Obama bundler works as Virgin Islands tax adviser

March 1, 2012


A little over a month ago, the Democratic National Committee lambasted Mitt Romney for not initially reporting funds in “notorious tax havens” scattered around the world.

It turns out a campaign “bundler” for President Obama is in the business of helping people, like Romney, who are looking to take advantage of offshore tax law.

Marjorie Rawls Roberts, who according to the Obama campaign volunteered to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for the president’s re-election effort, is an attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands who offers clients guidance on the islands’ perk-filled tax system.

According to her bio, she “specializes in the areas of tax, investment, and offshore funds.” This includes helping clients on tax planning and “qualification for one of the economic incentives available in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

The Obama campaign has not responded to a request for comment for this story.

The Obama White House, though, has decried the use of “offshore tax havens” to avoid paying higher tax rates.

The U.S. Virgin Islands does not have the same international notoriety as a tax haven as, say, the Cayman Islands — where Romney was parking some of his investment money, though the Romney campaign has said the money was taxed just as it would be in the U.S.

But the Virgin Islands offer substantial benefits to those who qualify.

Businesses, for instance, that meet certain conditions are legally eligible for a 90 percent tax cut.

It’s also the only place under the U.S. flag where a non-American can set up a tax-free company.

The federal government has cracked down on the tax system in the U.S. Virgin Islands over the past decade, requiring residents filing there to provide extensive information to the IRS.

Roberts, as part of her work, provides helpful pointers to clients on how to meet these requirements — namely, hyper-specific residency standards.

In one 2007 column, Roberts noted that filers are supposed to spend 183 days a year in the Virgin Islands, or average that over a three-year period. But she said tax filers can also meet that standard by making sure they limit their time in the United States. “A person who spends considerable periods at sea — the eight-month trip sailing from island to island in the Caribbean comes to mind — would not lose bona fide residency in the (Virgin Islands),” she wrote.

Or, she wrote, somebody could just make sure they spend more time in the Virgin Islands than the United States, provided they don’t make more than $3,000 — investment income like interest would not count toward that threshold.

To read more, visit: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/02/29/obama-bundler-works-as-virgin-islands-tax-adviser/#ixzz1npcx8Col

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