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Everything posted by Old

  1. Old


    Well I hesitated to post this, because I realise that what I am going through is probably "normal", but I find this so much tougher than I expected. To explain - we are in the process of an employment sponsored green card and things are moving along, although it is a slow process. I was so certain when we started this, but the doubts have been keeping me awake at night recently (what the heck am I doing!). Perhaps my biggest concern is that I am turning 50 this year and the thought of having a mortgage again and then not having that much time to build something up for retirement is pretty scary. Then there is all the anticipated stress of trying to juggle things in SA while trying to build a new life in the USA (I do not intend to officially emigrate at this stage). Added to this is the fact that I am not unhappy in SA (at the moment) and am fortunate to live in what I consider a beautiful area. Also leaving behind my aged parents (and having to consider the implications of emigration on an inheritance). I am not blind to all the problems in SA, but I just don't know if the sacrifices to get to the USA will be worth it. My wife remains 100% certain we should push on and that of course is causing friction. She is a SA permanent resident who came to South Africa 25 years ago, so perhaps she does not have such an emotional bond with the country and she has lived through emigration once before. But it also complicates things as she will lose her residency after 3 years out of SA and thus making it harder to return if things don't work out. Then there is my daughter who turns 7 this year (hey, I only got married at 38). I know she will probably find it the easiest of us, but I still worry about taking her away from where she is happy now. For all of you who have gone through this process - you have guts! Thanks for reading through this long post - any words of encouragement?
  2. Thanks for your replies. I assume it would also be better to deal with the bigger banks when it comes to large international transfers - BoA, Chase, Wells Fargo? other suggestions?
  3. Has anyone had hassles transferring larger amounts of money to their US bank account? I am asking because of this quote from a website called Tax for Expats: FinCEN Form 104: This form is known as a Currency Transaction Report, and it should actually be filed by your bank if your account receives a transfer exceeding $10K. If you’re expecting a large transfer from a foreign account from abroad, take the time to notify your bank of the nature of the transaction so that it’s not reported as ‘suspicious activity.’ Did you notify your US bank before the transfer as advised here?
  4. Old

    Form 8938

    Just have a question about filling form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets). I have 2 RA's in South Africa which I will declare, but in SA interest and dividend income within the funds are not taxable (similar to 401K's I believe). In fact I do not even receive a report on what the interest and dividend income is. So do I need to ask for this information and declare any interest and dividends in these funds on form 8938?
  5. Old

    Sa Id Documents For Kids

    Yes, but to obtain a new passport after age 16, an identity document is needed.
  6. Just wondering if anyone has applied for a SA ID book/smart card while in the US, particularly for kids turning 16. This is on the consulate website: Persons applying for their South African ID book for the first time must submit applications through the nearest Department of Home Affairs in South Africa. South African Embassies and Consulates can only process applications for re-issuance. So does that mean having to travel back to SA to apply for ID for your kids when they turn 16?
  7. Old

    L1A Vs H1B

    H1b is essentially a work permit valid for 3 years, can be extended for 3 years. No guarantee of ever getting green card. Would the employer be willing to consider this: An EB3 Green Card is an employment based, third preference visa that provides lawful permanent residence in the US to professionals, skilled workers and unskilled workers with a permanent offer of employment in the US
  8. Just a question for those of you with children in school - one always hears about the bad things (bullies, drugs etc), but what have your experiences been regarding quality of schooling (public/private), problems encountered, differences to SA schools etc. My little girl will likely have to start in the US in grade 1 and I am somewhat apprehensive as she has been lucky in SA to be able to attend an excellent private school.
  9. Old

    We Want To Go Back

    To anyone contemplating return to SA - if you have been away for a while, the SA you remember may be very different from what you will find. Please don't forget about the crime, that SA is the rape capital of the world, the hijack capital of the world, the (violent) public protest capital of the world, the farm murder capital of the world, the BEE and AA legislation that will likely discriminate against you, laws such as expropriation of property without compensation, high inflation, high taxes with little in return (no SS, Medicare, Medicaid), a weak currency, universities that are rapidly changing and where you will be unlikely to want to send your children, where private school is almost mandatory (if you can afford it) etc. All I am saying is, please think very carefully and return if you wish, but do not be under an illusion of what you will find.
  10. Old

    Citizenship For Kids

    I understand that after 5 years of permanent residencey one can apply for citizenship. It seems that children under the age of 18 then automatically become citizens as well: "You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18." - quote from USCIS website. Anybody with personal experience of this? Also anyone had trouble extending permanent residency after the 10 year period?
  11. Old

    Emigrating In Middle Age

    Thank you for the positive messages and encouragement. Reading on these forums it seems there are those who are really happy in the US and also those who are not. I guess each person's circumstances will differ. We will be going to Washington State, probably one of the smaller towns south of Seattle where it is more affordable. Anyone living in that area and if so any comments? I have visited there twice and it was definitely cold and raining!
  12. At age 48 I am contemplating a move to the USA. This will be an employment sponsored green card. We actually went through this same process 5 years ago and ended up not going (that is another story). However, now that I have another opportunity and my little girl is 6 years old, we must face this decision. It seems much harder the older I get and I will likely be 50 by the time we arrive. I understand we will likely be taking a step back, but I am willing to do that for my daughter if need be. Does anyone here have advise/words of wisdom re taking the plunge at my age and also the effect it may have on my daughter? What are your experiences with kids adapting?
  13. SJ27, do you still have your Standard Bank Isle of Man accounts? They were pretty clear that they will close my accounts. And yes you are right about ABSA not being FICA compliant - Superkruz may have a problem when ABSA asks him to re-FICA (which they are now doing every few years it seems), unless he can still provide proof of a South African address.
  14. Old

