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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 5yr  | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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@lora | 5yr

A bit late to the convo, but I want to look at this from another point of view - ok, letโ€™s say you can be a non resident anywhere and consequently not pay taxes anywhere. BUT. You still receive your earnings somewhere. That account has been opened in a particular country. Are you saying that you can have an account in a random country, not be their resident and still receive your income?

I am from Croatia and am struggling with how to fit in travelings as business expenses, plus all of this what you are talking about. I am always learning about new options. But, for now, I donโ€™t see a way how can I legally receive earnings on my bank account and not be liable to any taxes. In Croatia, there is a special account for business earnings and your private account is separate (you get your salary on this account). This way, tax people can see how much you have earned and know how much taxes you need to pay. If I receive earnings on my personal account, I can do that, but that is not legal. Any thoughts?

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Yes. Absolutely. Thatโ€™s one of the pillars of flag theory. Although, I wouldnโ€™t suggest any โ€œrandomโ€ country, but rather a stable banking jurisdiction.

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@zoxel | 5yr

yeah, just live somewhere on non-worker visa and make sure you are not resident for tax purposes in your country and youโ€™re good - not paying anywhere :smile:

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

Honestly, no. I donโ€™t. I havenโ€™t really worried about it though I guess it should be on my radar. The UK absolutely does NOT allow you to work while on a tourist visa. If asked, never tell them youโ€™re working. It would be difficult to prove that you performed work while in a specific country, IMO.

As for proving the 330, Iโ€™ve note seen much mentioned about that. I did find this from here:

"If I am audited, how do I prove my travel dates to the IRS?

The IRS is not specific about what documentation is required, leaving that largely to the auditorโ€™s better judgement. It is wise to keep a travel log in addition to plane ticket stubs and any other documents that might support your claims. Sales and credit card receipts can also be helpful. If your travel is related to business, your employer may be contacted for additional documentation."

so thatโ€™s something to keep in mind.

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@mule5 | 5yr

I am also interested in this topic as a self-employed freelancer.

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Hej Rodrigo,

Here this is also discussed.

Brazilians are taxed based on their worldwide income based on residency. So it is the same as Europeans. The trick is to no longer be considered tax resident in Brazil.

Giving the fact how difficult Brazil is becoming for doing business and insane regulations it is a good idea to start looking abroad to set-up your business.

Cheers.

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@kikikarpus | 5yr

Yes - Same boat Mandy! You have to be gone out of the US for 330 days I think before you are exempt from what I read.

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

yes, 330 days out of 365, but they donโ€™t have to be in a single calendar year.

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@sfomadeze | 5yr

FYI for fellow Americans: Living outside the US (even 365 days a year) doesnโ€™t absolve you of tax responsibilities if you havenโ€™t established a tax home somewhere else. Americans are always expected to pay taxes somewhere. https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Earned-Income-Exclusion-Can-I-Claim-the-Exclusion-or-Deduction

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

That is not strictly correct. A better statement would be that we are assumed to pay taxes somewhere.

โ€œIf you do not have a regular or main place of business because of the nature of your work, your tax home may be the place where you regularly live. If you have neither a regular or main place of business nor a place where you regularly live, you are considered an itinerant and your tax home is wherever you work.โ€

Most nomads will fall under the highlighted part. So, for the USA, legally, our tax homes are wherever we are working, which for most of us changes multiple times a year. However, since most of us are not in one place long enough for that country to consider us a tax resident under their laws they donโ€™t require us to actually file taxes.

We meet the US requirement of having a tax residency outside the USA. That is what matters. What happens after that is between us and whatever country/ies we have been working in.

What it comes down to is that the tax system isnโ€™t set up for nomads so this is a legal loophole. One that could possibly be closed in the future if they required proof of a tax liability elsewhere, but which is open at the moment.

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@sfomadeze | 5yr

Food for thought. Thanks. I have a family member who is a tax guy. After the holidays die down, Iโ€™ll have to pick his brain about this. :slight_smile:

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

Make sure he is a tax guy who specializes in expat taxes and the feie otherwise his knowledge will likely be lacking. I tried to talk to a regular CPA about it first and they had no idea so I spoke with someone who specializes in expat taxes and that is what I was told.

