Wednesday, 10 April 2013

How to Set Up An Offshore Bank Account

For a few guys, an offshore bank account may sound like something out of a James Bond movie or maybe a clever way for an arms dealer to conduct business. But the truth is that lots of guys use offshore accounts for a variety of reasons. It may sound sexy to talk about an offshore account, but for the most part, banking offshore is about saving on tax dollars. 
But if taxes aren't a concern, liability may very well be -- in which case  offshore banking limits a creditor’s access to your funds (different country, different law). Finally, there are some guys who don’t need that Swiss bank account, but open it while on vacation because what better pickup line is there than dropping “my Swiss bank account” into the conversation? If any of those reasons sound like they match your own motivations, here’s how you can open an offshore bank account. 

Legal issues

If you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s not illegal per se to open an offshore account. If the underlying reason, however, for setting up the account is an illegal act, you might be keeping your money safe, but you could still be in hot water. For example, if you’re accused of tax evasion and you’ve sent the funds abroad, you could still face criminal charges here.

The offshore bank account, however, may remain free from the long arm of the law.


When you bank in the U.S., you can be secure in the knowledge that your money is insured by the government. No such guarantees exist with offshore banks. In other words, a country could have a coup or a natural disaster or an accounting scandal one day and all the money could be gone the next. Furthermore, you could find yourself scammed; it does happen. Remember, this is a business built on skirting the law, so you won’t always deal with the most honest people (but that varies by country).Should you keep your cash in Switzerland or the Caymans? Decisions, decisions…


Offshore banking isn’t just for the super wealthy, but it’s not for paupers either. Minimum deposits vary by bank, but you need to pick a number to make it worth your while. Still, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re supposed to declare any amount over $10,000.


You don’t have to visit your money or even be there to open the account. This is international business at its finest and bankers wire money by phone and e-mail. However, at the end of the day, you’re still in your country and your money is somewhere else. If you really want to be safe and avoid U.S. laws and taxes, move.

Location Switzerland

Description/legal status: Accounts can be set up in person or via mail. The key feature of a Swiss bank account is Secrecy and anonymity. It works like your American bank, but most legal matters like divorce, taxes and bankruptcy are considered private. In fact, the Swiss are known for keeping their secrets. While some countries change their laws under American pressure, Switzerland just keeps going. On the other hand, everyone knows about Swiss bank accounts, so if a creditor knows you've got one, they also know you’re hiding something.

Locale: Cayman Islands

Description/legal status: Once again, it’s basically like setting up a U.S. account. The difference is that Cayman accounts are geared to corporations, so it’s possible to open an account and keep your identity a secret. In other Words, your corporate name will be the only name the bank knows. If you’re clever and really concerned about secrecy, you’ll insulate yourself with a series of corporations, making a paper trail of holding companies that don’t lead to you. The Cayman Islands don’t officially encourage illegal activity like tax evasion, but they don’t report deposits or interest on those deposits -- that’s your job. But remember: In the war on terror and drugs, Cayman banks have buckled under American pressure. This means that when the bank opens its doors to the American government to catch a drug dealer or terrorist, it also opens the door to your information.

Learn about stashing cash in Singapore and Luxembourg

Locale: Singapore

Description/legal status: The setup in Singapore is much the same as anywhere else. Money moves to Singapore primarily for tax reasons because the country has the lowest tax rate in Asia. If you play your cards right, interest earned in Singapore can be tax free. While you might get tax breaks on interest in a lot of places, there’s a good reason to choose Singapore: Investment happens locally.

Singapore banks pump money into China’s growing economy. So when you put your money in a Singapore bank, you’re doing three things: saving on taxes, investing in the world’s fastest growing economy and protecting your money by letting local experts pick and choose the investments for you. In other words, you get to invest in Asia without leaving home and without paying U.S.


Locale: Luxembourg

Description/legal status: There are a few hurdles to opening an account in Luxembourg, but they're minor. For example, you'll  need a reference from your current bank and you’ll need to be able to answer some financial questions about how you intend to use that money in Luxembourg (if at all).

Like Singapore, Luxembourg is known for a great return on investment, but that return has dropped for some deposit holders who are citizens of European countries. If you’re not affected, you’ll grow your money tax-free in a very stable country. In other words, if you pick Luxembourg over Singapore, you make a tradeoff: Your money might not grow as fast (although it will likely grow), but you won’t be exposed to the risk of investing in a developing economy.

Bank on it

While we tend to think of offshore banking as an underground act, it’s really quite legitimate. But the basic lesson learned here is that if you bank offshore, complying with your native country’s laws is up to you. In other words, unlike American banks that report your income to the IRS, offshore banks leave you on the honor system. You can save a bundle on taxes, clear a higher return on your investment or simply keep your affairs private, but if any of that runs afoul of the laws in your own country, you might need to visit your money in person -- permanently.

On the other hand, if you don’t break the law, you can reap the benefits of offshore banking without breaking a sweat.


Winston Wambua

International Offshore Specialist
For more information please contact me on
Mobile +971553350517

Skype: Winston.Wambua


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  2. Setting up an offshore bank account
    is quite easy and simpler than other jurisdictions. Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts on this important topic.