Offshore banking account - Open Swiss Banking Account

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Offshore banking account

Offshore Bank

What is Offshore Banking?

The broad definition of an Offshore Bank, as indicated above, is bank which is located in an offshore jurisdiction different from the domiciled jurisdiction of the depositor. One of the numerous benefits of opening an Offshore Bank Account is that they are often situated within tax havens, which means that the individual pays less tax. Additionally, these international banking accounts also provide substantial offshore asset protection and privacy benefits to the offshore account holder. The types of offshore bank accounts available to depositors are greater than in the home jurisdcition, due to the more relaxed regulations and restrictions imposed by the offshore havens. This means that the manipulation of these accounts to benefit the investor or depositor is greater. An offshore account held in the most reputed offshore financial centres will, also, often have a lesser tax liability than in the UK and Europe.

For those domiciled in Britain, any bank outside of the UK can, technically, be referred to as “Offshore Banking”, for the purposes of these information pages we we will highlight only those locations proven to provide the aforementioned quantifiable benefits of offshore asset protection and tax efficiency. It is important to note that although one assumes that these tax havens are located in islands such as the Cayman Islands or Channel Islands, in actual fact they do include landlocked countries such as Switzerland or Luxembourg.


This is something I highly recommend if you are serious about your business and, of course, can find both time and money to do it. For small businesses, it might not be feasible to fly all the way to the bank – at least not initially. Remember, even if you start with something simple like a bank account in Belize, you can open another one later when your business has grown.

There are two distinct advantages with visiting your offshore bank in person:

First, it establishes a human relation between you and the bank. This can be very important.
Second, it vastly increases the number of available banks, primarily throughout Asia and some places in Europe and Central America. Many banks here simply will not open an account unless you are the bank in person.
Third – as a bonus – it may reduce the due diligence and documentation required. You are considered a lower risk to the bank if you meet them in person. For example, you will not have to provide a notarized copy of your passport. You simply show them the original.

Documents Required to Open an Offshore Bank Account

This is going to be quite generic. Not all banks ask of all of this and some banks – especially Panamanian – ask for even more.

Personal offshore account

Notarized copy of passport (or other form of photo identification). Some banks also require apostille.
Notarized copy of a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address. Some banks also require apostille.
A bank reference. This is usually a letter from a bank, on the bank’s official letterhead, stating that you have been a customer for so and so many years and have always been an upstanding customer. Don’t worry if you haven’t. As long as you are still a customer of the bank, they will almost always provide one.
A professional reference. These are quite rare, but some banks require them. Can often be substituted for another bank reference (if you use two different banks). Professional reference is a letter from a lawyer, accountant, or other person of reputable profession confirming that you are of good character.
Proof of income. This can be a set of bank statements or pay slips showing your monthly salary. If your income is from savings or investments, you will need to provide proof of these. It does usually not have to be notarized

Corporate offshore account

The first four are the same as for a personal offshore account.

Notarized copy of passport (or other form of photo identification). Some banks also require apostille.
Notarized copy of a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address. Some banks also require apostille.
A bank reference. This is usually a letter from a bank, on the bank’s official letterhead, stating that you have been a customer for so and so many years and have always been an upstanding customer. Don’t worry if you haven’t. As long as you are still a customer of the bank, they will almost always provide one.
A professional reference. These are quite rare, but some banks require them. Can often be substituted for another bank reference (if you use two different banks). Professional reference is a letter from a lawyer, accountant, or other person of reputable profession confirming that you are of good character.
Full set of notarized company documents. This includes memorandum and articles of association, certificate of incorporation, certificate of good standing, register of directors, register of members/shareholders, and company structure diagram (if there are corporate shareholders, for example).
Detailed business plan, outlining the goal of the company, estimate turnover/revenue, marketing channels, and a competition analysis.

 
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