To believe the surveys, half the world is either already an expat,
or planning to become one. Tens of millions of people work abroad, or
have retired there, or have property in a foreign country.
upon a time, perhaps in the days of the British
Raj, expatriates had a financially golden life
style in recompense for the perceived horrors
of a foreign posting involving endless travel,
unpleasant insects and unpronounceable but deadly
diseases. Once you had shaken the dust of London
or Paris or Philadelphia from your feet, you could
forget all about tax inspectors and set about
hiring an extensive staff of punkah-wallahs and
major-domos to run your immense colonial villa
while you drank gin and tonic on the verandah
(against malaria, of course).
your 30 years in the sunshine, with wrinkled skin
and full pockets, you could retire to a small
country house in the Home Counties, New England
or Normandy, to swap travellers' tales with your
reality nowadays is both more mundane and more
challenging. Over-crowded airports, intrusive
tax inspectors, the Internet and hyper-active
investment advisers are just some of the features
that are combining to form a new and very different
landscape for expats.
But at least today's expat is not short of advice from the banks which
offer international financial services.
There are multiple reasons why a person may choose to expatriate. Better
weather is often cited as a major reason for leaving home for those living
in cold northern climates in Europe and North America. Other frequently
given reasons include the more relaxed lifestyle, lower crime and slower
pace of life in the destination country, particularly for retirees. Then
there are those who may find themselves posted to a foreign city as part
of their career, or because their business interests require their presence
in a foreign country. Last, but certainly not least, many people choose
to move abroad to improve their financial position and to take advantage
of higher incomes and lower rates of tax.
Whatever one's reason for expatriating, this is certainly not a decision
to be taken lightly however, and many pitfalls await the unwary expat.
As HSBC Bank International's 2010 Expat Experience Survey 2010 observed,
emotive worries can cause much greater concern for expats than practical
The most common concern for expats ahead of moving to their new country
according to the survey is re-establishing a social life (41%), feeling
lonely and missing friends and family (34%), although experience in this
regard varies widely from country to country.
Worries about re-establishing a social life caused less of a concern
for those heading to the Middle East (Bahrain 28%, Saudi Arabia 27% and
Qatar 33% compared to a 41% average).
Missing friends and family is a large concern for expats based in Australia
(49%) and Canada (46%) and can probably be accounted for by the distance
these expats are moving away from home. As the majority of expats based
in Australia and Canada were originally from the UK (70% in Australia
and 62% in Canada), time difference and long journeys to see loved ones
understandably cause concern.
While language barriers caused worries for just under one third (30%)
of expats overall, this figure was greatly increased for those heading
to Europe. Expats heading to Germany were particularly worried about language
barriers, which was a concern for 59%, as well as 58% in Switzerland,
57% in France, 55% in the Netherlands, 50% in Spain and 46% in Belgium.
Making friends is a key component in helping expats to deal with the
challenges of moving to a new country and to settle into their new home,
and Europe is the hardest region to make friends according to the report,
with European countries dominating the bottom five places in the ease
of making friends league table. The Netherlands proved to be the hardest
of all with only 36% of expats based here finding it easy to make friends
when relocating, alongside 40% in Germany, 42% in UK and Switzerland and
44% in Belgium. This could be largely attributed to the language barriers
faced by expats heading to these countries. Spain and France fare better,
placed 9th and 12th respectively, while Bermuda (1st) and Bahrain (2nd)
the top spots.
Expats in Qatar (85%) and the UAE (84%) are most likely to only integrate
with fellow expats, followed by Bahrain (81%), Hong Kong (79%) and Saudi
Arabia (73%). Expats in Canada are most likely to integrate within local
society and make friends in their host country. Nearly half (45%) of Canada-based
expats go out with local friends as much as fellow expats.
The Middle East, along with the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India,
China and Southr Africa), are the most difficult expat locations to set
up in. India was the most difficult country for expats overall (25th)
with adjustment to the new culture and lifestyle something expats here
found particularly challenging. Russia (23rd) and China (20th) also dominated
the bottom quartile, with expats having particular trouble when it came
to organising their healthcare and travelling around locally.
