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Tax Talk

If you're a Filipino citizen and had not been in the U.S. OR had been in the U.S. for less than 183 days in a given year, normally, you are not subject to pay the capital gains tax. You are, however, enjoined to pay the capital gains tax in the Philippines.

Otherwise - U.S. citizen, resident alien/green-card holder or any person that had been in U.S. for more than 183 days in a given taxable year - your capital gains are subject to tax which has a ceiling of 28% for net long-term capital gains.

Non-resident aliens in the U.S. normally file Form 1040NR. Get a copy of IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. It explains the way Non-Resident Aliens pay tax, if any, in the U.S.


Step 1. Choose an online broker. Follow the link below and pick one! Your choice depends on your needs and the size of your wallet. Most of them will require you to fill-up an account form and together with it, require you to make a full-payment or an acceptable deposit prior to the acceptance of any trading order.  TIP:  'Shorting' is very, very much legal in the U.S equities market...unlike in Manila.

Step 2. Establish your bank dollar-deposit account. Since you need to send/receive money a lot of times, choosing a reputable bank with a broad-based U.S. links will help. Citibank, Bank of America and other local banks with established U.S. tie-ups are sure bets. NOTE: Some locally-based (Manila) stock brokerages have tie-ups with U.S-based stock houses like All-Asia Securities, Merrill Lynch Securities Phils. or Citicorp Securities, that will help you breeze through this set-up process. But, be ready to shell-out more cash since they require a fat minimum opening account and a lot of fees!

Another popular medium today to send your money - and they're really fast - are online payment sites. Notable and reputable of them are: PayPal, BidPay (this company ceased operations in Dec. 2007) and Xoom (this one is specially recommended for those in Manila and doesn't have any credit card access). Please check out their websites for more information.

Step 3. Know the rules and extras- Once your account is activated, it pays to know the rules of online trading. Always read the fine-print on the "Account Agreement and Info. Guide" they will send (together with the account application forms).

Be wary of extra charges like wiring of funds, duplicate check copies, urgent mailgrams, interest charges on debit balances and most specially, account maintenance fees (semi-annual , quarterly, etc.) - whether your trading account is active or inactive - that online brokers put in their fine print. These are all automatically deducted from your trading account balance.


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The  Spread

While the late '90s was the watershed era of online trading, many new Philippine-based traders were still left out of the tremendous opportunity and promise of NASDAQ stocks, specially those high-flying Internet stocks that were offered just a few years, -even months and weeks- ago! Stocks like Yahoo!, Akamai, Amazon, Priceline.com, e-Trade Group, eBay, Stamps.com, China.com, Research in Motion or even, good-old Apple and many others.

NASDAQ, as an investment vehicle, complements perfectly the dramatic shift to the Internet by most people. It had-from it's humble beginnings (much the same way most of the companies listed there now started)- come of age and had become a platform by which current global trading benchmarks are measured!

In my small way, this site aims to help the new but Internet-savvy investor with an eye for those tech/Internet stocks traded at the NASDAQ by featuring useful links and tips. Eventually, I hope, that these tools will bring you closer towards the final steps in the acquisition of that tech or emerging tech stock you have been longing to include in your stock portfolio!