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@leerosen | 5yr

Also, keep in mind that the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion only applies to the first $100,800 in income (for 2015) and does not apply to Self Employment Tax. Youโ€™ll still owe Self Employment tax for all income plus income tax for all income in excess of the limit.

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@mule5 | 4yr

Can one setup a pass through entity, such as an llc, that has the worker (foreign non/never resident in any tax jurisdiction to qualify for the feie) as an employee who draws a salary so the entity has no profits. Or will the entity still need to withhold taxes from that salary?
Is that how people use the FEIE if self employed, by creating a tax entity to receive the income first?

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

depends on where youโ€™re traveling, how long youโ€™re there and where youโ€™re from originally. Iโ€™m a US citizen. the US is one of the only countries in the world that requires its citizens to pay taxes no matter where theyโ€™re living. However, if you meet certain requirements you can get an exemption. I am generally traveling on a tourist visa and not in one country long enough to be considered a resident, therefore I donโ€™t pay taxes anywhere.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Mandy, curious if you happen to know anything about telecommuting on a tourist stay for various countries in Europe? On Wikipedia, it says most countries donโ€™t require a work permit for telecommuting during the 90 days youโ€™re granted as a tourist, but some do (of course they donโ€™t list which ones). And what about the UK and Ireland? From what Iโ€™ve read, they donโ€™t allow it but Iโ€™m not entirely sure.

The main reason I care is that Iโ€™m a US citizen, planning to claim the foreign earned income exclusion and Iโ€™m sure Iโ€™ll need documentation if I ever get audited. In case the IRS is hip to foreign work permit laws, want to make sure I understand all that and have proof. Any advice appreciated.

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@rodriigovieira | 5yr

Well, thatโ€™s very interesting! So if you travel only with tourist visa, you donโ€™t need to pay taxes?
Also, if you eventually became a citizen of another country, do you still need to pay your US taxes?

I live at Brazil, so itโ€™d be nice if someone from Brazil clarify this for me! :smiley:

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

depends on the country youโ€™re traveling in. yes, as long as I am a US citizen, I am required to pay US taxes.

When asking questions like this which are completely country specific, telling us what country youโ€™re from will help a lot, especially if you put it in the title so people know. :slight_smile:

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@phktag | 6mo

Hey Mandy-

thank you for sharing your knowledge here. i know this is an old topic but i just wanted to see if the rules you played by in 2015 still is in effect.

i am a US citizen, about to leave the US to India on a tourist visa. I will likely stay in many other countries throughout the next 2 years or so, all if not most on tourist visa. I am currently employed by an american company as a full time employee, but this will change to independent contracting status as I leave the country.

I am trying to see 2 things here:

  1. will i qualify for FEIE (foreign earned income exclusion) next year
  2. do i need to pay self employment tax regardless of whether i qualify for FEIE

ideally, i qualify for FEIE, and i donโ€™t need to pay self employment tax somehow-- then my tax will be close to 0. but even just having FEIE, 15% self employment tax is not terribleโ€ฆ

itโ€™s been several years since this discussion came up, and ive seen in different places about IRS auditors targeting digital nomads and Trump potentially removing the 330 / 365 rule, so i am a bit anxious. last thing i want is to think i owe no tax and have to scramble for a fat tax bill.

sorry for reviving this thread, and thanks for your help!

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Read and participate in 13,974 discussions on Nomad List

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 4d 4 days ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Any nomads working on startups?

 

by @mattlock | 4mo 3 months ago | 33 comments

Hoping to see all the cool stuff people are working on while they live an extraordinary life.

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 4mo 4 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 5mo 4 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 6mo 5 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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Anyone know an accountant for Canadian nomads/expats?


by @noam_lightstone | 7mo 7 months ago | 16 comments

Hey guys, this was my first year as a Canadian nomad.

As far as I know of, Canadians donโ€™t pay taxes if they do not live in the country for 6 months.

