Anonymous accounts, Swiss numbered accounts, secret bank accounts. Most people know all this only from the rich and powerful, from people who want to hide something. But the reasons to open an anonymous offshore account do not have to be illegal. One reason to open an anonymous offshore account is to protect privacy. Other reasons are to optimize interest or taxes. Another reason is to reduce currency risks. How anonymous is an offshore bank account really? And what must be considered when opening an account in 2023 in order to be truly anonymous? Find out in this article.
What is an anonymous offshore account?
An offshore account is not simply an account abroad. Offshore literally means “offshore”. Offshore financial centers used to be located to a large extent in the British colonies, which were often remote islands. This is where the name comes from. Offshore is often defined as “outside the usual legal norms”. Therefore, people often associate it with illegality. However, this is not correct. When you incorporate an offshore company and set up a suitable account, you are acting legally. You are merely conducting business outside of domestic legal norms. So you can legally open an offshore account in Dubai, for example. For an American opening an account in Germany, the German account would then be the offshore account.
This also applies to a private offshore account. You also open this abroad as opposed to your checking account. However, opening a private offshore account is not that easy. As a rule, this can only be done locally, i.e. on site.
Reasons to have an anonymous bank account.
People with an international lifestyle are the main beneficiaries of an offshore account. These include digital nomads or companies that operate internationally. Those who place a high value on anonymity and privacy open an anonymous offshore account. However, this is now only possible in a few countries. Most banks verify the identity of the account holder. There are still exceptions. In Singapore, Seychelles, Honk Kong and Dubai you can open an account anonymously. However, you have to report income to the tax office. So, at least for the tax authorities, the account does not remain anonymous for long.
Still, the most important reasons for opening an anonymous offshore account are privacy, protecting money from creditors and avoiding taxes. An anonymous offshore account can protect from access by government tax authorities, creditors and other the much mentioned ex-spouses. All these will not get to your money if you park it in an anonymous offshore account. However, the degree of this protection depends on the individual offshore countries and their laws. Offshore accounts can also protect you from paying too much tax, but avoiding taxes altogether is not possible.
The advantages and disadvantages of anonymous banking at a glance:
The advantages of an anonymous offshore account are therefore obvious:
- Easy access to funds
- safe protected capital
- less taxes
- more interest
- easy international investments
- diversify currency
- maximization of personal freedom
- optimal protection of privacy
- maximum possible anonymity
Aber es gibt auch Nachteile beim anonymen Offshore Konto. Zum einen beziehen sich diese auf das volle anonyme Offshore-Konto, welches fast nicht mehr möglich ist. Das erläutern wir weiter unten. Zum anderen gibt es generelle Nachteile von Konten im Ausland.
- Relativ hohe Kosten für die Kontoführung und Transaktionskosten wie eine Überweisung
- möglicherweise Eröffnungsgebühren und Schließungsgebühren
- teilweise lange Transaktionsdauern
- Verständnisprobleme durch Sprachbarrieren
- politische Instabilität in Korruption im Offshore-Land kann zur Unsicherheit des Geldes führen
- Verkauf Ihrer Daten (Stichwort Panama Papers)
How anonymous is an offshore account in 2023?
A number of new regulations have been adopted in recent years. They serve the international cooperation against corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and money transfers for the purpose of criminal business and terror planning. As a result, completely anonymous offshore accounts are no longer possible. The most important regulation in this regard is the automatic exchange of information on financial accounts (AEOI) from 2016, which brought about huge changes in the anonymity of bank accounts. Specific regulations that emerged from it include the U.S. FACTA and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standards (CRS). Switzerland is also subject to the AEOI. Since it came into force on January 1, 2017, the previously absolutely anonymous Swiss numbered account has thus also been history.
Under the automatic exchange of information, the country in which you set up an offshore account will provide data to your domestic tax office. This includes of course the pure information about the opening, private as well as business. Furthermore, the banks communicate account balances and also transactions to the tax office. So you can protect your privacy with an offshore account. Likewise, you can also save taxes and benefit from higher interest rates. Tax evasion or even other crimes are not possible.
Where to open an anonymous offshore account?
Full anonymity is only possible in a few countries such as Montenegro, Serbia, Taiwan or the USA. These countries have not yet joined the automatic exchange of information between banks and states. However, this will also change in the next few years. If you open an account in these countries now, you still have a truly anonymous offshore account. However, if the countries are then also subject to AEOI, that will be the end of it.
If you have a residence in Germany or another country that is subject to the strict guidelines, a truly anonymous offshore account is not possible. Then the only option is to transfer your residence on paper to tax havens such as the United Arab Emirates. This in turn requires a lot of skill. DLS Dubai advises and accompanies you on the way to more privacy. Feel free to contact us!
Overview of countries where you can open an anonymous account:
- Hong Kong
Other popular offshore financial centers:
- Cook Islands
- Isle of Man
- Cayman Islands
- British Virgin Islands