I Love Eduardo Saverin’s Move to Become an Ex-Pat

I write this post on the eve of facebook going public tomorrow (actually today since I am writing this after 12am), and while I don’t get the hype about the facebook IPO this is a buzz that is unavoidable.  Part of that buzz is the news story that one of the co-founders of facebook, Eduardo Saverin, is renouncing his American citizenship, and of course people’s minds go straight to the fact that he stands to save hundreds of millions of dollars by doing so.  He is denying that is the reason, but I say so what!? Actually, my heart says “Good for him!”

His critics obviously include politicians attempting to garner the attention of the public,

Senator Charles Schumer told a news briefing on Thursday: “It’s infuriating to see someone sell out the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire … We plan to put a stop to this tax avoidance scheme.”

Schumer and Senator Bob Casey, both Democrats, said at the briefing that they were proposing legislation to crack down on what they see as expatriate tax avoidance.

Under the bill, expatriates worth $2 million or more, or with average income tax liability exceeding $148,000 over the past five years, would be presumed to have renounced their citizenship for tax avoidance purposes.

These high-income expatriates would get a chance to prove otherwise to the Internal Revenue Service, but if they could not do so, then they would face a 30-percent tax on future investment gains, no matter where they were residing.

So long as the taxpayers failed to pay these taxes, they would not be allowed to re-enter the United States. “We simply cannot allow the ultra-wealthy to write their own
rules,” Casey said.

As often is the case when Senator Schumer provides sound bites, I have no idea what the hell he is talking about.  Does he mean that every foreigner who comes here for school should pay taxes forever?  Why does anyone have a duty to continue to pay taxes after those services stop?  I think an analogous situation would be when I go to Dunkin Donuts.  There is a tip jar, I rarely use it, if you want more money from me charge me more.  If Mr. Schumer wanted more tax dollars then the rules should have forced him to pay more.  Crying about it afterwards seems petty and childish.

At least, Mr. Schumer is trying to make sense…Mr. Casey just seems like he is jumping on the class warfare bandwagon.  How did Mr. Saverin make his own rules?! There are laws and rules regarding one’s action to expatriate. You know who created them? Congress. Mr. Saverin is just following them, if you don’t like the rules, change them that is why you are a freaking Congressman.

I truly believe that no one has to patriotic duty to overpay taxes.  My feelings go so far as to say you can leave your Country for greener tax pastures.  Is it a move that I would make? Probably not, but unlike Mr. Saverin, my family is here, I was born here, I have no business interests outside the US, my friends are here and I feel a tie to America that he obviously does not. I am a HUGE fan of my Country, but this isn’t Mr. Saverin’s Country, or alternatively, he doesn’t feel the bond that I do.

This situation reminds me of  one of my favorite legal quotes by Judge Learned Hand in Helvering v. Gregory (1934),

Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes and public duty to pay more than the law demands

This wasn’t said last month or even last year Judge Hand uttered those words in 1934! For reference purposes, the modern income tax system was created in 1913.  If arranging one’s affairs means leaving this Country then so be it!

Hat tip to you Mr. Saverin.

Yes, I see that it is sort of ironic that I claim to not understand the hype, but this is the second time I am writing about Facebook in the span of a week. 

53 Responses to I Love Eduardo Saverin’s Move to Become an Ex-Pat

  1. I disagree with you. I think it’s a shifty move. He was a US citizen working on US soil for a US company 100% of the time that he was involved with Facebook. If he wouldn’t have gone to school here, lived here, and had the available means of working that led him to his Facebook fortune, he wouldn’t have said fortune. Therefore, I do believe that paying American taxes on it isn’t outside the realm of reason.

    • And during that time he was working here, he paid his taxes. When he left/leaves he will pay his Ex-Pat taxes. Other than that he owes nothing to any soil…if they wanted more they (Congress) should have acted sooner and “fixed” the tax code.

      He is playing by their rules.

      • if he’s playing by their rules then why is he lying about his reason for leaving? Why can’t he just come out and say that he is leaving so he can avoid paying some taxes?

        Playing by the rules means you do everything forthright, above board, and honestly. The moment he lied about why he’s leaving he ceased following their rules.

        The man is a crook who is stiffing our country.

        • Maybe he’s lying about it for the same reason Warren Buffet has been on his PR blitz to “tax the rich” – because it looks better than the truth. If Saverins came out and said his motivation was to pay less taxes he’d be demonized with no room for debate.

