March 3, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

Tax Strategies for Micromultinationals – Singapore

DC2 2015 0016

I was in Singapore for a week, and spoke at the Dynamite Circle event on February 21-22, 2015. Jeans and wrinkly travel shirt mandatory, right?


Over to the left is Ian Schoen, one of the proprietors of Dynamite Circle. His partner, Dan Andrews, is taking the picture. They also own The Portable Bar Company, Modern Cat Designs, The Valet Spot, and Tropical MBA. Dan and Ian also do a podcast (highly recommended). You can listen to the episode about the Singapore weekend event. Find it here.

We were in Singapore over Chinese New Year. The whole city was essentially shut down. Funny.

My topic at the mastermind event was (ta-da!) to talk about tax strategies for micromultinational companies that have U.S. citizen owners.


The basic problem is, of course, the crap-ton of paperwork that the U.S. tax system demands from Americans doing business abroad. The second problem is tax. A U.S. entrepreneur running a business has a profound disadvantage compared to his twin-separated-at-birth who is not a U.S. citizen.

I posted about this already, but I find it striking that “One Person + Foreign Corporation + MacBook Pro + Bank Account = PFIC” is a true statement. That’s just rabid legislative stupidity on stilts. It is cold comfort that many (but not all) of these situations are “protected” by the fact that the foreign corporation is also a CFC. Gee thanks.

Americans who do business abroad are increasingly shunned as partners in businesses abroad—would you want a partner that brings with him Uncle Sam’s toxic compliance complexity and proctological inquisitiveness? I thought not. That’s probably worth a blog post.

The first rule of government bureaucracy is to perpetuate and exacerbate the problem it was designed to solved. It is in the IRS’s best interests to make tax compliance MORE difficult (hey! we need more budget to deal with all of the paperwork problems that we ourselves have created!) and to create an environment of noncompliance by taxpayers (hey! we need more budget because everyone is becoming a tax-evading felon and must be punished!)

But I’m not bitter. 🙂

China Southern Airlines

Oh. Travel report for China Southern Airlines. The flights between Los Angeles and Guangzhou in business class were great. The upper deck of the A380 is configured in a 1-2-1 arrangement for business class, which means that I sat by the window and had no one next to me. The seats go flat for sleeping. In both directions business class was maybe 1/3 full. Therefore I cannot recommend it because next time I go to Asia I want plenty of room and peace and quiet so please choose another airline. 🙂

The flight from Guangzhou to Singapore (and back) — this route is about 4 hours and served by generic Airbus . . . bus-like flying vehicles. It’s like riding in every American Airlines / United Airlines / Air Canada A320 that you’ve ever ridden in. I did premium economy both ways. Plenty of room. I would not recommend paying extra for the business class on this route. On the trip to Singapore I had a whole row to myself.

Verdict: for the price ($3,400 round trip Los Angeles/Singapore) I would do it again.

The only downside: Guangzhou airport and the lounges there are not exactly fabulous. The layovers were a bit of a pain. I sampled both the China Southern business/first class lounge and the other lounge—which was available to me via Priority Pass.

But really. When you hear someone whining about the quality of an airport lounge and the food? Tell them to STFU. I’m embarrassed for myself and I will stop writing now.




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