Then there are the kids to worry about, as countries which provide expats
with the greatest benefits in terms of salary and economic rewards don’t
always provide the best quality of life for children and families, according
to HSBC's 2011 Expat Explorer survey.
The Raising Children Abroad league table ranks countries on three main
factors important for expat parents: Childcare, Health and Wellbeing,
and Integration. The findings revealed France (1st), the Netherlands (2nd)
and Australia (3rd) to be the top places for raising children abroad.
Children in these countries appear to lead a much healthier lifestyle:
they are more likely to be spending time outdoors (France 53%, Netherlands
53% and Australia 75%) and playing sport (France 47%, Netherlands 56%
and Australia 81%) than average (47% and 46% respectively).
The UK comes last in the Raising Children Abroad league table due to
expensive childcare costs and poor social integration. Expat parents in
the UK spend an average of USD12,790 per child per year on childcare -
the highest cost of any country and well above average
Perhaps it's the Internet which has made the biggest difference to the
lives of expats in recent times, however. Indeed the worldwide web has
revolutionised expats' everyday lives, with the instant communication
that it offers helping to shorten the distance with friends and family
back home, at least psychologically.
HSBC found that expats are using the latest in social media and communications
technology in particular in order to stay in touch with loved ones all
over the world. While Facebook tops the list as expats’ social media
channel of choice, expats across the globe would be lost without the latest
technology such as Skype to keep in touch with their friends and family.
Across the globe, 84% of expats rely on internet voice and video software
Skype to stay in touch with friends and family, as traditional communication
channels such as the landline telephone (63%) and letters (68%) are relegated
in favour of newer forms of communication.
Lisa Wood, Head of Marketing at HSBC Expat, says: “Expats really
rely on methods of communication that can easily keep them in touch with
friends and family abroad. That’s why social media is a fantastic
tool for expats and can be invaluable in keeping up-to-date with what
is going on in their local community. It also offers expats additional
support when they first relocate, allowing them to easily keep in touch
with friends and family back home and find help and advice on settling
in from others in their situation."
- whether working or retired - may still regard
their status as an escape from over-crowded, cold,
northern cities, but no longer does the tax inspector
forget about them when they leave. Americans have
it worse than anyone else, because they continue
to be taxed as if they are resident, with a few
minor concessions; but everyone else has to think
about their residential situation and taxation
of current income both while they are overseas
and afterwards. Then there is inheritance tax
to worry about; and the major problem of how to
amass retirement savings that will not be pounced
on by one tax authority or another.
it is not all bad news. There are many countries
in which expatriates receive complete or partial
exemption from local taxation (some of them even
with nice climates); and for most nationals it
is possible to find sophisticated investment structures
which do a good job of preserving wealth during
and after expatriation.
If you are expecting to become or remain an expatriate in 2012, the time
to consider your financial and tax situation is now. Don't leave it until
you have made the move!
most expats, offshore banking and investment offers
opportunities for greater tax efficiency, confidentiality,
and the ability to take advantage of an international
investing perspective, free of the petty restrictions
that often apply in high-tax countries. Continuing
globalisation, and the increased use of electronic
banking mean that for you as an expatriate, a
multitude of opportunities have opened up which
would not have been available a few years ago.
freedoms do of course depend on your residential
status and the tax rules in your home country.
For many expats a period of non-residence can
be just what the bank manager ordered; but for
some nationalities, US citizens for instance,
mere expatriation isn't enough to escape home
In this special feature, we will be looking at the different types of
offshore investment suitable for expatriates and the business of choosing
a place to live - for those that have a choice! But first, a warning:
many high-tax countries have been tightening up on residence rules and
most definitely have taken a far closer interest in offshore investment
structures during the last few years.
The UK Cracks Down On Residence Rules . . . .