    Sars Tax Returns

    JumpingJasonFlash, are you filing yourself or have someone in SA helping you? Does the tax treaty with the US mean that there is no tax payable in SA? Do you have to submit proof of taxes paid in the US? Do you just declare all your US income and show that you paid tax on it in the US? Do you also submit provisional returns or just annually? Sorry for all the questions, but understanding this is stressing me out somewhat
  15. Old

    Sars Tax Returns

    Thanks for that - looks like one has to continue submitting returns. Anyone in the US actually doing this and any difficulties with double taxation etc?
  16. I am also asking this question because I have been told by Standard Bank offshore that they will close my account if I become a US permanent resident. I know that SA banks are all FATCA compliant but I guess that does not mean they won't close your account when they become aware you are a US person? And of course as you have to declare foreign accounts (FBAR), they will notify those banks that you are a US person. So anyone had any hassles with SA bank accounts in this regard?
  17. Old

    Sars Tax Returns

    Does one have to continue to submit annual SARS tax returns after leaving for the US unless emigrating officially?
  18. That sounds good, but how do you change the cell number at your SA bank (I'm with ABSA) to your US cell number from within the US?
  19. Just wondering if anyone has trouble/difficulty maintaining their SA bank account/s while living in the USA? Problems with internet banking transactions - receiving RVN's via SMS etc? . Is it perhaps good to let someone in SA have power of attorney over your accounts to let them transact on your behalf?
  20. Old


    I think there is some confusion about 2 different issues (although linked). FATCA has nothing to do with you reporting any offshore accounts/investments to the IRS - you have to do that anyway. What forms to attach to your tax return are found on the IRS website. But, once again, when FATCA becomes effective, ANY transfer of money out of the US for whatever purpose to a non-compliant financial institution anywhere in the world, will be subject to a 30% withholding tax. The withholding tax is not dependant on you filing the appropriate forms or not, but entirely on the state of compliance of the financial institution to which an outward transfer is made. At this point I cannot get an answer from SA banks if they plan to be compliant - and compliance can take different forms - as said before, easiest way would simply be to no longer hold accounts for US persons. And again, this is probably only important to anyone making substantial transfers of money out of the US, although personally I would hate to pay 30% tax on any amount!
  21. Old


    Spot on Malamute, you're hitting the nail on the head!
  22. Old


    In order to comply with FATCA all non-US financial institutions (FFI's - foreign financial institutions) have to identify which of their clients are US persons. One of the many complaints of FFI's against this legislation is exactly the difficulty in how to identify which of their clients are US persons. Suffice to say that if they have any info that you may be a US person they will verify your status with you and request you to sign a waiver allowing them to report your accounts to the IRS. (you cannot really refuse). You do not have to lodge any additional forms with the IRS apart from the FBAR which you file with your tax return anyway where you disclose your offshore accounts. Don't forget to do that as the IRS will take any discrepancy between what you declare to them and the information they receive from foreign financial institutions very seriously and there are severe penalties. You are quite right, that at the end of the day, there is nothing you can do if your non-US bank closes your account. My aim is to at least get people to contact their non-US banks/financial institutions and ask them what their intentions are and if enough people ask, hopefully they will decide to comply in which case all is OK, except for some severe erosion of the civil liberties of Americans.
  23. Old


    FATCA regulations aim to force all non-US financial institutions, including SA banks to report information on US persons (US citizens & green card holders) who hold accounts with them to the IRS.This is in addition to you declaring any offshore accounts/investments to the IRS on your tax return. If the non- US institution does not comply (and there is great concern over the costs and administrative burdens) there will be a 30% tax withholding on payments originating from the US. Thus if you do make payments to your SA bank account (or any SA bank account), 30% will be deducted as tax and paid to the IRS. Unfortunately I think the easiest (and cheapest) way for banks to be compliant will simply be to close all US person accounts and refuse to deal with them, as is already happening to many US persons who live abroad. The regulations start coming into effect next year. I agree, not a big deal for anyone that no longer has any assets in SA, but will impact anyone who still holds a bank account or any other investment in SA. Also, for anyone contemplating coming back to SA - I advise they do it before these regulations take effect, otherwise repatriating assets might become difficult. Also if you know anyone who is a US person living in SA - please let them know about this - they may worse of all affected.
  24. Old


    I've posted about this before, but would again like to urge all persons in the US who still have SA bank accounts (and need them to remain active) to contact those banks and ask them if they plan to be FATCA compliant. I think SA banks need to know that they probably have many customers who reside in the US - it might be enough to persuade them to be compliant. The alternative is that they will close your account. If you still do not now what FATCA is, please Google it.
  25. Try US Customs website www.cbp.gov. As far as I can understand, collections of coins can be brought in to the US no problem. If the value is more than $10 000 they have to be declared on arrival. The bigger problem is with taking them out of SA - you must comply with exchange controls and depending on the value will have to declare that (probably can include them as household goods). Rare coins should not be a problem but remember that Kruger rands are currency coins and subject to the usual strict controls - as far as I know the limit here is R30 000 - which really means 2 coins at current prices.
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