          Similarly, if Buffet was honest about his tax minimizing strategies and why his secretary pays a higher tax rate, he’d be just another greedy rich guy.

            • That’s the point and that is why he is NOT playing by the rules. If he tells the truth and let’s the chips fall where they may then I will accept that he is playing by the rules but if he lies about his true motivation for leaving the US then he is not playing by the rules. My point is that “playing by the rules” includes being honest and totally above board and taking any pain that comes your way for your decision. The moment you lie to reduce your pain you then are gaming the system. Period.

          • He would be in trouble with the IRS if he just came out and told the truth that he is leaving to avoid taxes. That is why he is lying. But even if he wouldn’t be in trouble with the IRS if he gave his true reason for leaving the US (to avoid taxes) then playing by the rules still would require that he come out and publicly state the true reason for his exit and take his punishment, including being demonized. That is the point to playing by the rules. Playing by the rules means you can’t be a filthy liar about it. You have to lay your cards face up on the table and take your just deserts. Period. The man is not playing by the rules because his cards are not face up on the table. Anyone who thinks the man is playing by the rules is really an apoligist for slimeballs and scammers.

    • He’s saving tens of millions.

      I could not agree more with Evan. He holds no duty to maximize his taxes. Congressmen chasing him down with their hands out for purely political gamesmanship are pathetic parasites.

      • It is gross, isn’t it? It is like when they go after millionaires who play by the rules they are given… if you don’t like the rules change them, but don’t get mad at people who follow them and are just smarter.

  2. I agree with you Evan. He played by the rules and if he honestly has no intentions on coming back to the US I see no problem with it. Now if he was solely doing it to skip out on the taxes and would otherwise keep his citizenship and come back to the US that is shifty, but if he doesn’t want to come back he played by the rules so good for him.

  3. Slick move, but he was playing by the rules and seems to want to live outside the country. You’re right. Politicians going on a witch hunt to show that they are looking out for the general public’s best interests. Interesting how the IPO fizzled out today.

    • Even more interesting how it is doing today. That being said, I believe FB is going to be a decade+ experiment and only time will tell how it did as a business.

  4. Your lack of character is obvious by way of your stated reason for why you don’t leave tips at dunkin doughnuts. If they charged you more for the doughnuts that money would not go to the waitress staff; it would go to the owner of dunkin doughnuts. When you leave a tip it is you paying the waitress staff for waiting on you. You’ve found yourself a fake reason for not tipping the waitress staff. When it comes to paying tips, we customers are on the merit system because we do not have to pay, as you do not pay. You are a walking billboard for why we need to tax people and why we need a bunch of laws for everything. People like you simply can not be trusted to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Only a fool would care what some creep like you thinks. It’s unamerican to not leave a tip.

    • Only a fool would take to heart the words of a person who hides behind his computer screen and throws stones.

      As for the tipping comment, the counter people at Dunkin’ DONUTS are not wait staff. The name “wait staff” is very straightforward–they wait on you. The people at Dunkin’ simply take your money and hand you your food. They don’t bring you refills, they don’t check on you to see if everything is satisfactory, and they don’t go out of their way to make your visit enjoyable in any way.

      By your definition of “American”, we would have to tip someone for holding the door for us or anyone who hands us anything during the course of a purchase. Get over yourself already.

      • I’m not hiding behind anything. The internet is anonymous and I wish to remain anonymous. That aside, you comment that people do not tip doormen but that is incorrect. People do tip doormen. You are all about stiffing people. Wow what a novel approach to reaching the good life. Stiff people. The money that you are saving by stiffing people is dirty money and that means that even if you make it rich by the “stiffing” method it is no better than being a drug-dealer or a thief because stiffing people is a dirty way to make money just like drug-dealing and thieving.

        • I understand anonymity as I don’t provide my last name nor a picture…but you just sealed your fate as a lunatic when you tried to compare stiffing someone of a tip (which don’t even agree to whether not tipping someone at Starbucks or Dunks is a stiff) to drug dealing? Jebus.

          • Our country is founded on capatilism. People getting money for their services (work). Stiffing someone goes totally against the grain of what America stands for. It is so dirty to stiff someone that I do morally compare it to drug-dealing to get money. Of course one (drug dealing) is illegal and the other (stiffing people) is not illegal but to take the legalities out of the equation and to only talk about morality I do think that stiffing people is at least as morally dirty as drug dealing. At least a drug dealer is giving someone something for the money he gets, but the “stiffer” is basically getting someone else to work for him for free or for substantially less than what the work is worth. I think that the money saved by the “stiffer” is just as dirty (in a different way) as the money a drug dealer earns by selling drugs.

