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Offshore Banking Is It Legal?
Offshore Banking - Is It Legal?
If two phrases every seemed to go together, it would be offshore banking and tax evasion. At least, that's what we are told. So, is offshore banking legal or not?
First off, what is offshore banking? Most people picture exotic island destinations like the Bahamas or Cayman Islands. While these are offshore banking destinations, the true definition of offshore banking is doing banking in any country other than the one you are a citizen of as an individual or base your business in if you are a country. When someone from Russia opens an account at the Bank of New York, they are doing offshore banking. If an English citizen opens a bank account in Boston, they are pursuing offshore banking.
Now, it goes without saying that the type of offshore banking that gets all the notice is the type that has serious confidentiality laws. These include locations like Switzerland, the various offshore islands and some countries that you probably have never heard of such as Andorra. Andorra is a tiny country in the mountains between Spain and France. Despite having a tiny population, a surprising number of Ferraris are seen in the area!
So, is offshore banking legal if you are a citizen of the United States? Can you just fly on down to the Caymans and open an account? YES! There is no law that even remotely suggests that you are barred from pretty much putting your money in whatever bank you like. There is, however, a big caveat to this.
As a citizen of the United States, you must pay tax on all your income regardless of where it is earned. You also must give notice to the IRS that you have money held in offshore accounts. As long as you comply with the regulations and pay the taxes on any gains, you are not going to be in any trouble.
So, what do so many people run into problems? Temptation. You have that money sitting offshore in a bank account. If you invest it in stocks in Europe, who is going to know? If you make money, how is ...