Expats and Taxes: The Laws of the Land Apply

Expats and taxes are one of the subjects that international lawyers and financial planners are approached about the most often. Meyer International most often hears: “What am I responsible for?” “Who do I report to?” and “How do I avoid doing something that’s going to cause a tax mess for me when I go home?” as the most common tax questions heard from the expat employees, company founders, retirees and investors that make up their client base. Maybe you’ve even asked some of these questions yourself.


A large number of expats can’t answer these questions with certainty. If you don’t know the answers, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Res on for some advice from Meyer International’s managaing director, Richard Cayne:


The answer to these questions is that there is no one-size-fits-all advice since tax laws differ from country to country. You need to take into account not just the laws of your home country, but also those of the country where you are residing.


One rule of thumb to keep in mind is this: Regardless of your nationality, most countries will give tax right-of-way to the country where you are currently residing. So, in most countries you’ll be abiding by the tax laws where you are living. That’s pretty easy, isn’t it?


Working Abroad


Working abroad offers untold exciting opportunities and new experiences. Everything from business etiquette to workflow will be different when you take your work overseas. Another thing that will change is who you pay your income taxes to. In most cases, you’ll pay income tax in the country where you are working and be exempt from income tax in your home country for the years in which you live and work abroad.


Some countries simply offer exemptions and not a full pass from paying taxes. The US, for example, says that expat workers are exempt from paying taxes on income up to $90k per year. If they make more than that, they must pay income tax in the US in addition to the taxes expected of them in their host country. If you aren’t sure which laws apply to your unique situation, make an appointment with a team member at Meyer International


To provide another example, expat workers in Thailand will have Thai income tax taken out of their pay automatically. That tax equals up to 36% of their gross pay.


Investing Abroad


Though far fewer people take advantage of it, Investing abroad can place you on sounder financial footing than simply working abroad. It all depends on where you’re living.


Many countries have laws in place that tax locals and expats on financial gains that come from investing. This makes investing from or within those countries very similar to investing from your home country. Other countries have laws that leave income from investments free from taxes, which can be great for expats living and working in those locales.


If you are living as an expat in a country that does not tax profits made from international investments, you have a great opportunity to invest and grow your money more quickly than if you were living in your home country. Countries with these laws include Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Cayman Islands and other offshore jurisdictions.


If you are living in one of these locations, are you taking full advantage of the investment opportunities offered there?


Have more questions about taxes for expats? We can answer them all. Get in touch with Richard Cayne and the Meyer International Team today to make an appointment!



Tax Free & Loving It: The Best Thing About Living in Thailand That Almost No One Knows


There are endless reasons for expats to live in Thailand, whether short-term or long. There are the opportunities for work and play in Bangkok, the serenity of places such as Chiang Mai and Pai or the beauty and relaxation provided by life on the country’s many islands.


Maybe you came to Thailand for a great work opportunity, to start a business or simply to enjoy the good life. But are you investing while you are here? If you aren’t, you should

Did you know that there is an amazing tax advantage for any expat living in Thailand and investing outside of their home country? If you weren’t aware, let Richard Cayne of Meyer International share with you all of the ways that you can maximize your investment earning potential for every year that you live in Thailand.


The key to making more money off of your international investments is this: Thailand doesn’t charge any tax on non-salary monetary gains if made outside of Thailand.


Sure, you have to pay up to 36% income tax on any salary you collect in Thailand but income not brought into the Kingdom in that year, which is derived from investments outside of Thailand is not taxed at all. So, feel free to invest in that hot new resort in Phuket or in some exciting, new offshore holdings – your investment portfolio won’t disappoint you when you see the statements and note that every earned baht goes straight to you.


The way this advantage works is like this: Most expats are not responsible for taxes on money made OUTSIDE their own country for any year that they are not residing there. They don’t have to pay taxes on non-salary income if it is made outside Thailand and not brought into Thailand the same year. So, any money they make on OVERSEAS investments while living in Thailand accrues completely tax-free.


Think about it this way: If a person invests $10 while living in Thailand and, after 10 years, that $10 has become $100, they will have paid no tax on it and the entire $100 belongs to them. The moment they take the money back to their home country however, they start paying taxes for each dollar in gains accrued from that point forward. So: taxes would be due from $101 and each dollar earned thereafter from that $100 they brought back to their country with them.


As long as you remain in Thailand with current tax laws as they stand and manage your overseas investments properly you’ll never have to pay a single baht, yen or pence in tax on it if structured properly. If you stay here permanently, your capital gains will never be taxed.

This provides the opportunity to see your investments grow in Thailand faster than they would almost anywhere else in the world. Imagine how exciting it will be to see your balance grow in leaps and bounds, placing you that much closer to your financial goals.


