Forbes: U.S. Hikes Fee To Dump Your Passport By 422%

 

by Robert W. Wood

Forbes

Over the last two years, the U.S. has had a spike in expatriations. It isn’t exactly Ellis Island in reverse, but it’s more than a dribble. With global tax reporting and FATCA, the list of the individuals who renounced is up. For 2013, there was a 221% increase, with record numbers of Americans renouncing. The Treasury Department is required to publish a quarterly list, but these numbers are under-stated, some say considerably.

The presence or absence of tax motivation is no longer relevant, but that could change. AfterFacebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin departed for Singapore, Senators Chuck Schumer and Bob Casey introduced a bill to double the exit tax to 30% for anyone leaving the U.S. for tax reasons. That hasn’t happened, but taxes are still a big issue for many.

To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.

Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. The State Department says it’s about demand on their services and all the extra workload they have to process people who are on their way out.

Hmmm... So Uncle Sam will let you in for free.  Just sneak across the southern border.  But, better not try getting outta here. You will have to pay though the nose! What is this - the new IRON CURTAIN? SMH!

Please read more here.

Fuel Fix: Uncle Sam Collects $110 Million From Offshore Oil Auction

by  Jennifer A. Dlouhy in OffshorePolitics/Policy

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies are set to pay the government $110 million in high bids for leases in the western Gulf of Mexico, after an auction Wednesday that underscored the industry’s interest in deep-water territory.

Fourteen companies participated in the sale, which nominally put 21 million acres up for grabs, though ultimately, just 81 blocks spanning 433,823 acres were sold.

The industry’s interest was concentrated on the Alaminos Canyon area and territory near the U.S.-Mexico maritime border that had been off limits for development while the two countries enacted a treaty to govern oil development. 

Please read more here.

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde Charged With "Negligence" Over Multi-million Dollar Graft Case

Paris (AFP) - IMF chief Christine Lagarde, one of the world's most powerful women, announced Wednesday she had been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as French finance minister.

 

The shock announcement came a day after she was grilled for more than 15 hours by a special court in Paris that probes ministerial misconduct, the fourth time she has been questioned in a case that has long weighed upon her position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Please read more here.

More R&B from Asia - especially for Luther Vandross' fans!

Stanford Professor Maryam Mirzakhani: First Woman to Win the "Nobel Prize" of Mathematics

 

For the first time in history, a woman has received the highest honor in mathematics, often nicknamed the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Since it was established in 1936, the Fields Medal had gone only to men, until Wednesday, when Maryam Mirzakhani received it in Seoul, South Korea, from the International Mathematical Union.

"This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani said, according to a statement from Stanford University, where she is a professor.

Please read more here.

Michael Jackson: "They Don't Care About Us"

McKinsey Report: Digitizing Oil & Gas Production

 

The authors of a recently published McKinsey report believe further automation can play a major role in addressing the following challenges in the oil and gas industries:

More complex operations. Increasing volume and complexity in hostile, remote locations (for example, arctic, offshore, and deepwater) require reliable remote and automated or semiautomated operations, and logistics optimized for efficiency. Mature assets with declining production need very efficient maintenance schedules to keep production profitable.

Zero tolerance for health, safety, and environmental incidents. This is a nonnegotiable imperative. Recent industry experience has shown that in the current highly regulated environment, such incidents can threaten not only profitability but also the very existence of an operator. Automated production control, monitoring the condition of the equipment, and predictive shutdown systems are now basic requirements to prevent or mitigate catastrophic events in geographically dispersed remote operations.

The talent and experience gap. The industry is in the most dramatic demographic shift in its history, commonly referred to as “the big crew change.” Thousands of petrotechnical professionals will be retiring soon, resulting in a knowledge and experience crisis for the industry. Retention and recruitment are unlikely to fill the gap completely. This development drives efforts to codify many routine analysis and decision-support processes and, where possible, to automate them.

Please read more here and here.

Senior Energy Analyst Job

Eden Scott's client, a financial services company focused on the global energy industry, is looking to recruit a Senior Analyst. Their client is an industry leader in their field and offer a challenging, dynamic and stimulating working environment.

As a Senior Analyst you will be a key player in the firm responsible for acquisition and merger activity.

Please read more here.

Former MIT Dean Gabriel Bitran Pleads Guilty to Running a $500 Million Scam - Connected to Madoff

 

Former Associate Dean at MIT's Sloan School of Management Pleads Guilty in Hedge Fund Scam

A former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and his son have agreed to plead guilty (DOJ) to running a $500 million hedge-fund scam that was uncovered by investigators probing Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Gabriel Bitran, who was a chair professor and associate dean at MIT’s Sloan School of Management (VisualCV), and his son, Marco, told investors that their money management firm GMB Capital Management LLC had a successful real world track record, when in fact they simply assembled back data that would show a spectacular track record.

The men, who raised more than $500 million from 2005 to 2011, meanwhile put money into “funds of funds,” (Blm) which rely on investments by other hedge funds, mostly Bernie Madoff’s firm and Madoff feeder funds, according to prosecutors.

The Bitrans’ funds suffered losses of more than $140 million. The professor paid himself and his son as much as $16 million in management fees over the life of the businesses and recovered $12 million of their own investments when the funds were doing poorly, the U.S. said, adding that the two discussed their scheme in e-mail exchanges.

 

Gabriel Bitran was one of my bosses when I taught at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. SMH

New York Times: Militarization of America's Police

 

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