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Offshore Banking FAQ

1. What is Offshore Banking?
It is simply banking in a jurisdiction other than the one in which you live.

2. Do I have to travel overseas to bank offshore?
No. You never actually have to visit your offshore bank. You can simply bank from wherever in the world you live, via Internet, e-mail, post or telephone.

3. Is it legal for me to have an offshore bank account?
Yes, absolutely legal in most of the countries. Offshore banking has been routinely and legally used for many years by individuals and organizations worldwide. Because many countries encourage international trade and enterprise, there are usually only limited restrictions on residents doing business or having bank accounts in other countries. However, reporting requirements on these accounts differ from country to country.

4. Can I get a debit or credit card with an offshore account?
Yes. You get an internationally accepted debit card in most offshore banks. And you can access cash from ATMs worldwide.

5. What is the minimum deposit required to open an offshore account?
It all depends on bank and which account you choose. But you can usually start off with a deposit of US $500.

6. In which currencies can I open an offshore account?
Accounts are available in all major currencies.

7. I would like to keep my personal affairs confidential for reasons other than tax minimization. Are confidentiality and privacy guaranteed?
The offshore jurisdictions offer extraordinary levels of confidentiality but they cannot offer absolute secrecy. All financial institutions have a legal obligation to report suspicions of serious criminal conduct. A serious crime is defined as anything which is a crime in the offshore jurisdictions.

8. Isn’t it illegal to move assets offshore or have ‘offshore bank accounts’?
It is legal to have accounts, funds, reserves, liabilities, assets etc. almost anywhere in the world. When you do not declare assets or profits, that should be declared according to your domestic tax code, (IRS, Revenue Canada, Inland Revenue etc), you are subject to certain penalties and fines or more. The key elements are if the assets and profits are ‘reportable items’ in that current year. Setting up offshore is not illegal; however, withholding information about your offshore investments is illegal in some countries. The question of legality often arises from propaganda supported by high-tax jurisdictions to keep their residents (and their tax money) at home. An offshore jurisdiction should be perceived as a foreign country – but with certain advantages. These can take the form of banking secrecy laws, advantages in forming companies for international trade or investment operations, no interest tax, no inheritance taxes, no capital gains tax, no individual tax, and many others. Depending on your personal needs or preferences, there will normally be one or more offshore jurisdictions offering the services you are looking for. We would suggest that you contact us to discuss your personal requirements in more detail.

9. What is the real Bank Secrecy?
Bank secrecy is a central attraction for offshore business. In some jurisdictions it is a criminal offence for bankers to divulge any information about a client's account. Bank is an industry based upon the notion of "confidence", whether this is placed in the individual institution on in the banking system as a whole.

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