Lawbelize

Belize Offshore News



November 2, 2015 - Where is My Money Safe?

This is a question that our Belize law firm has been fielding quite often recently.  A new year is almost upon us, and unfortunately, so are new mechanisms in developed nations that are increasing pressure on so called low-tax countries, tax-free jurisdictions, and tax havens.

The most notable of these are Double Taxation Agreements (DTA), Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIES), and the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEI), as well as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) specifically in the U.S. In aggregate, they restrict the ability of residents of developed nations to hide their money overseas and avoid taxes (tax optimization). Confidentiality and discretion are no longer what they used to be.

So you ask yourself some questions:

  • How do I avoid the automatic exchange of information?
  • How can I avoid tax information agreements?
  • How I can continue to legally hide my money overseas?


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It depends on the situation, of course, but the automatic information exchange, for example, is meant to go into effect as of 2017 (our Belize offshore lawyers personally don’t think it will, but we’ll see) and will include existing bank accounts as of the end of 2015. Nearly 50 countries have pledged themselves to this automatic exchange of information, and the clock is ticking for you to avoid the intrusion.

For instance, if you are a resident of a European Member country (see list here), the United States, Switzerland, a UK Crown Dependency, UK Overseas Territory, Dependent Territory of the Netherlands, and a whole plethora of others, your individual bank account is vulnerable to automatic exchange of information. One example of how this might work: you earn savings income in one jurisdiction but reside in another. Suddenly, 20% of your income is withheld for tax purposes.

In this example, what can you do to hide your money? International banking in a legal, tax-efficient, confidential jurisdiction might be the solution.

A number of benefits are available to individuals who open a corporate offshore bank account in Belize. First, how's this to start: you do not need to conduct any business activities in Belize to open an offshore bank account. You would need to setup a company of course for a corporate bank account, but that company need not engage in any business here as a prerequisite to open the account.

Another advantage is Belize itself. The general climate - politically, socially, economically - is a huge advantage in Belize. You will be safe, you will understand the language, you will understand the cultural, and your money will be kept in a stable place in a stable economy in a stable political environment. If you value stability for your money, Belize is the place.


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Advantage number three is that opening a corporate offshore bank account in Belize will enable you to move your money (some might say hide your money in Belize) in a legal way. Many countries prohibit their citizens from operating personal offshore bank accounts without special permission from the state, which is often extremely difficult to receive. Now, you'd probably still be able to open such a personal offshore account, because offshore banks most likely won't require you to provide proof of special permission from your home country. But nonetheless, this route would be illegal. Better to explore incorporating a Belize international business company (Belize IBC) and opening an international offshore bank account in Belize for your money. This process would be absolutely legal.

Another advantage of an offshore corporate bank account: the confidentiality that comes along with it. Not only will you be able to keep the paws of the tax collector off your money, but offshore account confidentiality makes it more difficult for con artists and the like to notice and then target your money.

And yet another advantage: with a corporate offshore bank account, you and your money are legally separate. So any personal liability (from a divorce settlement, to bankruptcy proceedings, to a frivolous lawsuit) will not affect the bank account of your IBC, which will be legally shielded. Your Belize IBC will have built-in legal asset protection and any money in the corresponding corporate bank account will take advantage of this structure.

And lastly, transferring shares of your IBC to future inheritors is a great way to lessen inheritance tax responsibilities.

You might consider opening a Belize international business company and offshore account for a number of additional reasons:

  • Lessen inheritance tax responsibilities (mentioned above)
  • Intellectual property management
  • Lack of foreign currency exchange controls (stock broker, forex, etc.)
  • Custody of movable and immovable property
  • Internet commerce

Whatever your reason, at Wrobel and Co., we can get you started today.


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