For Brits, for instance, a long-running court case has sent an ominous
signal of the UK authorities' intent to crack down on Britons who are
resident abroad for tax purposes. The initial ruling by the Special Commissioners
back in 2006 caught many tax experts by surprise, by upholding an interpretation
of tax residency rules by HM Revenue & Customs which runs counter to the
tax department's own guidelines.
The case in question involved businessman Robert Gaines-Cooper, a British-born
multi-millionaire businessman based in the Seychelles, who has claimed
not to be resident in the UK for tax purposes. Under UK tax law, a person
is treated as non-resident for tax purposes provided that they spend no
more than 90 days in the country per year. This allows wealthy business
owners to live in low-tax jurisdictions such as Monaco and Switzerland
but jet into the UK for one day per week to do business. But the Special
Commissioners ruled that days of arrival and departure were to be counted
towards the 90-day allowance.
Gaines-Cooper eventually lost the case after unsucessfully appealing
to the High Court, the Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court,
leaving him to face a multimillion-pound tax bill. Explaining the reasoning
behind its 4-1 majority decision the Supreme Court said that while guidance
on how to achieve non-residence "should have been much clearer",
the guidance, when taken as a whole informed taxpayers that one would
need to leave the UK permanently, indefinitely or for full-time employment,
and do more than to take up residence abroad and relinquish ‘usual
residence’ in the UK. Information was also provided that subsequent
returns to the UK had to be no more than ‘visits’ and that
any ‘property’ retained in the UK by the taxpayer for their
use could not be used as a place of residence.
Tax experts have said that the Supreme Court's ruling has merely muddied
the already murky waters of the UK's archaic and confusing residency laws
still further. "Today's judgment was ultimately about whether HMRC
guidance can be relied upon by tax payers," observed Alex Henderson,
partner at PwC, on the day of the decision. "Gaines-Cooper had followed
what he thought were the rules on residency but HMRC had claimed its guidance
was not binding. Yet it's always been the case that the underlying law
needs to be considered and the revenue's guidance is exactly that: guidance."
A long-awaited statutory residence test has been proposed by the coalition
government, and has been welcomed across the board because it will, hopefully,
bring much-needed clarity to the law in this area. The test, which was
due to be put in place in April 2012 has, however, been postponed by a
The government has also tightened up on many aspects of the 'non-dom'
status which has been enjoyed for many years by residents of the UK who
are not domiciled there. This process began under the previous Labour
government, which in 2008 introduced a GBP30,000 annual charge for those
non-doms having resided in the country for seven years. The new Con-Lib
coalition government however, is taking a slightly more relaxed approach
to the issue, having proposed in 2011 to increase the annual charge to
GBP50,000 for those non-doms with 12 years' residence, but at the same
time encourage investment by removing the charge payable by non-doms for
the remittance of foreign income or capital gains to the UK for the purpose
of investing in a UK business. In addition, the government has pledged
not to introduce any further changes to the non-dom system during the
life of the current parliament, due for dissolution in 2015.
Despite howls of anguish that the non-dom charge would lead to an exodus
of wealth-creating entrepreneurs and talented professionals from the UK,
the increase in the annual charge is not being treated with too much alarm,
given the government's overall message, and that non-doms represent a
relatively small section of the UK tax-paying population.
Francesca Lagerberg, Partner and Head of Tax at Grant Thornton noted:
"While the initial news of a GBP20,000 increase in a remittance charge
may be seen as a red flag to those non-doms considering long-term stays
in the UK, the government is clearly keen to send out a message that the
UK is open for business. Therefore there will be encouragement to bring
money into UK for non-doms who are investing in UK businesses".
However, Carolyn Steppler at Ernst and Young suggested that the increase
in the remittance basis charge "could result in a leak of talent
overseas" and further undermine the UK's economic competitiveness.
"Many more non-doms will have to face the full force of the UK tax
rules and may leave the UK as a result. Non-doms are essential to the
UK economy and the cost for some of them of remaining in the UK will nearly
double overnight," she observed.
