.
I’m thinking…a couple of places in Asia-Pacific where English is a 2nd language, the exchange-rate is MUCH higher than ANYWHERE in Europe, and the local girls are all relatively attractive.
Eh, I’d bite the bullet and stay.
I mean, I know it’d be a sacrifice and all, but somehow, I think I might be able to eke out a meager existence with “just” $42 million.
Who knows, maybe my friends would take pity on me. “Hey, did you hear about Martin? He won $79 million in the lottery but then the damned IRS came along and took half of it! Poor guy only has $42 million to his name! Can you believe it?”
Maybe they’d take up a collection for me or spot me a beer now and then. I think I’d get by. 😉
In the short term, you’d have all the money, and you would be a wealthy, cultured man living in Europe. This is probably the last period in history when that’s a reasonable decision to make. None of us are getting any younger. Within a few decades, one might as well decide to move to Central America or Africa, and you’ve already lived in Africa. Last chance.
Longer term, you’d be betting that the Eeeyew doesn’t decide to come after all or part of your fortune after all. I am reliably informed that some of those people over there are socialists. The tax havens, I suppose. And the shooting sports in Switzerland are probably still going strong, so there’s that.
I’m with FishStyx. As much as I’ve come to love Idaho and the West generally since fleeing DC, I would move to some little town on the west coast of Ireland–or better yet, onto one of the Aran Islands–set up my house with satellite Internet, and never look back. At the end of my days, I’d fling my unspent money into the sea rather than give it to the bastards at the IRS to use against America.
Sheesh. You guys. No creativity whatsoever.
I’d get myself a good attorney. Set up a nice, tax exempt non-profit organization…under my sole control. Donate the entire winnings, thus avoiding tax. Then pay myself an administration fee (avoiding the rob-you-blind tax rate) adequate to live on.
Then do charitable things. Build a range so USA Shooting isn’t having to borrow Army facilities….and the U.S. International Muzzle-Loading Team needs a home, too. Set up a museum, take donations of unpapered NFA items. Shoot NFA items. Sell opportunities to shoot museum guns (properly done, this pays for the museum). Hire family members to help.
My thoughts exactly. Start a charity dedicated to educating society on the plight of the Double Breasted, Red-Headed, Mattress Thrasher. Name myself the only officer while contracting friends and family for specific weekends.
Remember, you’ll be working so hard for that charity that it will have to cover almost 100% of your daily expenses.
Call it the Not Clinton Foundation for a nice touch of irony.
I’m pretty sure the worst punishment would be the receipt of a Strongly Worded Letter.
Ditto the others — this is nothing that a couple of estate planners (one on each side) and a US tax attorney couldn’t handle with aplomb. You would likely pay taxes on any money you decide to repatriate to the US (as income) if you want to buy things in the US with it, but whatever stays offshore would likely not be taxable.
As a practical matter, it would be a mistake to underestimate the reach of the IRS and the degree of pressure the US gov’t can bring to bear on a foreign bank in large part based on the fact that all dollar denominated transactions ultimately clear in NY. Lots of people with net worths well north of $79M have been snagged with undeclared overseas accounts in recent years.
But would the IRS take 40%? Surely they’d only tax the income from your winnings? You may not be aware but over here while indeed the winnings are tax-free, tax is paid on the ticket, so all winnings are actually post-tax.
Believe it or not, for US citizens, our net gambling winnings are taxable. Gambling losses can only be written off against winnings in the same tax year, which creates a ratchet effect to benefit the IRS. So yeah, if you win the lottery around ~40% will be withheld in taxes.
I think I’d set up a “residence” in a tax haven, buy a boat (Dashew FPB 78), and go cruising for a long, long time.
Easy come, easy go. Paying a massive tax on lottery winnings doesn’t really bother me all that much, because I didn’t (and don’t) have the winnings now, and half of a massive lottery payout is still a whole lot more than I have right now.
It’s not like I earned it through hard work or prudent investments.
Plus, I can still live a pretty sweet life in the USA on 32mil, or even 3.2mil.
But, I’d still get a good lawyer and accountant to get as much of that full prize as I legally could.
Another thing to ponder- once you get to a certain level, the amount of money you have really doesn’t matter.
As long as one doesn’t try to emulate the lifestyle of a rap star, and spend money on tons and tons of stupid stuff to impress people they don’t like, one’s lifestyle with either 32 or 64 million would be pretty much identical.
