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Offshore Banking Privacy not Secrecy

Offshore banking can be a good tool for currency diversification, investing and privacy. However Offshore Banking also has never been more misunderstood than it is today. Many fears surface when the suggestion of international business, private offshore investments and offshore banking are mentioned. The idea of hiding money in a bank vault in another country where it cannot be found by prying eyes post 911 is very unrealistic, if not laughable.

Thousands of pages of under-analyzed and over-enforced laws have been enacted in the U.S. in the past few years. Banking within the borders of the U.S. is rapidly become less of a private matter. The implications of this are staggering, as anyone having even a cursory knowledge of the US PATRIOT Act and other similar laws knows that we are in a new age of fear and regulation.

Wherever you are in the world your government now has access to any and all of your financial information, account balances, transactions, purchases etc. Offshore jurisdictions offers banking privacy to law-abiding, business oriented and money producing people, away from the prying eyes of the professional takers armed with a lawyer ready to sue.

You should consider only countries having superior banking secrecy laws along with solid economic and political systems. These countries include many located in the Caribbean and Latin America (such as Panama and Costa Rica), as well as several of the developing Eastern European countries such as Latvia as well as tried and true places like Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Singapore.

However, there are some points to consider before opening a bank account in a foreign country. The first is to make sure that all information provided is thoroughly reviewed, while the second is to consult with an international tax advisor and financial advisor about any reporting requirements, tax implications and questions you may have. When considering a foreign account, be sure that you know the answers to the following questions:

How is my privacy protected?
Is the banking institution a top level institution?
Are there any fees to register and keep my account in good standing?
What are the rates of interest paid on the account?
Are there any limits to withdrawals?
What type of identification is needed to set up the account?
Does the bank give proper reporting for my home jurisdiction?

Always ensure that the country you are planning to set up your bank account in has STRONG privacy laws. Better still; make sure that they are able to assist you either by phone, web, or email in the language you speak. You should NEVER expect that the privacy laws will shield you from the any tax authority or governmental agency. The era of the "private" bank and/or investment house is alive and well, the era of the secret account that cannot be found is dead and gone