Traditionally, those resident but not domiciled in the UK pay full tax
on their UK earnings, but only pay tax on their foreign income if it is
remitted to the UK (the so-called 'remittance basis' of taxation). Taxpayers
have to pay the new annual charge along with any other tax resulting from
income declared on their annual tax return, but only if they have been
resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten tax years. Non-doms can
forgo this charge if their overseas income amounts to less than GBP1,000
per year, or if they opt out of the residence basis of taxation and allow
their worldwide income to become taxable in the UK.
. . . . And The US Isn't Any Kinder
US expats also took a blow in 2006 because of the Tax Increase Prevention
and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA), signed by President Bush in May of that
year. Although this Act increased the amount that can be earned by non-residents
free from US taxes to $82,400 from the previous level of $80,000 (now
USD91,500) , income earned by expats above this threshold is now typically
subject to higher tax rates. Furthermore, high housing costs, much of
which previously could be excluded from the computation of US tax, are
now treated as a taxable benefit and taxed often at 30% to 35%, making
many individuals worse off, or leaving the employer to pick up the extra
bill. The legislation was retroactive to January 1, 2006.
According to a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in
Singapore, a substantial number of US expats living in Singapore considered
returning home as a result of these changes. The survey polled 585 members,
and received 144 responses. It found that almost 40% were thinking about
returning home to avoid being hit by increased tax. Half of the sample
also believed that the tax changes would prompt employers to hire less
US workers abroad.
“These tax changes are disastrous for Americans abroad and for American
business. No other developed country imposes such onerous taxation on
the earnings of its workers abroad and our members are seriously concerned
about the financial impact on them and whether it is worth remaining overseas
selling American goods and services," stated AmCham Executive Director,
Nicholas de Boursac.
AmCham said at the time that the financial impact will be felt most by
those American expatriates who are not tax-equalized and whose employers
do not absorb the additional tax impost. 66% of those surveyed were not
tax-equalized, and of this group, 30% expected a tax increase of between
US$5,000-15,000, while a third expected increases of more than US$15,000.
AmCham warned that even those US expats who are not directly financially
impacted by the changes will still be affected because companies will
hire less expensive employees.
The situation for US expats hasn't got mush better under the Obama administration,
which has made cracking down on international tax evasion one of its highest
priorities. Many innocent tax-compliant expats have, as a result of this,
found themselves unwittlingly caught in America's ever-increasing web
of tax reporting rules.
Indeed, by 2009, the situation had become so “untenable”
says American Citizens Abroad (ACA), which represents the interests of
US expats, that it felt compelled to send letters to President Obama,
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Chairman of the now-defunct President’s
Task Force on Tax Reform, Paul Volcker, urging them to rethink the “draconian”
ACA’s letter to the President describes four policies which it
considers are “infringing upon the constitutional and economic rights
of US citizens overseas” and are causing “severe prejudice”
to these citizens and to the nation.
The letter states:
“First, the proposed reinforced Qualified Intermediary regulations
are so draconian that banks overseas are getting rid of American clients
rather than face the administrative hassle and the perceived legal risks
of complying. If Americans overseas cannot even open an ordinary bank
account for everyday transactions in their country of residence, how can
they live and function in the modern economy?”
“Second, the Patriot Act, in 2001, tightened the Know-Your-Customer
regulations. Many US banks have decided that this KYC clause cannot be
fulfilled if the customer lives overseas. Consequently, these banks are
closing accounts of US citizens on the sole ground of their overseas addresses.
This denial of service clearly infringes upon the constitutional and economic
rights of US citizens.”
“Third, the new more inclusive Treasury FBAR [Report of Foreign
Bank and Financial Accounts] filing requirements for foreign bank accounts
are excessive and carry unduly harsh penalties for not filing or incorrect
filing, even when this is done unknowingly. Due to the extra-territorial
reach of the FBAR to bank accounts where the US citizen has no financial
interest, non-US companies and organizations are removing US citizens
from positions of responsibility to protect their privacy and strategic
interests. FBAR also creates numerous problems in the everyday life of
American citizens, and specifically those with foreign spouses.”