But Iโ€™d like to talk to an accountant or someone who does Canadian taxes specifically for expats and nomads to get clear on the rules and for help on my return coming up.

Does anyone know someone who specializes in Canada who can help? Iโ€™ve seen plenty of US recommendations but none for us canucks.

Thanks guys!

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 8mo 8 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
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Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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Where are the nomads in Mexico City?


in Mexico City, Mexico by @shellyfish | 9mo 8 months ago | 9 comments

I just landed as a n00b digital nomad in Mexico City, and I am wonderingโ€ฆ Where are all the international digital nomads hiding around here? I have been to several coworking spaces (Selina etc.) only to find A LOT of local Mexican workers and businesses. Donโ€™t get me wrong, that is all fine, but I was hoping to meet some international nomads! Any advice?

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 9mo 8 months ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But itโ€™s all not very optimal.

Iโ€™ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I donโ€™t want do physical stuff, so Iโ€™m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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App/tool/service for nomads to bring things from another country?


by @brmolin | 10mo 10 months ago | 4 comments

I vaguely remember hearing about such a service before, but Iโ€™m drawing a blank on the name. Basically I left my tablet on a connecting flight in Europe, right before my main flight to Thailand. They have my tablet and are willing to ship it out for me, but people have warned me thereโ€™s a big risk of it getting โ€œlost in the mailโ€ if I ship something expensive like that to Thailand.

Iโ€™m wondering if thereโ€™s a service or community, where I can find a nomad whoโ€™s in Europe/heading to Thailand soon, so I can have it shipped to them in Europe and pay them to ferry it down here for me? I met someone in Budapest a ways back who had built something for this type of use-case, but I canโ€™t remember the name of it. Any help would be appreciated!

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Are there any nomads from India?

 

in India by @ankitdas123 | 10mo 10 months ago | 56 comments

I have seen a lot of posts from different people across the world, but not even a single post from someone in India, who has been a nomad, either living within the country or traveling to another one.

Would definitely love to hear stories from such people. We are a couple traveling as social nomads who are trying to bridge the gap between the rural and urban societies in India. We have started out very humble and do not have much resources, so looking out for help from the community.

Ankit & Rishika
Around Love and Life

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 10mo 10 months ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 10mo 10 months ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 11mo 11 months ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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Are there any digital nomad fitness retreats?


by @ryanjames | 11mo 11 months ago | 1 comment

Hey all:

Does anyone here have any experience attending a full time fitness bootcamp or a fitness resort while working? I know there is one in Cambodia for digital nomads (Fitness Retreat Resort Kep Gym), unfortunately the time difference vs my work schedule would make my life suck if I tried to go there. Iโ€™m looking for a place between US and Europe timezones that lets you live with them, kicks your butt with fitness, but would also have good WiFi/accommodate working eight hours a day. Iโ€™m also open to other tangential ideas for something close-ish to get that same experience.

Thanks for any help!

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Best way to connect with "local" nomads using Nomadlist?


by @migueltic | 12mo 11 months ago | 4 comments

Hi, Iโ€™ve seen that Nomad List offers different options that could work for connecting with other nomads that are in the same place as me (forum, Slack, user maps, matches and maybe even more options I havenโ€™t seen), but Iโ€™m not sure what is the best/recommended way to use all these options.

Should I use all of them? Start with a message in the forum and/or Slack?

Sending private messages to a lot of people feels a little bit โ€œaggressiveโ€. And matches are not based on current location if I understood it correctly.

By the way, I just arrived at Budapest :slight_smile:

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Best American phone carrier for nomads


by @tylertringas | 12mo 11 months ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m surprised this isnโ€™t anywhere on the forum yet. But just a pro tip for Americans about to start a nomad adventure. T-mobile offers unlimited SMS & data in 120 countries for FREE with any of their (already pretty cheap) plans. Itโ€™s ideal if you plan to be back in the US for any part of the year, but I honestly would consider it even if youโ€™re going to be entirely out of the country.