              • come on man, stop faking like you don’t know which direction is north. every adult in america knows that some people get paid by employers and some people get tips or a combo of both. just like this FB character you use deceit because you can’t tell the truth and win the debate. please stop lying. please stop fraudulently pretending that you don’t realize some people get part, or all, of their incomes from the customers themselves.

        • Actually, I never made mention of doormen. I referenced the act of holding a door open–meaning ANYONE who opens a door for us, or who holds a door and allows us to enter ahead of them.

          Besides, “stiffing” is the act of not paying someone what they are due. A doorman or a server aren’t due anything other than the pay they get for their job. A tip is an acknowledgement of gratitude for service that was worthy of additional compensation. That is why in many places a tip is referred to as a gratuity. If a waiter spilled tomato soup on your newly purchased and pressed white dress shirt, thereby ruining it, would you tip them? Probably not. Are you stiffing them? Not at all, since you are not grateful for that occurrence.

          I won’t even dignify the drug correlation with a response.

    • Those working at Dunks are not waitstaff and as such earn a $X/hour which is likely to be more than that of your random waiter who I normally tip at 18 to 20%.

      Do you really believe that there is a connection between me not tipping for my coffee at an establishment which doesn’t have a waiter and increasing taxes by the government being necessary? That is lunacy.

      • Firstly, I meant to say that tipping is an honor system duty for us customers, rather than a merit system duty. My mistake may have made it difficult to perceive my point. Let me re-state my point: We are on the honor system when it comes to paying waitress staff and that honor system is called “tip” and you are living proof why the honor system in general doesn’t work. You are living proof why we need to tax everything in this detailed and tedious manner – because you (and the people like you) can not be trusted to the honest right thing. If people like you would stop being creeps then we could have some kind of honor system but creeps will be creeps and if we had an honor system of sorts when it comes to taxes then people like you would weasle your out of paying taxes and come up with some phony justification for your irresponsible behavior.

        Plain and simply put, you’re a deadbeat who has to be forced to do the right thing and forced to pay his due. Whenever you get the chance to shortchange someone you will do so. You are the reason why we need not only a detailed complex tax system but you are also why we need laws for everything.

        You and your ilk scream about how we have too many laws and how we need to simplify the tax system and the reason that you want less laws and simplifying of the tax system is because you figure that would aid you in your effors to cheat, be irresponsible, and be a deadbeat as you come up with phony excuses to shirk your duty and responsibilities.

        I was not going to vote this time around. I have only voted twice in my 50+ years on this planet. But you just gave me a reminder why I need to vote, and why I need to vote democrat. It’s clear that guys like you are sniffing the ground for morsels and you are searching for ways to cheat the system so guys like me have to vote so we can protect the country from guys like you.

        • Ha, love the vitriol.

          I think Evan is not suggesting one short-changes a waitstaff. Rather he is referencing when one is standing in line at a shop like StarBucks or DnD where you order at the register. In our culture, tipping during these circumstances (into a tip jar) is far more optional than if he went to Denny’s for a full stack of pancakes sitting in a booth where I’m sure Evan would tip according to societal norms.

          Evan, file this under reason #476 why you should never use an oversimplified analogy in a post, especially one as hot button as tipping

          • it looks to me like his whole idea for making money is to stiff people. He stiffs the waitress help at dunkin doughnuts and he’s cool with it if this facebook character stiffs America. I am not about stiffing people. One can make it without stiffing people. Only tacky people use stiffing other people as a means to success. That facebook guy stiffed us and the author of the above article stiffs watress staff. Wow I’m real impressed. Not.

            • Now you are back on track Russ (Can I call you Russ? I am going to either way). Tell me how Eduardo Stiffed America? America provided the rules he played the game by those rules.

              • He stiffed america because it was by way of his residing in america, and getting the benefit of the things america has to offer, that he made all the money that he made and now he slithers his way out of the country without paying the same amount in taxes as he would have paid if he had stayed. He stiffed us.

                America is going to get him. He won’t be allowed back. He has familial and business interests in America. Get him Schumer….teach these America-stiffers and dunkin-doughnut-stiffers that stiffing people is not a proper way to get ahead. Treat these low-character people like the dogs that they are.

