Home > Facebook, Hypocrisy, It's all about money, It's just wrong, Technology, Why it's all gone horribly wrong? > I can’t seem to find Eduardo Saverin on FB…where does he live now? #FB #taxes #USA #home #Brazil #bloomberg

I can’t seem to find Eduardo Saverin on FB…where does he live now? #FB #taxes #USA #home #Brazil #bloomberg


Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

May 17 (Bloomberg) — Facebook’s initial public offering
reminds us of a story.
Once upon a time, there was a young man who fled his
homeland (Brazil) because his life was in danger (kidnappers).
Like so many before him, he came to the United States. There, in
the safety of the freest, most dynamic country on earth, he got
a superb education (Harvard), the opportunity to exercise his
entrepreneurial zeal (Facebook) — and the protections of the
U.S. legal system to safeguard the fruits of his labor.
That man is Eduardo Saverin, age 30, co-founder of Facebook
and someone who stands to be worth about $2.89 billion when the
company’s shares are loosed on the world this week. He’s also
someone who, coincidentally, has renounced his U.S. citizenship
in exchange for residency in Singapore.
Singapore has much to commend it. Superb food. Clean
streets. Lush plant life. It also has very favorable rates of
taxation on capital gains — zero percent versus 15 percent in
the U.S.
It seems fair to ask, then, if Saverin switched national
allegiances to avoid U.S. taxes. He says he filed his papers to
give up citizenship in January 2011 and that the move “had
nothing to do with taxes.” And we take him at his word. But the
timing of the news — the IRS released his name April 30 as part
of its quarterly publication of “Individuals Who Have Chosen to
Expatriate” — has raised the issue, and the circumstantial math
is compelling: Saverin’s move could save him $67 million in
federal taxes, according to Bloomberg.
One can believe, as we do, in free markets, open borders,
and the need for goods and capital, human and otherwise, to flow
across them with ease, and still feel mildly unsettled by
Saverin’s decision — just as we find it discomfiting when U.S.
corporations contort themselves to seek out overseas tax havens.
A debt is owed to the country you call home, whether you
were born here or arrived under duress. Arguably, that debt is
deepened if the freedoms your country afforded you helped create
the conditions for your success.
Whatever you want to say about U.S. tax rates — and we
have argued for reform and a flattening and simplifying of rates
— they are “our” tax rates, the ones our balky democracy has
put in place. And whatever you want to say about Mark
Zuckerberg, Facebook’s boss, he made the choice to pay his taxes
in California — his golden, struggling, adopted state, whose
coffers he is sure to enrich.
As for Saverin, well, it would have been nice if he’d made
a similar choice. Since he didn’t, perhaps the best we can wish
for him now is a longer than normal wait at U.S. customs.

Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View.

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