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Offshore Accounts: What You Need To Know

May 10, 2008
The whole idea brings up a bad image in the general public's mind. For many people, the whole idea of offshore investing brings up a picture of shady investors looking for places to hide their money where the tax rates are more to their liking at next to nothing, and while that may be the deal for some investors who paint the whole bunch badly, there are many more honest businessmen with offshore accounts that play by all the rules. Once you understand what it is and what it isn't, you might even consider offshore investing in the same way that you put your money into a local bank.

The concept is simple and offers access to a wide range of investment options outside one's country. One of the common vehicles for this type of investment are those offered in the money market segment of the financial market. All the options in the money market are quite common and this segment of the financial market is characterized by short maturity dates. To find out more specifics about what's available in these money markets, consider talking to a financial planner or other professional.

One of the first advantages to having offshore accounts is the fact that they are quite often tax havens. Often the financial powers that be in these countries actively seek the wealth of people from outside their national borders by luring the money in with a variety of tax discounts. Often, offshore investors start a company that allows other investors to place their money into this newly created firm and stave off the huge taxes that they would normally have to pay in their home countries. These offshore accounts also stimulate the local economy by bringing in money and economic activity. Of course as the tax base eroded, larger more developed countries took steps to ensure that they could regain some of their tax dollars.

The IRS has closed many of the loopholes that were once enjoyed by offshore investors, even the revenue that was once exempt from federal tax law has been included recently. As well, the federal tax collectors now go after all of a corporations' or citizen's worldwide income and not just the money that they make in the country. All this means that people or corporations that invest in offshore accounts may be changed with income tax evasion for not being forthcoming with all their information.

As well, these offshore accounts are expensive to get going. The person deciding of they want to start this type of investment needs to ask themselves how serious they are about this kind of venture before they start out because there's more to the procedure than first meets the eye. In certain cases some of the investors are required to have their own land in the country but at the very least there are steep legal fees and corporate or account registration fees. One of the reasons that the fees are so high to start one of these offshore accounts is simple. The firms that make their money by helping to set up these businesses know that the people involved have a fair amount of wealth at their disposal and they know they can charge accordingly.

Most of us don't have the kind of money that it would take to invest offshore successfully, but for those that do there are many things that need to be considered before you set up any offshore accounts.
About the Author
Financial Services Company offering offshore investment with offices in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman and London offering offshore account services to clients worldwide.
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