Beer Chang

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Everything posted by Beer Chang

  1. Anyone have any experience with the pros and cons of getting a 60 Day Tourist Visa in the States and extending in Thailand for 30 additional days rather than getting a 90 day visa in the States? Think to get the 90 day you may need to be 50+ and also provide financial info but would save a trip to Immigration once in Thailand. For those near Jomtien the trip to Immigration is easy but in other areas could require boat or bus trips.
  2. I renewed in Phnom Penh. A nice little friendly embassy there but security is tight with a double entrance. Right accross from Wat Phnom. Saved me the hassle of going to Bangkok. No problem extending my Cambodian visa evern though the original entry was in my old passport. Do not anticipate problems renewing my Thai retirement visa as the stamp in my new psssport looks correct. Turnaround was about a week even though the passport is sent to Washington for processing.
  3. Here's the situation guys. My USA passport expires in mid-January 2012. I arrived in Cambodia a few days ago and have a 30 day business visa which can easily be extended for the extra 3 months I need. I also have a Thai retirement visa with a re-entry permit. It seems I'll need to get a new passport so that when I re-enter Thailand I'll have a passport with more than 6 months validity. I assume that it's not a problem that my retirement visa and re-entry permit will be in my old passport? Now, I am wondering how long it takes to get a new passport issued and should I apply for the new passport ASAP and then the Cambodian 3 month extension or should I get the extension first and then apply for a new passport?
  4. Guess I should give it a shot then!
  5. I'm filling out TD F 90-22.1, which Americans are required to submit if they had 10K USD in foreign bank accounts at any time in the prior year. It can't be filed electronically and I'm not thrilled about mailing it from Thailand. A friend said he's mail it from the States for me. Just noticed that it might be able to be dropped off at the US Embassy in Bangkok. Anyone know if there is a tax attache there? The Form
  6. April 25, 2010 More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship By BRIAN KNOWLTON WASHINGTON — Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship. “What we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years,†said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. “Before, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.†The Federal Register, the government publication that records such decisions, shows that 502 expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status in the last quarter of 2009. That is a tiny portion of the 5.2 million Americans estimated by the State Department to be living abroad. Still, 502 was the largest quarterly figure in years, more than twice the total for all of 2008, and it looms larger, given how agonizing the decision can be. There were 235 renunciations in 2008 and 743 last year. Waiting periods to meet with consular officers to formalize renunciations have grown. Anecdotally, frustrations over tax and banking questions, not political considerations, appear to be the main drivers of the surge. Expat advocates say that as it becomes more difficult for Americans to live and work abroad, it will become harder for American companies to compete. American expats have long complained that the United States is the only industrialized country to tax citizens on income earned abroad, even when they are taxed in their country of residence, though they are allowed to exclude their first $91,400 in foreign-earned income. One Swiss-based business executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitive family issues, said she weighed the decision for 10 years. She had lived abroad for years but had pleasant memories of service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Yet the notion of double taxation — and of future tax obligations for her children, who will receive few U.S. services — finally pushed her to renounce, she said. “I loved my time in the Marines, and the U.S. is still a great country,†she said. “But having lived here 20 years and having to pay and file while seeing other countries’ nationals not having to do that, I just think it’s grossly unfair.†“It’s taxation without representation,†she added. Stringent new banking regulations — aimed both at curbing tax evasion and, under the Patriot Act, preventing money from flowing to terrorist groups — have inadvertently made it harder for some expats to keep bank accounts in the United States and in some cases abroad. Some U.S.-based banks have closed expats’ accounts because of difficulty in certifying that the holders still maintain U.S. addresses, as required by a Patriot Act provision. “It seems the new anti-terrorist rules are having unintended effects,†Daniel Flynn, who lives in Belgium, wrote in a letter quoted by the Americans Abroad Caucus in the U.S. Congress in correspondence with the Treasury Department. “I was born in San Francisco in 1939, served my country as an army officer from 1961 to 1963, have been paying U.S. income taxes for 57 years, since 1952, have continually maintained federal voting residence, and hold a valid American passport.†Mr. Flynn had held an account with a U.S. bank for 44 years. Still, he wrote, “they said that the new anti-terrorism rules required them to close our account because of our address outside the U.S.†Kathleen Rittenhouse, who lives in Canada, wrote that until she encountered a similar problem, “I did not know that the Patriot Act placed me in the same category as terrorists, arms dealers and money launderers.†Andy Sundberg, another director of American Citizens Abroad, said, “These banks are closing our accounts as acts of prudent self-defense.†But the result, he said, is that expats have become “toxic citizens.†The Americans Abroad Caucus, headed by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, has made repeated entreaties to the Treasury Department. In response, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner wrote Ms. Maloney on Feb. 24 that “nothing in U.S. financial law and regulation should make it impossible for Americans living abroad to access financial services here in the United States.†But banks, Treasury officials note, are free to ignore that advice. “That Americans living overseas are being denied banking services in U.S. banks, and increasingly in foreign banks, is unacceptable,†Ms. Maloney said in a letter Friday to leaders of the House Financial Services Committee, requesting a hearing on the question. Mr. Wilson, joining her request, said that pleas from expats for relief “continue to come in at a startling rate.†Relinquishing citizenship is relatively simple. The person must appear before a U.S. consular or diplomatic official in a foreign country and sign a renunciation oath. This does not allow a person to escape old tax bills or military obligations. Now, expats’ representatives fear renunciations will become more common. “It is a sad outcome,†Ms. Bugnion said, “but I personally feel that we are now seeing only the tip of the iceberg.†More American Expatriates Give Up Citizenship -
  7. Not sure if Bell picks up on the darkside but after factoring in gas/tolls/wear and tear/being dropped off right at the terminal it makes Bell more cost effective than a car even for a one day trip. Of course the timing has to be right.