  5. Hey, I’m well-off and I got to that point without stiffing lower class waitress help. I guess you are proud of yourself for becoming a millionaire by stiffing lower class waitress staff out of tips. You may think you’ve “made it” but you have not because “making it” isn’t just about the money one has but how they got that money. You have saved your money by stiffing other people.

    I understand guys like you complaining about the government giving money to people for nothing but then I come across evidence that guys like you don’t even want to pay people for their work. The waitress staff at dunkin doughnuts work hard and they are not wealthy people. You have “made it” by stiffing hard working people who are lower class workers. Tacky.

  6. It’s an interesting story to say the least. While he’s not the first (nor the last), he’s probably the biggest dollar value leaving.

    Some of the issue rises from why he was here to begin with (his wealthy family fled South America because he showed up on a kidnapping list), so that’s the basis of the “safety” comment of Schumer. But some of the argument makes sense. The US provided the safety, the education system that allowed him to meet Zuck, the (relatively) open web that allowed FB to be built in the first place, the US court system that worked in his favor to allow him to keep a portion of the company, and then the US capital markets that allowed it to become a publicly traded company.

    All that being said, he played by the rules that existed. Will the rules change? Probably.

    • I think the list (which is published annually) has a couple hundred on it. Not many considering the amount coming in or wanting to come in.

      I agree with you that the rules will change, but will they change for the better? Lets say his parents decided not to come here, but went elsewhere would Facebook have happened? How can anyone say definitively yes or no. Sort of like if my parents lived across town then I wouldn’t have met the friends I did, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into the college I did, maybe I wouldn’t have met The Wife and then my boy would have looked completely different.

      • Across the street != across the country.

        Would FB had still been created with Saverin? Possibly. But would Saverin been a part of it? Most likely not. The US created the environment that he was able to participate in that gave birth to Facebook.

        • “The US created the environment that he was able to participate in that gave birth to Facebook.”

          So to what extent does he owe the US? I would say to follow each and every law on the books. Which he did when he filled out the proper paperwork to leave.

          • he’s lying about his motivation for leaving the US. PLaying by the rules means you have to tell the truth. If you lie then you are not playing by the rules.

            • What in the hell are you talking about? He said he isn’t leaving for tax reasons – what else would you like him to do? Swear to you. Please re-read your comments you are borderline crazy.

              I should mention that like my post said even if it were tax reasons I say GOOD FOR HIM.

              • I am not crazy but you are an apologist for slimballs and scammers. He lied about his reason/motivation for leaving. That is the point. He said he is leaving because he wants to live in Singapore, but the real reason he is leaving is because he wants to avoid paying as much taxes. That is the point. He is not playing by the rules because he is lying. In order to be playing by the rules he would have to lay his cards face up on the table, admit he is leaving for the very exact and specific purpose of reducing his tax liability, and take his punishment whatever it may be.

                You seem to think that lying is allowed as part of playing by the rules but it is not. If one is playing by the rules then the person does not have to lie. You toss around statements about other people being crazy but you are the true crazy one because you are all too happy to let these kinds of rightwing ripoff take place. Of course the FB snake is lying but you accept him at his word because doing so follows right wing ideology so it doesn’t matter to you that he is lying.

  7. a point that you are missing is that it IS illegal to leave the country for the exact and specific purpose of avoiding paying taxes. so he is not truly following the rules. he has to lie about his reason for leaving the US. if he told the truth – that he’s leaving to avoid some taxes – then he would be in trouble. so you are saying that he is playing by the rules but you are wrong because “Playing by the rules” does not include lying to cover up your true motive for doing something. Sometimes the only difference between a good guy and a bad guy is his motivation. I would feel better about it if he came out and admitted the true reason he is leaving (to stiff us on the taxes) rather than lying and concealing his true reason. When you lie you are not playing by the rules.

      • I think that if he came out and admitted that he is leaving to reduce his tax bill then the IRS might be able to seize more of his money. In any case, even if his tax debt would not increase if he told the truth the point is that he should pay whatever cost there is to his actions, including damage to his public image – that is playing by the rules. It is not playing by the rules to use the phony excuse that he wants to live in Singapore so he can maintain an aura of respectability that he does not deserve. If the cost of him reducing his tax debt is only that he gets known for being a tax deadbeat then he should tell the truth and just come out and say that he is leaving to reduce his tax burden and deal with whatever negative stigma is attached to his image. That is playing by the rules. It is not playing by the rules when you lie to limit either your financial loss or damage to your public image. Playing by the rules means you lay your cards face up on the table and take whatever hit is coming to you. He is a spineless, tax-deadbeat, cowardly, america-stiffer is what he is.

