Despite what you may have read or heard, anyone is free to open an offshore bank account nowadays! In fact, banking offshore has been used successfully for tax reduction and asset protection by both individuals and worldwide organisations for decades.
And opening an offshore bank account in this day and age couldn't be simpler either! Here are five straightforward steps to take towards opening an offshore bank account.
Step One ? Understand The Advantages Of Banking Offshore
There is no point in opening a bank account offshore if it is going to be of no use to you! So you need to understand some of the general advantages of banking offshore.
Depending on an individual account holder's personal circumstances it's possible to reduce tax liability, increase wealth potential and maximise privacy with the use of an offshore bank account.
Further advantages for an expatriate or internationally focused individual are the flexibility, ease of access and global reach that an offshore bank account may provide.
Other general benefits may include asset protection, estate planning, better interest rates and the chance to exploit active business interests overseas.
At this point it's essential to point out that each individual's circumstances are unique and a person should seek personalised professional advice before venturing into the offshore world. This article does not constitute direct personal advice.
Step Two ? Pick Your Jurisdiction Carefully
There are so many offshore banking providers offering a wide variety of account type and they are located in low to no tax jurisdictions worldwide so how do you choose which country to bank in? Again, depending on an account holder's personal circumstances certain offshore jurisdictions will present themselves as being more favourable.
Jurisdictions range in quality from highly regulated, politically and economically stable centres like the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey to high risk jurisdictions that few would recommend!
Remember that an offshore centre that is suitable for an American expatriate might not be so suitable for an English international investor! Consider your circumstances, your country of residence, country of domicile and any reporting restrictions placed upon you. Further examine the reporting requirements of any jurisdiction that you're interested in.
Step Three ? Select Your Offshore Banking Provider
Do your due diligence carefully and find out who's the financial security behind a particular bank. Research the bank's history in terms of its stability and security. This research is mainly applicable to those thinking considering banking with a lesser known offshore provider.
Clearly if you're thinking about opening an offshore bank account with HSBC then your research needn't necessarily be so intense!
You need to make sure that you're comfortable with your chosen bank's attitude towards you, its customer, and if you're considering online banking be sure that your connection to the bank will be secure.
Much of this essential information can be found online.
Step Four ? Choose The Right Bank Account
With so many providers vying for customer attention there are more account types on offer now than at any other time before. Each account structure claims to offer something the others don't, but remember that the more bells and whistles you add to an account structure, the more expensive the charges for running and marinating such a structure will be! And who will bear the brunt of these costs? Most likely you - the customer!
So, think carefully about exactly why it is you need an offshore bank account and what are the features of that account that are essential to you. Do not be tempted to add to this list any unnecessary complexity.
Stay in touch with your immediate money management requirements; do not be tempted to deviate!
Then work through what's on offer and pick the account type that best suits your needs.
Step Five ? Opening The Bank Account
Nowadays you neither have to visit the offshore jurisdiction in which you wish to bank, nor do you have to travel to the country for the continuance of your banking activity and account maintenance.
Depending on the jurisdiction you favour, the provider and account type you have selected you will be required to submit certain paperwork, forms of verified ID and deposit funds.
The majority of legitimate offshore banking organisations will also allow customers to conduct all ongoing banking activity via the internet, e-mail, post, fax or telephone.
With many providers now offering full credit and debit card services as well you will also have easy and direct access to your funds at all times.
Rhiannon Williamson is the publisher of ShelterOffshore.com - the online resource for offshore, expatriate and international investors.
For personalized investment and offshore advice, readers of Shelter Offshore benefit from the site's strategic alliance with deVere and Partners, the world's largest offshore financial advisory. Visit the http://www.sheltero
shelter/offshore_advice_service/; deVere and Partners offshore advice service page to find out more.