  8. To make these numbers more meaningful it'd be useful to know what the typical death/accident toll is during normal times. Anyone know?
  9. It's hard to belive that Bell would turn customers away if seats are available. Bell is trying to encourage reservations as it will make their operation run more smoothly.
  10. The Thai tax is paid automatically by the banks. My passbook interest entries shows "net interest after Thai tax" though it's just labeled as interest, not the gross interest before tax.
  11. My understanding is that the interest I receive from my Thai bank accounts is net interest, that is after the tax on the interest is paid to the Thai government. If so, it would seem that I'm entitled to take the Foreign Tax Credit, Line 47 on my 1040. Has anyone done this? Now one problem is the amount of tax paid is nowhere in my passbook and trying to get the info from my bank seems like it's going to quite a chore.
  12. Heard they are giving out free tourist visas again. Are these 60 day visas? Can you back to back 60's for a total of 120? Does this involve leaving Thailand once?
  13. Here's an excellent hotel choice for budget travelers in Lamai. Holiday Park | @ the heart of Lamai beach
  14. I was very happy with the service ands the price, 124 baht for the bus and 10 baht for a Pattaya Tai baht bus. Below is a link but note there is now also a 19:00 bus from the airport that's not on the website. Pattaya-Airport
  15. I left KPG the night before the Full Moon Party but I went to Had Rin the night before and there were lots of people partying on the beach at midnite. First off, if you are not staying in Had Rin don't drive your motorbike there. The hills leading to Had Rin are VERY dangerous and should not be attempted at night, when drinking, when raining, or if you don't drive a motorbike in your home country. However, motobikes are a grerat way to get around the west side of the island as long as your nort of the Had Rin hills. Anywho the night before the beach was crowded with farngs jumping thru fireropes, drinking SangSom buckets, and having a good ole time. But it's a young backpacker and flashpacker crowd. I found most of the Thais outside HadRin to be extremely friendly but the locals in Had Rin were not and often looked like thugs. Guess they're tired of the drunk and cheap farangs. Think KPG outside HadRin is a great place to relax but the downside is that on most beaches you need to walk out a couple hundred yards to get to deep swimable water. I suspect there is a correlation between farang who like Songkran and farang that enjoy the extremely crowded Full Moon party. Don't go barefoot because of broken glass and beware of pickpockets because seconds after pickpocketing one can disappear into the crowd.
  16. Think this has more to do with a stregnthening dollar than a falling baht, which is good for Americans that have most of their savings in dollars. Here's a link where u can fool around with currency graphs: USDTHB=X: Basic Chart for USD/THB - Yahoo! Finance
  17. UpDate @ Thailand Exchange Rates & Foreign Exchange Rate Bangkok Bank Link to many Thai banks, some may finfd useful.
  18. If taking a cab, I certainly prefer flying out to U-Tapao. Last time I returned from U-Tapao there were reasonaby priced shared minibusses to Pattaya.
  19. Their website is not up to date. There is now also a 19:00 bus from the airport. I've also been told during busy times they sometimes add exra busses. The company verified by email that I can also get off at Sukhumvit and Pattaya Tai. Not sure if you can board there. Lastly, make sure you walk to the main road and flag down a bus baht for 10 baht. There have been reports that the drivers who wait to meet the bus ask for 200 baht per person.
  20. All the talking heads are saying are saying the yen will also depreciate against the dollar.