Choosing an Offshore Tax Haven

Offshore asset protection can be more effective than restructuring your assets in Canada.  But with around 50 offshore jurisdictions in which offshore trusts could be established, or where you can be incorporated – how do you choose which will best suit you, your estate and your goals?

We can help you decide.

When considering the best offshore financial centre for you, we will look at the various characteristics, the forms of asset protection that the various offshore tax havens offer, and the levels of privacy provided.

Cayman, for instance, is one of the world’s largest bank centre, whilst the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has around 700,000 offshore companies.  The Turks and Caicos Islands, on the other hand, are smaller and offer a more ‘boutique’ service.  Lesser known potential tax benefits can be gained from investing in European countries, such as the UK, Holland and Denmark.

Typically characteristic of many offshore tax havens are:

  • No (or minimal) income tax
  • Bank secrecy meaning absolute privacy and confidentiality
  • No requirement to file accounts
  • The finance institutions are generally skilled, effective trustees
  • A similar legal system to Canada
  • Robust supervision by the financial services authorities
  • A generally attractive regime
  • Political and economically stable

What factors should I consider?

There will be further issues of particular importance to you, reflecting your personal preferences and circumstances.  For instance, ease of travel: most clients want to go to their jurisdiction of choice to visit the trustees and see the area.  In fact, we recommend this.

For this reason, Canadian investors often choose the Bahamas or the Turks and Caicos Islands for their proximity.  Investors who travel globally on business may prefer, say, Lichtenstein or a European jurisdiction.

In the age of instantaneous technology and communication, ease of communication is probably vital.   You probably wouldn’t choose a jurisdiction that takes a long time to get through by telephone, or where the internet frequently goes down. In addition, issues of time zone may also be an important issue.  Do you, for instance, want to have to communicate in the middle of the night?

Further factors you may want to consider include:

  • The different tax regime and regulations in the jurisdictions you are considering
  • The economic and political stability in the jurisdiction
  • Level and efficiency of the professional services
  • The international banking options
  • Locals tax filing, audit or reporting requirements
  • World image/perception

What’s clear is that you, with our help, are in the best position to decide which is the best jurisdiction for you.  Whatever your personal and business circumstances, we will navigate you through the choices available to enable you to make an informed decision on your tax haven of destination.

How can we help?

Our asset protection lawyers are highly experienced in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions.  Our practice head, Andrew Rogerson, is an internationally known, award winning asset protection specialist barrister with many years’ practical experience in offshore jurisdictions.  Contact us now to find out how an offshore trust can secure your assets for future generations of your family to enjoy.

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