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Old 26-01-2013, 12:30   #1
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Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

I work remotely, and as long as I have a high speed Internet connection to connect to my company's servers, I can pretty much work anywhere I want. As I sit here and type this, the tiny Coleman catalytic heater struggles to keep my small cabin warm. The power went out on my dock about an hour ago. So I was thinking...there's no reason I shouldn't head south next winter. I mean, southeast Virginia isn't the frigid north, but right now it's pretty darn cold. There's no reason to be miserable here in the winter when I can take my home to the Bahamas and spend the winter there.

For those who are very familiar with the Bahamas, what could I expect to pay each month (November to end of March) for a slip at a marina with Internet and shower and laundry facilities that is within walking or bike-riding distance to groceries? I would prefer a smaller, non-resort type marina. Pool, proximity to restuarants, party atmosphere is not desired.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:03   #2
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Triton318 View Post
...............laundry facilities that is within walking or bike-riding distance to groceries? I would prefer a smaller, non-resort type marina. Pool, proximity to restuarants, party atmosphere is not desired.

Thanks in advance.
You can find these amenities available at anchor in some places like Marsh Harbor with no slip fee at all; however if you want the shore power, bath house facilities, etc. of the marina you'll not likely find anything for less than $10 to $15/ft/month.
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:13   #3
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Ocean Reef Yacht Club, Grand Bahama between Freeport and Lucaya. HGreat hurricane hole, hot tub, pool, swim up bar, cable TV, Wifi, free rum punch and BBQ every Monday and a lot of Canadians if you can put up with that . For your size boat I think its now around $350.00/month. A terrific place.
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:18   #4
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

To expand on the previous poster's message, you can sign up for wifi service from abacoinet who has hotspots in all of the major anchorages and towns in the Abacos including Marsh Harbor, Green Turtle Cay, Hopetown, etc. Service is less than $300 for three months, but you will probably need an external antenna. You will have to contact them to see if it is fast enough for your use.

For all I know this service is what is available at the marinas.

David
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:22   #5
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Jay, there are even more benefits to your plan. Call your accountant and ask him about the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. You can be exempt of income taxes up to $95,100. I spoke to my CPA and it is very simple to do.

Here you go: Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
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Old 26-01-2013, 14:21   #6
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Personally, if it were me, and I was going to be working most of the time I would stick to a place within the USA where the Internet would be faster and more reliable, I could also have my usual cell phone service, I would have access to unlimited groceries, etc. at normal prices, I wouldn't have to pay the $350 Bahamas entry fee, etc. To me the great beauty and fun in the Bahamas is in the out island places where you can anchor in crystal clear water, go snorkeling, or sail across the spectacular banks--not tied up to a dock in some more commercial harbor. To be within walking distance of groceries just about guarantees you're someplace not as desirable in the Bahamas. YMMV.
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Old 29-01-2013, 05:53   #7
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Come on down and join our crowd of crusin folks who are doing exactly that. Both White and Black sounds are now covered with wireless. Rent a slip or a mooring or just anchor out depending on your needs! It has been a great winter. You can still island hop and obtain coverage almost every night. Add great bars and heated pools, then try and justify freezing your cojones instead of sitting in a hammock with a sundowner!!!
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Old 29-01-2013, 06:06   #8
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

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Jay, there are even more benefits to your plan. Call your accountant and ask him about the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. You can be exempt of income taxes up to $95,100. I spoke to my CPA and it is very simple to do.

Here you go: Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Hate to burst your bubble, but as a CPA myself I feel obligated to bring your attention to bullets #1 and #3 from the link you posted:

Quote:
To claim the foreign earned income exclusion, the foreign housing exclusion, or the foreign housing deduction, you must have foreign earned income, your tax home must be in a foreign country, and you must be one of the following:
U.S. citizen who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year,
U.S. resident alien who is a citizen or national of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty in effect and who is a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year, or
U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident alien who is physically present in a foreign country or countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months.
The bold is mine of course and the problem areas. I don't think he will be able to stay in the Bahamas long enough to qualify.
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Old 29-01-2013, 07:47   #9
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Thanks for all of the replies. I may have to rethink my destination. I'll be using vacation time for the trip down at the end of October and the trip back to Virginia at the beginning of April, so I won't have any time for exploring except for the weekends. I also had not thought about cell phones -- I have at least one conference call a week. Maybe Florida would be better in my particular situation.

