Uruguay has now definitely earned its long-time nickname – the Switzerland of Latin America.
I am writing today from the posh international resort of Punte del Este, in Uruguay, enjoying a spectacular view of the blue, south Atlantic Ocean, but I have been spending a lot of time in hotel meeting rooms.
However, based on personal observation and experience, I can now speak with some authority on a number of matters relating to the Southern Hemisphere and, in particular, Uruguay.
For example, bathtubs and toilets do not always drain clockwise, bottled water is served either “con el gas” or “sin gas,” and financial and banking privacy is so tight here that it takes a court order to pry information loose.
That last, arresting fact I learned at one of our Sovereign Society Uruguay Investment Conference meetings. And it is a symbol of how truly different this world is compared with the one in which we regimented, privacy-deprived Americans are forced to suffer.
It should also be noted that the government of Uruguay has joined the OECD-approved good bank-keeping list, and has signed a number of tax information exchange treaties – although, none with the United States.
No Taxes on Offshore Income
Nonetheless, having met a large number of bankers, I can assure you that American clients are welcome, as long as we comply with Uruguay’s anti-money laundering laws, file IRS reports and pay our U.S. taxes.
And just like Panama, Uruguay imposes no taxes on the offshore income of foreigners living here – only on in-country earnings.
Now, contrast Uruguay’s ultra-sensible, bank-privacy rules with the current turmoil some 6,896 miles to the northeast of Punte del Este in the Swiss House of Representatives in the city of Bern.
This week, the Swiss House is debating what little remains of once-sacrosanct Swiss bank secrecy.
Last December, the Swiss Senate gave the green light to a deal allowing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (sic) access to information on the U.S. clients of Swiss banks, if they are investigating suspected tax dodgers. Now the Swiss House of Representatives will be asked to yield the nation’s sovereignty to Obama’s money-hungry IRS.
The parliamentary vote, which is widely expected to pass the bill into Swiss law, will put to death the 1934 Swiss Bank Secrecy Act that originally became law to protect Jews and their assets in defiance of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis – but these days, the IRS is an even more formidable foe of the country’s banks.
Having destroyed Wegelin, the oldest bank in Switzerland, the IRS now has 11 other Swiss banks in its crosshairs, after launching its successful attack on tax-evading UBS in 2008.
Under the threat of having access to the U.S. banking system cut off (a U.S. tactic now also being used against arch-enemy Iran), it is no wonder that Swiss politicians, who have been lobbied by their country’s banks, are caving in to Obama’s tax Weltanschauung. Only the conservative Swiss Peoples Party, the largest party in the country’s Federal Assembly, stands opposed to the move.
As Uruguayan attorney Juan Fischer told our assembled conference attendees: “There now is no such thing as absolute bank secrecy anywhere in the world.”
But, unlike the U.S., where all privacy has more or less killed by the PATRIOT Act, privacy still exists in large measure in Uruguay for honest Americans and other foreign nationals.
In effect, Uruguay has become what Switzerland once was.
Paradise Under the Southern Cross
Last November, after her first visit here, Erika Nolan wrote a column for our members, called“Top Seven Reasons Why Uruguay is Your Best Choice for South American Offshore Living,” In my week here, I have seen first-hand proof of all her seven points; quality of life, good infrastructure, profitable investments, beautiful beaches, personal safety, friendly banking, and a broad welcome mat for foreigners, both as new residents and eventual citizens.
And I heartily second Erika’s judgment: “If you are looking for a beautiful and secure second home with solid banking and financial institutions, as well as a high-quality and affordable lifestyle, Uruguay is just the place.”
The Sovereign Society will be pleased to assist you in finding your place here under the Southern Cross.
Now, before I head back to the Northern Hemisphere and counter clockwise drains – one last dip in that blue south Atlantic.
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