A growing number of ultrawealthy people are “jurisdiction shopping,” often seeking greener tax pastures, according to a recent article on Wealth-X News.
Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong are currently the hot landing spots for billionaires wishing to take up a new residence, according to the new UBS and Wealth-X Billionaire census.
Only 36% of Singapore’s billionaire population, 34% of Switzerland’s and 25% of Hong Kong’s grew up locally.
So far in 2013, a record 2,369 individuals have either renounced their U.S. citizenship or terminated their long-term residency, the article said, citing Treasury Department statistics. The previous annual record was 1,781 in 2011.
The chief reasons for these departures were the long arm of the IRS’ taxing authority and strict disclosure requirements about foreign bank accounts and assets, according to the article.
Among high-profile individuals who gave up their U.S. passports in recent years were Eduardo Saverin, a Facebook co-founder; songwriter Denise Rich; and oil heiress Isabel Getty.
They had lots of company from other countries. Last year, for example, the French actor Gérard Depardieu made headlines when he decamped to Russia to avoid his country’s proposed millionaire’s tax.
Arton Capital, a global financial advisor, estimates that 20,000 families look for migration solutions every year, according to Wealth-X. The firm predicts that some 20 countries will compete for their business in coming years.
Caroline Garnham, the chief executive of family office advisor Family Bhive, told Wealth-X that ease of mobility combined with expanding wealth was making nationality swapping more common.
Tax havens, including Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, welcome them.