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Old 08-11-2010, 08:24 AM   #21
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Dex, they tell you who sent it, what it is (envelope, package), and how much it weighs. You get notified on the same day it arrives.
Thanks, I appreciate you sharing your experience.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:31 AM   #22
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ncaraway, it sounds like you would be wiring funds from Vanguard which is permissible. I admit, I am very surprised by ING's policy. My only suggestion is to be sure they also don't permit wiring funds abroad, which is different than an ACH "electronic transfer". Usually, the banks want to get the wire fees.

Actually, you have gotten me interested, and I am going to check up the specifics on my financial institutions.

One thing I have found is the need to diversify financial institutions. Policies change, there are problems, etc. Having a number of accounts has held me in good steed.

Lancealot's idea of using a relative/friend is a good one. I didn't have any relatives in Texas, and just didn't want to bother anyone with mail. Plus, having the online overview of mail received, ability to scan cards, etc., is nice. I would be paying anyone that did that for me, anyway. My case is different than your's because I still want to maintain a US driver's license, US bank accounts with their excellent value debit cards for extensive travel abroad, etc.

Another thing you will find useful is to read expat forums specific to Taiwan and find out how other expats handle their banking.

Kramer
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:40 AM   #23
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Look into the IRS reporting requirements also. I think you have to file some forms.
FYI as a US citizen you still have to file a 1040 every year and report any foreign accounts over $10k to the treasury. Vanguard etc will probably with hold 30% tax automatically from funds they send abroad unless you file a specific IRS form to tell them not to. Make sure you talk to a Taiwan/US qualified accountant before you move as you will have to comply with both places wrt taxation.

FYI maintaining US bank accounts and addresses can also open you up to continued state taxation.
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #24
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FYI as a US citizen you still have to file a 1040 every year and report any foreign accounts over $10k to the treasury. Vanguard etc will probably with hold 30% tax automatically from funds they send abroad unless you file a specific IRS form to tell them not to. Make sure you talk to a Taiwan/US qualified accountant before you move as you will have to comply with both places wrt taxation.

FYI maintaining US bank accounts and addresses can also open you up to continued state taxation.
I have only heard of that withholding being levied on non-resident non-US citizens. All sorts of expats routinely pull money abroad without an issue, at least the ones I have talked with. They do report any money movement of $10K or higher to the IRS as required by law.

Yes, one must report foreign accounts if they total above $10K at any point during the year. Also, there is a separate reporting to do now, different than the one you do on your taxes, and it is due earlier than before (recent rule change).

You won't pay state taxes even by keeping an address in that state, if you don't return to live there or pop up on their radar (like applying for a driver's license at a later date). On your last year, file a non-resident form and use your foreign address. Even New York and California won't tax you in this situation.

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Old 08-11-2010, 01:59 PM   #25
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I have only heard of that withholding being levied on non-resident non-US citizens. All sorts of expats routinely pull money abroad without an issue, at least the ones I have talked with. They do report any money movement of $10K or higher to the IRS as required by law.

Yes, one must report foreign accounts if they total above $10K at any point during the year. Also, there is a separate reporting to do now, different than the one you do on your taxes, and it is due earlier than before (recent rule change).

You won't pay state taxes even by keeping an address in that state, if you don't return to live there or pop up on their radar (like applying for a driver's license at a later date). On your last year, file a non-resident form and use your foreign address. Even New York and California won't tax you in this situation.

Kramer
Many financial companies will automatically withhold 30% if the payment is made to a foreign address, you have to make sure that they understand you are a US citizen and eligible for zero withholding by giving them a W-9

For some states that tax on domicile rather than residence (like MA) having an address in the state may well trigger a tax bill.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:32 PM   #26
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FYI you might run into withholding issues on IRAs etc if you live abroad as to elect zero withholding you need a US address. I think many times payees see the foreign address and go from the default 10% to the 30% max. So if they have a W-9 from you you should at least get the 10% rate. If you additionally certify that you did not leave the US to avoid tax you can get the zero withholding.......but there will probably be years when the payee messes up.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:17 PM   #27
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I have a number of family members and friends that are not US citizens, live overseas and have US bank accounts. (Citi, BoA, Chase). No doubt it can be done. I know USAA will (my son just did) but you need to be eligible. Citi as well if you can stand them. PenFed might (not a bank but a credit union).

Overseas offices of US banks (like Citi) are separate legal entities and require accounts domiciled in each country. For most, however, transferring funds between offices is straightforward (but no less costly). Account management from foreign offices is usually allowed only for large ($$) customers.

US banks have been limiting foreign based accountholders (regardless of citizenship) because there has been a great deal of fraud. They have also curtailed direct online international transfers, for the same reason. Most still transfer but require phone interaction with a bank operator.

just to clarify: US banks will withhold taxes on interest and dividends paid to non-US citizens regardless of domicile. Citizenship is determined when the account is opened. Accounts opened by US citizens with overseas addresses are not subject to withholding. Wire transfers are not subject to withholding regardless of owner citizenship, just fees.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:51 PM   #28
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A lot of very good information. I am glad that I asked here. I've been perusing expat and other forums for about a year now and haven't seen responses like these. Thank you all.

I think I'm going to have to continue visiting bank sites and probably do more reading on the sites of banks that do business in Taiwan and the US (e.g., HSBC, Citi, etc). We won't be in Taipei (the major city) so we'll have even fewer options.

Given that we're expecting to live on $16k/year with about $500k in assets, I doubt that we'll raise any red flags with the IRS. Regardless, we do plan to file each year.
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