There are a number of key reasons why individuals and businesses consider going offshore for asset protection purposes.
The asset protection advantages the offshore world offers extend from protecting a business from excessive taxation to opening doors to enable wealth and asset enrichment via the utilisation of offshore investment opportunities.
Until relatively recently creating and running a business offshore was something done only by the super wealthy or by large corporations, but today establishing an offshore company couldn't be easier and more and more people are beginning to see personal advantages in operating their business in this way.
Not only are there many cost effective offshore company solutions available nowadays but it is possible to purchase a fully functioning and legal off the shelf company in countries with low to no taxation and unrestrictive reporting requirements and begin your business trading the same day!
The result of making the offshore world far more accessible is that many more average people are finding that they can run their businesses legally from an offshore location and in so doing protect and benefit themselves and their assets.
Ideally the primary asset protection advantages of running a business from an international position result in increased profits and security and the advantages include: -
Tax eats away at assets and therefore tax reduction is the number one advantage people seek to gain by going offshore.
An offshore company or trust arrangement when properly structured may significantly reduce the levels of an individual's or business' tax liability and thus protect underlying assets from being eaten away through excessive and restrictive taxation.
Straight Asset Protection
Placing company or personal assets out of the reach of an opponent or prospective creditor is straight asset protection. By making assets unattractive or legally unobtainable by third parties you achieve straight asset protection.
Because of the nature of society today where litigation is par for the course, many more business professionals are at greater risk of legal action being taken against them, and many more individuals face losing out in acrimonious divorce battles - therefore protecting one's assets offshore can be a very effective way to ensure long term asset security.
Offshore Investment Opportunities
There are far more potentially high returning investment opportunities available offshore than domestically. Also, as many of the world's stocks are traded outside your country of residence there could be a significant advantage to trading offshore.
Developed countries are increasing the levels of surveillance we are all placed under; as a result many more people grow concerned about their growing lack of personal privacy. By moving business activities and assets offshore this can directly assist with increasing personal privacy and the confidentiality of business and financial transactions.
Of course, it goes without saying that the privacy available will not protect people who are engaged in serious criminal activity.
Estate or Inheritance Tax Planning
We are all at risk of loosing a considerable amount of our estate in income and excise taxes when we die. With carefully structured and well managed offshore solutions such as trusts it is possible for some people to reduce their estate's liabilities and therefore pass the estate's assets to their heirs with minimum tax and liability problems.
These are just the five main reasons people seek to exploit the world of offshore opportunities for asset protection purposes; there are many more potential advantages to going offshore but they all depend on an individual's personal situation and requirements. It is essential to seek professional advice before considering going offshore and this article does not constitute advice in that sense.
Rhiannon Williamson is the publisher of ShelterOffshore.com - the online resource for offshore, expatriate and international investors.
For personalized investment and offshore advice, readers of Shelter Offshore benefit from the site's strategic alliance with deVere and Partners, the world's largest offshore financial advisory. Visit the deVere and Partners offshore advice service page to find out more.