After all, is a 6.4 million dollar house all that much more comfortable than a 3.2 million dollar house?
I’m with Mike M – I’d do what the filthy whores like John F’n Kerry do, and set up a shell company, pay myself in options or what-not, and not allow the damn IRS to touch a cent.
For the taxes I DO get hit with, there’s quite a bit of charitable giving that can be done to lower that amount. Plus all the expenses of running a business that I can write off. Sailing back and forth from Boston to Shannon takes a lot of cash, you know….
Oh, and I do mean SAILING. This modern fad of powerboats can’t last much longer.
Czechia might be a worth a look. They seem like they will stand up to the EU regarding the izzy issue, the beer is quite good, the scenery is nice, the ladies are remarkably attractive and more than likely, have none of the issues that most American women have, and it looks like they might actually amend their constitution to include the RTKBA. With 72 million, one should be able to procure a US or Canuck passport, and if the need arises, visit loved ones on this side of the big water.
They just did amend their constitution to protect the right to bear arms.
Collectors of CZ weapons are smiling.
This is my thoughts also. Go visit my distant cousins (last family moved from Moravia in 1870). I’m sure the authorities could speed up the firearms licensing process for their newest millionaire. Plus, I already have two pistols, locally made! 😉
If such lightning strikes, my plan is already in place. My wife is one of those damn ferners. While a US citizen (by the gods, she did it the right way, all legal like and all), nothing says she had to give up her (nationality hidden) one. So, we go to a tax haven island or Lichtenstein or Switzerland, present such passport and open an account, then hire an attorney/barrister, create a corporate entity or the foreign equivalent, and claim in that name. Booyah.
In the mean time, we’ll keep working and putting into that IRA like good little ‘mercans.
I would remain an American.
Because ‘Merica. Because guns. Because I want a front row seat to the revolution, the slide into anarchy, the convention of states or wherever we go from here.
Not to mention, because I damn sure don’t want to live in Europe. Its very EUie over there. And with a bank roll of $47 million and my give a damn being broken ALREADY. I could likely have a fair bit of fun.
Is Majorca a “tax haven”?
How difficult is it to sing the National Anthem?
What? It’s part of Spain?……Pity.
Of course, there’s Jersey, or the Isle of Man for those who love motorcycling, even if the weather is sometimes iffy. Bermuda would be nice, but isolating (rack up a lot of FF miles tripping to the Continent).
Basically, it’s costing you $32 mill to stay in the good old U.S. of A. Less if you decide that Monaco is a better place for you. I don’t know enough about the legalities, but if I could, you bet I’d tell the I.R. fucking S. to go piss up a rope. I wouldn’t leave a forwarding address, and I’d have enough money that my very few close friends could come and join me whenever they felt the urge – and take the rest of their life off, like I’d be doing.
The I.R.S. came close to completely ruining my life once. I won’t give them another chance.
You couldn’t pay me to live in Europe with the craziness over there. I’d pay the tax and return to the US. Plenty left for me to enjoy and share with those in need.
Of course, I don’t covet $110,000 guns, so my needs are few!
If you did, FATCA would hit you right in the ass.
As far as the IRS is concerned, once a US person, always a US person.
They won’t let you renounce until you pay the tax, and as long as you are still a US person, most foreign banks won’t even let you deposit the check, as the US gov will inflict a 30% withholding on all their SWIFT transactions if they have an over $100,000 US depositor and fail to turn over all of their records to the IRS on demand.
( The BRICS nations have set up their own transaction system to deal with the fact that SWIFT is a US entity )
And even if you paid the 40% and then renounced, you would be subject to a US exit tax of 15% of your assets. And you will never get a US visa, as the IRS will declare you a tax refugee ( even if you pay ).
The time to renounce is before you get rich, if you plan on a five flag strategy.
And then there’s all the time & money that would be et up with hearings, meetings, lawyers, more meetings, more hearings, ect.
Then you find that whatever country would accept you is pretty much going to milk you for what they can get, by arbitrary taxes, bribes, fines, & fees. Because where are you going to go?
It’s not like I worked my fingers to the bone for that money; dropping into the local Stop N’ Rob isn’t exactly a chore.
But setting up a charity or non-profit company seems like the way to go. I won’t get to keep it all, but there is pleasure to be had by playing the game as they never intended the peasantry to play it.
Besides, my gun tastes aren’t as refined as yours, but I do like walking into the shop and walking out with something pretty, which probably wouldn’t happen in Liechtenstein or even in Czechland.
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