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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. Friends sold their two-manzana "coffee farm" with two modest houses last February for $285,000 cash. It's located outside Grecia in the Central Valley. The property was listed for almost a month.
  2. You're right, Jim, ownership of any foreign account which has a balance of $10,000US for even one second during the year must be reported to IRS each year. There are no tax implications, but the fact of the ownership must be reported. The form is sent to an address in Detroit separately from your income tax return filing. Completing it is a simple matter -- takes just a few minutes. Too, interest is indeed "unearned" and cannot be included in the foreign earned income exemption which applies only to compensation for employment. The CD rates the banks quote are net of Costa Rica's 8% interest rate tax. So if (say) BCR quotes 4.5% on one CD or another, that's what you'll get at maturity. On the other hand, interest earned at non-profit cooperatives (which, incidentally, pay much, much higher rates) is not subject to the 8% tax.
  3. Jim, I think you're absolutely right. The interest credited in any tax year must be declared in that tax year whether you actually withdraw it or not. What you say makes perfect sense. Dana, close. The "earned income tax exemption" applies only to income you earn through your own work efforts. That is, you must declare but may exclude up to around $95,000 in salaries and commissions earned through your own work, but you may not exclude interest, dividends, rents, profits from sales, etc which do not derive from your own actual labors.
  4. We have certificates of deposit at a Costa Rican cooperative. When the CDs were issued, the cooperative also issued a "coupon" for the interest they would accrue, but those coupons are only redeemable at the time the CDs mature. The interest is not paid or compounded during the duration of the term of the CDs. The CDs were purchased with funds which had already been taxed by IRS, so when the CDs mature, the principal will not be taxable again. I understand, of course, that the interest earned normally would be taxable, but what if we roll that interest over into a new CD without ever withdrawing it? Suppose we'd invested (say) $1,000 at 10% per annum for five years. Our interest earning would be $500 and that would normally be taxable. But what if on the date the CD matured we bought a new $500 CD with that interest without it ever passing through our hands? Would the maturation of the coupon be a taxable event even if we reinvested the interest immediately? Thanks in advance.
  5. And when you're done with "throw", "put", "hold", etc., explain "get/got" to him. I got interested in this after getting an earful from my Spanish instructor. He got to our house late one time because he'd gotten up, gotten dressed, gotten his breakfast, gotten out the door and into his car, got caught in traffic, got lost, and was so frustrated that he got a headache. (Gotta run . . . )
  6. Somebody else needs to chime in about whatever the CAJA may provide. I know the choice of oral meds is limited, and I understand that they will only give insulin users one needle and syringe per day. So the CAJA may not be a satisfactory solution.
  7. Ed, I'm diabetic also and so far I've had no problem whatsoever getting test strips into the country. I have a U.S. physician who will prescribe them and a U.S. mail-in pharmacy service that will send them to me. I have her prescribe about three times what I actually use which reduces my "per strip" co-pay cost. In September, I got a "consignment" of 500 via Aerocasillas. When I need to reorder them, I'll try to find someone who's coming this way and have them bring them down. You never know what Customs and the Ministry of Health will come up with. I doubt that Customs would bat an eye if they saw the strips in your luggage; in a mailed package, you might face different scrutiny. I've seen a limited selection of test strips in the local commercial farmacias and I'm sure that, as in the U.S., you don't need a prescription to buy them. Just how reliable the supply is, and just how many choices you will find, are another matter. I use a One Touch Ultra Mini meter (a favorite of Consumer Reports a couple of years ago) and I have never seen their strips here. And, like virtually everything else that's imported, I'm sure that test strips at the farmacias here will be even more expensive than over the counter in the U.S. Have you looked for test strips on ebay?? I often find great bargains for things like this there.
  8. When I was diagnosed, my primary care physician in the U.S. strongly recommended against the surgery. She said that the recovery is miserable (I remember a lot of discomfort when I had my tonsils removed as a child), and she said that some of the tissue can grow back. I passed. I took to the CPAP machine right away although I've always had a problem keeping my mouth shut. (Those who know me will concur.) After several years using "nose pillows" and a chin strap (the latter was a waste), I went to a full-face mask. It's wonderful! Once I get the head straps adjusted, I have virtually no leakage and I wear a short-trimmed full beard. My U.S. insurance plan will replace the mask every three months and we have friends up north who do just that. Because we're in Costa Rica and have no U.S.-based physician to prescribe replacements, I've been using the same mask since 2005 and it's held up just fine. The only problems I've had have been that the delicate plastic "ring" that holds the rubber gasket that goes against your face has broken a couple of times, and when he was a puppy our German shepherd got hold of the the gasket itself. Anticipating such problems, I've gotten some spares. When we go to the U.S., I have our friends who use the same mask keep their old ones and I scavenge parts. There's nothing wrong with what they've been replacing. And that helps to explain some of the waste in the U.S. health care system.
  9. Hi,

    When and for how long are you looking for this rental house? And do you want furnished or not?