Well, lots of time to think about it and weigh the pros and cons. Thanks again for the input.

Doodles -- I also saw that, but thanks for pointing it out.
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Old 29-01-2013, 10:58   #10
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Doodles, from what I've heard the hungry tax folks are saying that even if a US citizen was residing in China for five years, if they dialed into a US-located server, and did their business "on" that server, that would mean they were working "in" the US and subject to US taxes. Venues and telecommuting don't seem to be treated quite all the same way yet. Or are they now?
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Old 29-01-2013, 16:35   #11
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

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Doodles, from what I've heard the hungry tax folks are saying that even if a US citizen was residing in China for five years, if they dialed into a US-located server, and did their business "on" that server, that would mean they were working "in" the US and subject to US taxes. Venues and telecommuting don't seem to be treated quite all the same way yet. Or are they now?
I'm retired so I haven't followed the recent cases involving this issue, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case. I can see how telecommuting could be consider a loophole and not really in the spirit of the definition of "foreign earned income". I think it would turn of why the person was located overseas. Did his employer send him there? Does he need to be physically present overseas to do his job, etc.?
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Old 29-01-2013, 17:13   #12
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

I forgot he said he only wants to do "wintering" in the Bahamas.

I am 100% going to take the foreign earned income exclusion when I leave in 2015 for 2-3 years. I have discussed it at length with my CPA and he has three clients who have taken it multiple years in a row with no issues.

As far as the telecommuting/remote server issue raising a red flag I would only worry if I were a W2 employee. If you own your own business or set yourself up as a 1099 contractor with your employer you have more flexibility in how describe your business activities.
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Old 29-01-2013, 20:50   #13
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

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I forgot he said he only wants to do "wintering" in the Bahamas.

I am 100% going to take the foreign earned income exclusion when I leave in 2015 for 2-3 years. I have discussed it at length with my CPA and he has three clients who have taken it multiple years in a row with no issues.

As far as the telecommuting/remote server issue raising a red flag I would only worry if I were a W2 employee. If you own your own business or set yourself up as a 1099 contractor with your employer you have more flexibility in how describe your business activities.
A couple comments from a retired CPA for what that's worth:

1. Just because someone has done something on their return for a couple years and had no issues means nothing. The IRS is always several years behind with audits, especially on issues like this. Even 1099 matching audits can be a year or two behind and this is not about a 1099 or W-2 not matching revenue reported. Until the 7 year statue of limitations has run you are still at risk.

2. As for being a 1099 contractor you need to make sure you've got a foreign address for your business, and if you are moving about you may need several. Take a look at the foreign income tax exclusion form and you will see some of the information that you're going to need to come up with.

I think the telecommuting issue is something to be concerned about but I would be incline to take the exclusion for a client cruising full time provided there are no recent rulings or cases to the contrary. There are now very stiff penalties for paid preparers that don't keep up with these rulings. Rule #1 for CPA's and others who prepare tax returns is ... If anyone goes to jail makes sure its the client.
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Old 29-01-2013, 21:48   #14
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

Thanks for the assistance and advice, Doodles. In the end it's up to the individual to decide what tax avoidance strategies to implement.

I actually designed my business to operate with little management required (a la 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss where I first heard about this tax exclusion) so I could do things like cruise all over the world for 3 plus years.
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Old 29-01-2013, 22:14   #15
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Re: Feasability/Costs for Wintering in the Bahamas

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Thanks for the assistance and advice, Doodles. In the end it's up to the individual to decide what tax avoidance strategies to implement.

I actually designed my business to operate with little management required (a la 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss where I first heard about this tax exclusion) so I could do things like cruise all over the world for 3 plus years.
Well, not entirely up to the individual. The person paid to prepare (and signs ) the return has obligations as well and that's were the stiff penalties come in; nevertheless, it sounds like you and your CPA are on the same page which is good. Best of luck and maybe in a few years you'll be cruising through Thailand and we can share a sundowner on Pang Nga Bay.
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