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My name is Alexander John Hay. I am an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and before the Federal District Court of the United States of America. Currently I reside in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Over the past 20 years I have been helping wealthy individuals from around the world to legally and ethically protect their assets, reduce their taxes, and obtain greater financial privacy. (If you would like to confirm that I am who I claim to be please click on: MY CREDENTIALS, this information is provided by the State Bar of Texas).

One of the most important, yet least considered, issue for wealthy clients is asset protection. This is a broad subject which includes estate planning, business formation issues, business management issues, risk evaluation and remediation, and wealth management and preservation.

For some this may simply involve a review of existing estate planning tools. For others it is necessary to establish a coherent US-based business structure to protect your personal assets, your business assets, and reduce your taxes in the process. For others it may involve exploring offshore options, perhaps even foreign residence or a second citizenship.

Whatever your situation a thorough evaluation of your situation is always a wise choice.

Alexander John Hay
Attorney at Law

Recent Posts

What is better, opening a business or a personal bank account in Tbilisi, Georgia?

It really depends upon what you are looking to accomplish. If you are from a country that gives you ‘generous’ non-resident or non-dom status benefits, then there is no reason to bother setting up a company in Georgia.

Example: If you are Swedish and you go non-dom (that is you leave the country and notify Sweden that you are opting out of the system) you no longer owe any more Swedish taxes in most cases. If you live in Georgia and earn non-Georgian income, then you will owe no taxes to Sweden or Georgia. This is because Georgia has a true territorial tax system in regards to individuals — they only tax you on income you earned from Georgian business activities. A personal bank account should do fine.

However, if you are from the USA things will be very different. If you are a US citizen or resident (whether or not you live in the USA or not) you are going to owe money on your ‘worldwide income’. If you have active income from outside the USA then setting up a Georgian company could be beneficial. This is because the Georgian company income will not be taxed by the USA as long as it really is NOT ‘effectively connected US Source Income’. You will have to pay US taxes on the salary, dividends, or other benefits you actually receive from that company, but if you are a non-resident with an established residence outside the USA then you will get some tax benefits on the first $100,000 or so of income you receive from that Georgian company (but you will still have to pay a tax on dividends — currently 15%). In addition, Georgian corporate tax is a flat 15% based upon the ‘Estonian Model’ — that is you don’t pay the tax until the income is distributed to the shareholder as a dividend or profit distribution.

There are other exemptions available under Georgian law that might even eliminate this 15% tax. Also, if you do take out the money as a dividend there is an additional 5% dividend tax that has to be paid.

The real benefit of this system is to NOT take the money out of the Georgian company, but leave it in the bank or ‘invest’ it as you see fit. As long as the property the company buys is owned by the Georgian company it is not considered a profit distribution or dividend — although the US or other tax authorities may not view it that way. Be careful. You will benefit the most if you think about it as deferred taxation — eventually you may need or want to take funds from the company account for your personal benefit, but until you do that money sits there tax free and can earn additional tax free income depending upon your home country.

Also, this answer is not limited to the Republic of Georgia, and may apply to almost any tax-friendly jurisdiction.

Again, check with a tax adviser familiar with these issues before you actually do anything. Each country is different and the rules are constantly changing.

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