The Challenges of Effective Offshore Tax Planning
From the Managing Director, Healy Consultants
Last week, media attention was brought to an article published by The Guardian, “Swiss
whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and
famous to WikiLeaks”, the second instalment of a three-part series on tax avoidance in the
U.K. and around the world. Subsequently, conversation has stirred around the Swiss banker
who previously managed offshore operations for Julius Baer Bank in the Cayman Islands,
not covered by laws protecting Swiss banking secrecy. Elmer has since been arrested for
turning over sensitive documents to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.
In light of this story making international headlines and the relevant controversy that
surrounds the topic, this weeks blog post is abou Offshore Tax Planning.
Many people presume that any use of offshoring services is illicit. This is false.
Offshore company formation, offshore trading, and offshore banking are nothing new. They
are not just for the rich. These services are legitimately used all over the world.
The truth is, many companies from small business owners to large multi-nationals use
offshore services. They set up companies, affiliates, joint ventures and franchises overseas.
Food & beverage, banks, clothes manufacturers, retail distributors, shipping companies,
independent consultants…it is a long list of legitimate offshore businesses.
The United States can be seen as the largest tax haven in the world by technical definition,
asWilliam Meers of the Huffington Post points out in his blog. Meers also iterates the
definitions of overseas structures:
“An offshore bank account is simply a bank account which is based in a different
jurisdiction to where you, as an individual or entity, legally reside. No more -- no
less. A tax haven is simply a location which has lower tax rates for foreign
investors than would be available in their domestic jurisdiction -- and entices
Legitimate uses for an offshore company apply to all sizes of business and investments, not
just corporate giants. There are political protections and investment advantages.
What isn’t legitimate is tax evasion. Healy Consultants does not condone evading taxes.
That is why we offer international tax planning services and accounting services to all of our
clients, without exception.
Despite Elmer’s efforts, a recent New York Times article reports they might be in vain. The
individuals disclosed in the documents may go untouched, according to American tax
lawyers. If these account holders are adhering to their resident country or countries' tax
laws it is a non-issue and they've done nothing wrong.
The problem of overseas bank accounts isn’t being offshore. It’s holding assets offshore
without due diligence to tax systems. Because Healy Consultants does not condone evading
taxes, international tax planning services and accounting services are offered to all
international clients, without exception.
Offshore account holders who have their accountants doing their job have nothing to worry
about, but if there is one moral to this story, it is this: Hire a good accountant.
Aidan Healy is the managing director of Healy Consultants Pte Ltd.
To make sure your offshore investments are in order, talk to a Healy Consultant. Contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.healyconsultants.com.