    Dave

  10. Good morning, Tom,

    Many thanks for your very generous offer to help.

    Please e-mail me so we can chat without the restrictions this system imposes.

    daveandmarcia@gmail.om

    Thanks in advance,

    Dave

  11. I'll reply to your inquiry tomorrow morning.

    Dave Murray

  12. And the Pentagon will announce this morning a special detachment of female Special Forces troops, all with PMS, for an extended desert assignment. Not only are they more aggressive than regular troops but they also retain water. Now . . . Can we move on?
  13. The operative term in "trickle-down" is "trick". The dollars went into a black hole, all right, but it's in the Cayman Islands, not someplace in deep space.
  14. A house built on a floating foundation is generally built that way not because it won't be damaged in an earthquake but because the subsoil on which it rests is not sufficiently strong to support a typical structure. If the engineering is done correctly, there's nothing wrong with a floating foundation, but it's not a cure-all for earthquake damage.
  15. Anyone who lives in Costa Rica, plans to live here, or is thinking of doing any business here such as purchasing property should run, not walk, to the nearest source of Roger Peterson's Legal Guide to Costa Rica. Once you own it, skim every page and read carefully whatever might apply to your own situation. If you're thinking of hiring someone to do something, read the sections on labor relations. If you're thinking of getting married, read the parts about family law. If you're thinking of owning real estate or a vehicle, read the parts . . . The small investment in Peterson's book could save you thousands of dollars and years of frustration and heartache.
  16. While what costaricafinca writes above sounds incredible to my American ears, it points out the fact that things, including probate law, are different here. If I recall Peterson's book correctly, there is a hierarchy or sequence of inheritance provided for in the law. My understanding is that the only way around it is to have a legally-filed Costa Rican will that makes other provisions for the disposition of one's estate.
  17. I'm not sure what you mean by "corporation members", Igor, but the only thing that matters is who owns the stock in the corporation. If it is in your name and/or your wife's, then you will have to sign it over for the children to become the owners of the corporation. Otherwise, you can make provision in a Costa Rican will to bequeath all or specified of your assets to your children. Note, please, that your will filed in the U.S. will mean nothing in Costa Rica and your will in Costa Rica will mean nothing in the U.S. If you have assets to bequeath in both countries, you need two wills.
  18. My understanding is that you must first obtain a permit to drill for water. Then, because Costa Rica considers the water in the aquifer to be a publicly-owned resource, you must obtain a concession to actually use that water once you have found it. Likely all of this will take time and be expensive.
  19. This past April, a friend and I went to Nicaragua to fish for tarpon. "Fish" is the operative term. "Catch" did not enter into the equation. Be careful when you go. All that said, we went to a fishing lodge, fished from a boat, and had two guides with us at all times. We fished three two mile-long stretches of two different rivers over the course of four days. These places were several miles apart by river. Each time we moved to a new area, our guides first stopped at the shoreside town and bought what we took to be local fishing licenses. I don't know if you plan is to do this unescorted, but you have some research to do. Hope that helps.
  20. James is exactly right that the attorney should only be representing YOU. If you rely on an attorney who is recommended by a real estate agent, you may rest assured that the attorney has some loyalty to the real estate agent who refers business to him or her. In such a situation, the attorney, like the real estate agent, is more likely to be interested in making the deal happen than in representing your own (reasonable) selfish interests. Find your own attorney who has no loyalty to either the seller or the real estate agent. And if this is a potentially life-changing transaction for you, then do find a second attorney to check (redo) the work of the first.
  21. You're delving into a very, very complex matter and you need better, more professional advice than you're going to get on any discussion forum. As I understand it, the requirements and restrictions can vary from place to place. I think your best bet, if you're actually looking at a particular property, is to consult a local attorney who's an expert in real estate matters. Once you have a clear understanding of what is and isn't possible, get a second equally expert opinion. If the two agree, then you may be on the right track. If not, seek a third opinion.
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