        And if you had any sense you would be angry at him for cheating your country but sense is something you are not endowed with. The problem with you is that you are viewing this entire incident through your GOP-LOW-TAX prism instead of looking at the situation for what it is. listen GOPNUTJOB, the way you get lower taxes is by winning elections and then your guy gets in and you lower taxes. That is the way you do it. You don’t do it by coming up with phony lying reasons to reduce your tax debt and then skip out of the country. That is the cowardly deadbeat way to do it. It’s like you are not even on America’s side.

        • Lol So your contention is that because he hurt his public reputation he should send more money to the Treasury? Seriously?

          When I say the rules I am talking about the Federal Penal and Internal Revenue Code not the rules made up by some loon in Virginia lol

          • You have a comprehension problem. I did not say anything of the sort. I said that in order to get credit for “playing by the rules” he has to tell the truth, lay his cards face up on the table, and take whatever punishment comes his way, including BOTH any potential legal punishment and/or any possible punishment in the form of damage to his public image. That is the point. I’m saying that part of playing by the rules means you be honest and accept whatever consequences that go with what you have done. People consider what he did to be a tax dodge and they think of people like him as tax dodgers and he should be honest and come out and admit to it that he is a tax dodger and what he did is a tax dodge. If he does not admit it then he is not playing by the rules. It doesn’t say anywhere in the rules that it’s OK to lie so as long as he is lying he is not playing by the rules. Period.

  8. Ling is not part of playing by the rules.
    The “stiffer” is lying about his motivation for leaving america. The moment he began lying he stopped playing by the rules. The rulebook does not allow lying. If the “stiffer” wants it said that the “stiffer” is playing by the rules then the “stiffer” must tell the truth. As long as he continues his lying it is incorrect to say that he is simply following the rules. He should tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.

    • What if he said – I don’t want to pay the tax rather than his claim that his life is in Singapore would that make you feel better? The law Sen. Schumer is proposing is just that proposed not law yet.

      • if he were to tell the truth about why he is leaving then I would admit that he is playing by the rules, but until he comes clean and tells the total truth he is a swindler who is using deceit to ripoff the American people, including you. Look, if he comes clean and is completely cleared of wrongdoing then of course I would have no choice but to admit that he is playing by the rules because he laid his cards face-up on the table and the legal system could not find any violations by him. But as long as he is lying he is preventing a total-and-full disclosure of what he has done and we can’t charge him with anything. He is hiding his wrongful conduct behind a phony rational/excuse for his departure.

  9. God Bless Eduardo Saverin!!!

    You cannot resign your citizenship if you were born in the United States & are in the Unwed States. If you resign your citizenship at a USA embassy or consult in a country where you cannot work you become stateless. Uncle Sam is experiencing record high numbers of US Citizens attempting to renounce their citizenship & honestly HE JUST WONT LET YOU DO IT AT ALL. I’ve t…ried!!
    The United States citizens that pay taxes are for some reason still falling into this we’re number 1 garbage. They are wrong. The USA’s Fiscal problems make Europe look like the state of Delaware to the USA’s. When & ( notice that word when ) When the USA defaults & the welfare, subsidized housing rents, police don’t get paid, prison guards don’t get paid, social security checks stop, millions & millions of people stop getting their government issued drugs, picture 25 million obese uneducated American kids without their ritalin & on & on & on then the civil unrest will begin in 50 states. If the United States has more of it’s soldiers killing themselves then dieing in action now in our pretend war in Afghanistan what will it be like when the riots start here?

    IF YOU HAVE DUAL RESIDENCY ANYONE IN THE WORLD IT WOULD BE VERY WISE TO LEAVE THE USA & STAY AS FAR WAY FROM IT AS POSSIBLE. FOR ALL OF YOU PEOPLE WHO WISH TO RENOUNCE YOUR CITIZENSHIP THAT WERE BORN IN THE USA GET THAT IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If you pay taxes & leave who is gong to support this welfare state? There is no IMF to bail out Uncle Sam.

Leave a reply


4 + = 10