Offshore Banking For Expats
Offshore Banking For Expats
Are you considering opening an offshore bank account? Although often associated with tax evasion, offshore banking can be a perfectly legal way to make managing your money more convenient and flexible while you are abroad.
- In the banking world, the term “offshore” originally referred to the British Channel Islands, and many expats still hold accounts there. Today, however, the term is not only used for offshore banks in island nations, but also figuratively for those in landlocked countries, such as Switzerland.
- These banks are usually located in politically and economically stable jurisdictions, which are also known for their favorable taxation laws. A few examples, in addition to the ones mentioned above, include Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, Qatar and many Caribbean countries.
- As an expat, you have many options when it comes to where to keep your money. If you have decided to do business with an offshore bank, the next step is to figure out how much of your money you wish to deposit in this account. This will vary depending on your individual financial needs and the country you are living in.
When deciding where to open your offshore account, and especially if you’ve decided to keep most of your money there, you should make sure the bank is located in a country which has a proven record of financial stability. You should also look into how you will open this account. Will you have to travel there in person, or can it be opened online or over the phone? This will obviously make a difference if you have chosen a bank in a remote location.
Tax Efficiency and Reduce Taxes
Offshore banking has a notorious reputation for its role in enabling tax evasion. While it is often true that you can achieve greater tax efficiency by keeping your savings in an offshore account, this does not have to be illegal. Depending on your citizenship and residency status, you may be able to avoid paying interest on your savings kept in these bank accounts.
Indeed when businesses and individuals first started putting money in offshore accounts, it was driven by a desire to reduce taxes. Smaller countries without many resources may have liberal corporate tax laws that make it easier and cheaper to set up a corporation in that country. If the business isn’t engaged in activity on that country’s soil, there’s even less reason to impose a tax.
If assets are at risk of being seized or lost in foreclosure, they can be transferred to a legal entity in another country. The asset cannot be held within U.S. borders to be protected and some countries don’t allow their residents to invest in international markets. Offshore banking allows an investor to buy shares in international markets that would otherwise be off limits.
And some profile-investors prefer the anonymity associated with offshore banking. They can purchase stocks without having the general public knowing which stocks they’re investing in. Investors who plan to buy large quantities of stock in the future prefer to keep their purchases low-key. Otherwise, if lots of people start buying the stock, prices go up and the investment is no longer as attractive.
Businesses that don’t want to disclose their shareholders, might incorporate in an offshore location that makes it illegal to divulge such information.
Having a secure place for your wealth is one of the main reasons to open an offshore account. Especially if you live in or are relocating to a politically or economically unstable country, with a history of freezing or seizing assets in times of political turmoil, an investment in an offshore account rather than a domestic one will grant you peace of mind.
Readers should note that this article is only intended to convey general information on these issues and that FAS CPA & Consultants (FAS) in no way intends for the contents of this article to be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article cannot serve as a substitute for such professional services or advice. Any decision or action that may affect the reader’s business should not rely solely on the contents of this article, but should rather be consulted on with a qualified professional adviser. FAS shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this presentation. This article is subject to change at any time and for any reason.
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