Are you now asking yourself why you are living in Thailand and not taking advantage of this investing secret for expats? Get in touch with Richard Cayne and his team of experts at Meyer International to find out how you can start investing tax-free today!

Financial Success Starts With Goal Setting

Here’s a question you should be asking yourself regularly, “Do you know where you want to go financially?”


Think of your financial future as a road trip. If you don’t know where you want to go and why, do you think you are going to be a success? If you do know where you want to go but have no map, no GPS and no directions, do you think you are going to reach that far-off destination? Probably not.


According to Richard Cayne, this is a far more common issue than you might think. He often has new clients walk into Meyer International and say, “I want to make money. Just make me make money!” He most often replies, “Sure. I can do that but I need to know your targets or goals. If you know where you want to go, I can help you get there but if you don’t know, that’s where we need to start.”


People might reply to that initial question with an answer that sounds more like a guess. “Umm, I think I want a target of two million dollars in the bank,” is something that Richard Cayne has heard more than once. When he questions them about why they’ve chosen that goal, they most often say, “I don’t know. It sounds good.”


Those clients don’t actually know what they want. What Richard Cayne will usually do is help them understand where they are and where their goals should be based on a number or criteria such as how much they will need and when to accomplish their financial goals.  Once the goals are defined he can help them to establish what they really need and take a good look at where they are, financially and how to get on that road towards their goals.


Answering these questions is the homework often assigned to new clients:


  • Where are you financially and what resources do you have?
  • Where do you want to end up and what do you want along the way?
  • This is where a financial planning consultant comes in to help establish the best and fastest road to get to your goals. Those are the financial products that a planner can recommend.


In the end, instead of a vague notion such as “two million dollars,” the consultant and client might come up with a real goal of, say, “I want to retire at 50 living a certain sort of lifestyle and be able to put my three kids through private university without loans or feeling a financial strain and have two million dollars because that will be enough for me to live on forever and leave the bulk of it over to the kids when I pass away.”


From a statement such as that, a financial planning consultant can put together a plan to get you there. You might be asking yourself “How do they do that?” Well, simple. Financial planning consultants are familiar with all of the products on the market, from the products of each individual financial institution to the opportunities in each of the best offshore jurisdictions. They can put together an investment plan that employs the right amount of risk and diversity for your unique financial situation and review your portfolio regularly to suggest tweaks and changes.


Are you ready to talk about your financial road trip with Richard Cayne and the team at Meyer International? Get in touch today!






Why it Pays to Use a Financial Planning Consultant

There are so many financial plans and products available in the world today – from on- and offshore investments to wills, trusts, life insurance and more. There is no way for a person that works outside of the financial sector to be an expert on every new product that comes out each year. That’s why people use financial planning consultants.


Financial planning consultants, such as Richard Cayne and his team at Meyer International, are experts on all of it. They can advise on everything from private bankers and deciding who is right for you, to which jurisdiction will offer the benefits you are seeking in your offshore investments.


Richard Cayne offered a useful analogy of what financial planning consultants can do for you:


“We’re private consultants. We don’t have any products of our own. We consult on different products and can say, ‘This is right for you,’ or ‘Try this one.’


“For example, we don’t offer private banking services but we can make introductions to private bankers at UBS, Credit Suisse or any of the banks. We also have deep knowledge of what each one offers. We maintain a relationship with the clients but make our money from the banks, who pay us for introductions to the kind of clients they want.”


“The best analogy is this: You walk into a Toyota dealership and they ask you if you want a big car or a small car? How many kids do you have? Where do you go and what do you like to do? Guess what? At the end of all of that, they’re going to recommend a Toyota to you. It’s a Toyota dealership. They aren’t going to recommend a Honda from down the street even though it may suit your needs better.”


“If you go to an independent dealer, they can listen to your needs and recommend a Honda, a Toyota, a  Porsche or a Ferrari. A financial planning consultant is like an independent dealer. Since we don’t have any of our own products, we’re neutral and unbiased and can suggest the thing that’s best for you. We’re on your side.”


Financial planning consultants can recommend the best financial products for you from everything that’s available, all over the world. They are not limited to recommending products from just one bank or jurisdiction. This is the best reason to use a financial planning consultant.


Another reason to use a financial planning consultant is the added value of having another trained set of eyes to review your finances and investment choices. A planner looks at their client’s benefits with expert eyes, basically for free. Since planners make their money from referral fees from the companies that make the products, clients can reap the benefits of their knowledge on the cheap. As Richard Cayne says, “At the very least it’s an extra, trained set of eyes on your account to make sure nothing is going wrong.”


Well who wouldn’t want that?


To make an appointment to discuss your finances with Richard Cayne or any of the experts at Meyer International, get in touch today!