You get bumped down to much slower 3G speeds, but itโ€™s free and works as soon as you land. Can be super helpful before youโ€™ve sorted yourself out with a local SIM. I usually keep my T-mobile SIM in my iPhone all the time and then buy a local SIM and drop it in my pocket wifi for both laptop and iPhone when needed. I keep my local US number and just use it (itโ€™s like $0.05/min in most places) for important clients calls so they donโ€™t have to bother with Skype.

Iโ€™m not affiliated at all, just a happy customer. Anybody found a better deal worth mentioning?

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Best place to set up a company selling digital services?


by @pras_k | 12mo 11 months ago | 10 comments

Whatโ€™s the best place?
For residency Iโ€™m looking at Portugal and they have the NHR (non habitual resident) program which would exempt dividends from foreign income.
So all Iโ€™m really looking for is the best place to actually start the company.
Biggest factors are of course low taxes and ease of setting up the company plus a business bank account that enables me to receive payments through Stripe.

What I found so far:
Hong Kong
Corporate tax rate of 16.5% (8.25% for the first HK$2 million)
โŠ•/โŠ– offshore income from outside HK is exempt from taxation but itโ€™s not clear whether this can be done in the first year and prorated or if itโ€™s only through filing the offshore exemption claim. This might take two years and requires not income from HK at all. More info on that would be great
โŠ– seems very difficult to get a business bank account
โŠ– necessary services and fees are roughly around โ‚ฌ2000 / year
โŠ– accounting requirements seem to be very strict
โŠ• Doesnโ€™t require local partner
โŠ• Agencies available that seem to handle most of the work

Singapore
Corporate tax rate of 17% (0% on the first S$100k, 8.5% up to S$300k)
โŠ– requires a local director. What are the implications of this?

Malta
Corporate tax rate of 35%
There is the โ€œfull imputation systemโ€ but I donโ€™t really understand it.
"In most cases, the tax refund to the shareholder is 6/7 of the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends. The tax refund rate may be different in the following cases: " This would result in an effective corporate tax of around 5%.
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that

Cyprus
Corporate tax rate of 12.5% and there seem to be ways to lower this
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that
โŠ– requires staying in Cyprus for 2 months / year

I find it surprising how much research this requires and how much โ€œit dependsโ€ information is out there when Iโ€™d assume that there are probably thousands of digital nomads who probably have very similar requirements.

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Do you "out" yourself as a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

When you meet new people or reconnect with old friends, do you โ€œoutโ€ yourself as a digital nomad? The simple question โ€œwhere do you live?โ€ makes us uncertain now. We wonder if some places may be less welcoming to digital nomads, or if โ€œdigital nomadโ€ has a negative connotation in some places. If you are forthcoming from the start, does your status as a digital nomad make it hard to form friendships?

We would love to hear how other people navigate thisโ€ฆ how to balance being authentic in relationships vs. withholding the context (and allowing people to assume youโ€™re on vacation, for example).

Thanks!

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Property Ownership - should digital nomads buy properties?


by @sparrow_23 | 1yr 1 year ago | 16 comments

I have been a digital nomad for the last couple of years. I have always worked in tech and now run a couple of profitable online businesses that give me a reliable income and allow me to fund a nomadic lifestyle.

I recently exited one of my businesses and I am considering to invest the income from the sale in properties, mainly for 2 reasons:

a) I donโ€™t want to keep wasting my money in renting apartments across the cities I stay

b) I believe in properties as investment and I want to diversify my investment portfolio (mainly stocks)

After years of constant wander from one place to another, now I am the type of digital nomad who sticks to few locations: I mainly rotate across 4 places each year (San Francisco, Medellin, Berlin, Bali). Buying a house in each of those location would be difficult and too expensive. Therefore, I was wondering if there was any sort of service that combines an investment opportunity with the ability to access different properties around the world (even if just for a limited time per year) ?

Imagine living in 4 cities per year and having a house in each place that you can exclusively use for 3 months and at the same time having your investment growing (this depending on the market, of course). Wouldnโ€™t that be great? I believe it could be done via a property fund selling you a share and giving you access to some of their properties for a limited timeframe each year.

Has anyone heard of anything like that?

Thanks!

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