Paulson's Puerto Rico Paradise Lures Rich Fleeing Taxes
June 25, 2014
Under Puerto Rico’s new rules, an individual who moves to the island pays no local or federal capital-gains tax -- capital gains are charged based on your tax home rather than where you earn them -- and no local taxes on dividend or interest income for 20 years. Even someone working for a mainland company who is a resident of the island would be exempt from paying U.S. federal taxes on his salary.
Struggling to emerge from an almost decade-long economic slump, the Puerto Rican government signed a law in early 2012 that creates a tax haven for U.S. citizens. If they live on the island for at least 183 days a year, they pay minimal or no taxes, and unlike Singapore or Bermuda, Americans don’t have to turn in their passports. About 200 traders, private-equity moguls and entrepreneurs have already moved or committed to moving, according to Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, and billionaire John Paulson is spearheading a drive to entice others to join them.
In October 2011, protesters marched by the homes of Manhattan’s billionaires, including Paulson’s. A little more than a year later, President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in an election that highlighted the latter’s wealth and private-equity background.