Tag Archives: FinCEN

Casey Research Articles About Gold Coins For Storing Wealth Offshore

Continuing on the subject of gold and storing it offshore, I’d like to bring up two articles I recently read on the Casey Research website. Casey Research was founded by Doug Casey, an American author, publisher, and investor, who also serves as chairman of the Delray Beach, Florida-based investment research firm. Regular readers know I’ve mentioned Casey before on this blog.

Back on May 18, 2017, an article entitled “Doug Casey’s Two Top Ways to Store Wealth Abroad” appeared on CaseyResearch.com. In it, International Man Senior Editor Nick Giambruno (who I’ve also mentioned in the past) asked Casey, “What forms of savings are good candidates to take abroad?” He replied:

Everybody should own gold coins because they are money in its most basic form-something that a lot of people have forgotten. Gold is the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. And if your gold is outside the US, it gives you another degree of insulation should the United States decide that you shouldn’t own it.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“It gives you another degree of insulation should the United States decide that you shouldn’t own it.”

I would add “domestically” to the end of that statement.

More recently, a piece entitled “The Ultimate 4-Step ‘Freedom Insurance’ Plan” appeared on the Casey Research website. In the interview of Nick Giambruno by Chris Lowe, editor of Bonner & Partners’ Inner Circle, gold coins were mentioned again as “the easiest way to lessen the political risk to your savings.” From the October 3 exchange:

LOWE: What form of gold are we talking about- bullion, gold coins, ETFs?
GIAMBRUNO: Physical gold is your best option. Then you don’t have any counterparty risk. Having some gold in your possession in your home country is good. But having another stash in a foreign country is even better. You can either store it at a foreign property. Or you can store it in a non-bank safe deposit box.
LOWE: Why not a safe deposit box in a bank?
GIAMBRUNO: When President Roosevelt criminalized the possession of gold in 1933, federal agents went through bank safe deposit boxes searching for undeclared gold. Today, bank safe deposit boxes fall under the regulations and jurisdictions of banks. If there’s a bank holiday, like the one in Greece… or a bail-in like the one in Cyprus… or any event that shuts down or otherwise affects the banking industry, your bank safe deposit box is at risk. That’s not the case with non-bank vaulting and storage companies.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The subject of transporting gold coins out of the United States came up in the interview. From the exchange:

LOWE: What about gold coins? Can you just hop on a plane to Colombia or Argentina with gold coins in your pocket?
GIAMBRUNO: Well, it’s a gray area. And because it’s a gray area, I wouldn’t recommend taking more than a couple of gold coins with you when traveling abroad. The average TSA agent has probably never seen a gold coin in his life. He probably wouldn’t know what it was if he found one. But, if he thought it was something suspicious, he would confiscate it and let the courts sort it out. And that’s no fun. You’d have to go to court to get your metal back, and that would involve costly legal fees. I’ve taken gold coins across numerous borders, and I haven’t had a problem. But I’ve heard horror stories. And from personal experience, I can tell you that gold coins set off the X-ray machine. So there’s a decent chance the TSA folks- or their foreign counterparts- will find them. And remember, if you take more than $10,000 of “cash” in or out of the US, you need to file a “Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments” with FinCEN, a branch of the Treasury Department that deals with financial “crimes.”

Giambruno ultimately concluded:

You’re better off buying coins when you’re already in your destination country. Taking gold coins with you is just too risky.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Back on March 20, 2014, I blogged about transporting precious metals out of the United States to place in an overseas safe deposit box. In that post, I pointed out offshore expert Mark Nestmann discussed the process in-depth on the Financial Sense website in September 2012. His thoughts on the matter?

While it’s perfectly legal to move precious metals in or out of the United States, you must understand the reporting rules before you begin. Otherwise, your risk confiscation of your metals along with possible civil and criminal sanctions. You’re much better off paying an armored security service such as Brinks or ViaMat to transport the metals for you.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the two articles on the Casey Research site here and here, respectively.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular individual/business should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)


Related Reading: Reporting Requirements For Transporting Currency In/Out Of The U.S., Other Countries

Back on March 19, 2014, I asked the following question on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes:

Suppose an individual decides to take currency out of the United States for the purpose of:

1. Storing it in their offshore safe deposit box (prepping for an anticipated major crisis or geographically diversifying legally-obtained and reported cash in a private vault perhaps?), and/or

2. Buying assets like precious metals for that storage container

Just how much money can be taken out of the country?

Do regular readers remember what the answer was?

From that post:

From the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website:

Money and Other Monetary Instruments

You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, you will need to report it to CBP. Ask the CBP officer for the Currency Reporting Form (FinCen 105). The penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

“Money” means monetary instruments and includes U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, travelers’ checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form.

“You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, you will need to report it to CBP.”

Got it.

A couple of days ago, I noticed Andrew Henderson over at the Nomad Capitalist website had recently blogged about reporting requirements for transporting currency in/out of the country as well. The scope of Henderson’s focus was somewhat bigger though. He wrote on February 13:

We compiled the currency reporting requirements for a number of countries to show you which countries are easy to carry cash in, and which are less forgiving. Make sure you note the local currencies used…

Henderson went on to discuss the currency reporting requirements for Australia, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States (in that order). He also touched on precious metals and gems.

It’s an insightful read, which you can view in its entirety over on the Nomad Capitalist website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)


Florida Man Fined $2.2 Million For Not Filing FBAR For Swiss Bank Account Holdings

I can’t stress how important it is to keep on top of U.S. government reporting requirements for offshore assets. Joseph Ax reported on the Reuters website last night:

A Florida man must pay more than $2.2 million in civil penalties for failing to file the required forms for his Swiss bank account, a federal jury said on Wednesday.

After a trial that began May 19, the jury found Carl Zwerner liable for failing to report the account to the U.S. Treasury Department from 2004 to 2006, though it found that he does not owe a penalty for 2007, court filings show.

U.S. tax regulations require all American taxpayers with at least $10,000 in a foreign bank account to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as a FBAR, in order to assess the proper taxes…

Regular readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes should be acquainted with FBAR by now. I blogged back on April 15:

What exactly is FBAR?

According to the Internal Revenue Service website:

If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service by filing electronically a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)…

Who must file an FBAR?

The IRS specifies:

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

1. The United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and

2. The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to be reported…

So, $2.2 million in civil penalties for failing to file FBAR. Mr. Zwerner must have had many millions of dollars in that Swiss account to get slapped with a fine of that magnitude, right? Wrong. Ax added:

The Justice Department, which brought the lawsuit against Zwerner, sought to penalize him 50 percent of the value of the account in each of the four years he allegedly failed to file the reports.

The Swiss account, held at Dutch bank ABN AMRO, was worth about $1.5 million during the period in question, according to court documents…

$1.5 million. And a $2.2 million fine? Keep in mind that 50 percent penalty Ax noted and what I blogged in my April 15 post:

Failure to file the FBAR could result in harsh penalties. The IRS warns:

A person required to file an FBAR who fails to properly file a complete and correct FBAR may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation for nonwillful violations that are not due to reasonable cause. For willful violations, the penalty may be the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the account at the time of the violation, for each violation…

Ouch. I wouldn’t mess with Uncle Sam when it comes to this sort of thing. Stay tuned as I continue to blog about U.S. government reporting requirements like FBAR and Form 8938/FATCA and what they mean for offshore safe deposit box holders.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)


Ax, Joseph. “Florida man must pay $2.2 million penalty for Swiss bank account.” Reuters. 28 May 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/29/us-usa-florida-taxavoidance-idUSKBN0E904R20140529). 29 May 2014.