“Unsafe”, “risky”, “illegal” and “only for the rich” are just some of the words that have been used to describe offshore tax havens. So let us begin by immediately putting an end to those myths. The term “offshore tax haven” simply signifies any country that has a friendlier or more advantageous tax climate than your own country of residence or domicile. If the truth were known, establishing an offshore company or trust or other type of legal structure is just like forming a similar structure in your domestic country of residence except that it will be governed by the laws of a different country.
What is enshrined in the enabling legislation of most offshore jurisdictions is privacy, confidentiality and the basic right to structure your own affairs as you deem most appropriate to suit either your personal or corporate circumstances. More often than not, the confusion with the whole issue of going offshore stems from lack of knowledge and fear of the unknown. Misinformed professional advisers only exacerbate the situation by advising their clients only about what they themselves know.
Nowadays, with the internationalisation of world economies, global financial management and participation in an array of cross-border transactions is more common than ever before. Such opportunities are now available to both small and large investors alike and protecting those investments (and other assets) is another key reason why people ‘go offshore’.
The very fact that there has been a concerted effort by various leading nations to sensationalise and provide misguided information about the use of offshore jurisdictions simply highlights the reality that a significant amount of legitimate international investment and other financial activity is now being conducted “offshore” and, because of this, they have begun to lose control of the traditional money management role they once monopolised. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s assets and investments are held through the use “offshore” jurisdictions.
Indeed, Belize (like many of these countries) offers a full range of financial services in a well-planned and regulated environment – while at the same time still offering a level of privacy and confidentiality not found “onshore”. In this context, the term “international financial services centre” – rather than “offshore tax haven” – is now more appropriate since we essentially offer the same kinds of services available in the more traditional financial centres.
However, this is certainly no place to hide ill-gotten gains or to further some criminal objective and we are keen to emphasise that we are only open for business for those seeking the legitimate use of our services. With this in mind, there are strict procedures and policies in place with respect to anti-money laundering and the prevention of terrorism and drug-trafficking.