“Fourth, US citizenship-based taxation, unique among nations, subjects
overseas Americans to double taxation. A flagrant example of recent tax
injustice is the 2006 TIPRA act, which opportunistically increased taxes
on Americans abroad to compensate for a domestic tax cut. Americans abroad
already pay taxes in their country of residence. In fact, they pay more
taxes in total than citizens living in the United States, yet they do
not benefit from US government domestic services. Residence-based taxation
is the only practical tax system that would be fair and allow Americans
to be competitive in the global economy.”
“Mr. President, we implore you to stand by the fundamental rights
of Americans abroad and we request that your team ensures that equity
and constitutional rights are respected for US citizens overseas,”
the organization’s letter to Obama concludes.
Following the disclosure in 2011 by the American Embassy in Ottawa that
an easing of reporting rules would shortly be announced for United States
citizens living in Canada, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued
a fact sheet summarizing information about federal income tax returns
and Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) filing requirements, and the potential
Under the IRS's FBAR rules, any US person (not necessarily a US resident)
who has a financial interest in or signature authority, or other authority,
over any financial account in a foreign country, if the aggregate value
of these accounts exceeds USD10,000 at any time during the calendar year,
is required to file a return.
However, the IRS says that it knows that some who are dual citizens
of the US and a foreign country may have failed to timely file US federal
income tax or FBAR returns, despite being required to do so. Furthermore,
it is also aware that some are now aware of their filing obligations and
seek to come into compliance with the law.
The IRS confirmed in December 2011 that penalties will not be imposed
in all cases. Those who owe no US tax (for example, due to the application
of the foreign earned income exclusion or foreign tax credits) will owe
no 'failure to file' or 'failure to pay' penalties. In addition, no FBAR
penalty applies in the case of a violation that the IRS determines was
due to reasonable cause, and not due to wilful intent to avoid filing.
It is explained that whether a failure to file or failure to pay is
due to reasonable cause is based on a consideration of the facts and circumstances.
Reasonable cause relief is generally granted by the IRS when a person
demonstrates that he exercised ordinary business care and prudence in
meeting his obligations but nevertheless failed to meet them.
Of particular interest to dual citizens living abroad, it is specified
that reasonable cause may be established if the citizen shows that he
was not aware of specific obligations to file returns or pay taxes, depending
on the facts and circumstances. A person may have reasonable cause for
noncompliance due to ignorance of the law if he was unaware of the requirement
and could not reasonably be expected to know of the requirement.
The IRS suggests that, on learning of a requirement to file FBARs for
earlier years, a dual citizen should file the delinquent FBARs and attach
a statement explaining why they are filed late.
The FBAR is considered by the IRS as a tool to help the US government
to identify persons who may be using foreign financial accounts to circumvent
US law. Investigators use FBARs to help identify or trace funds used for
illicit purposes or to identify unreported income maintained or generated
However, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had, in an open letter
to the media written in September last year, pointed out the difficulty
which the FBAR rules caused to the many dual US-Canadian citizens and
their relatives living in Canada, the majority of whom, he said, hold
only distant links with the US and were, therefore, unaware of the disclosure
"Because they work and pay taxes in Canada, they generally do not
owe any taxes in the United States in any event. Their only transgression
is failing to file the IRS paperwork they were never aware they were required
to file," he observed.
Another worry for US expats however, is the the Foreign Account Tax Compliance
Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2012, and which has prompted
a growing chorus of indignation and concern from banks and financial institutions
dealing with Americans all around the world.
Under the law as passed, foreign financial institutions, foreign trusts,
and foreign corporations will be forced into providing information about
their US account holders, grantors, and owners. FATCA imposes a 30% withholding
tax on payments to foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and other entities
unless they acknowledge the existence of offshore accounts to the IRS
and disclose relevant information including account ownership, balances
and amounts moving in and out of the accounts. Among other rules, the
legislation requires US individuals and entities to report offshore accounts
with values of USD50,000 or more on their tax returns, and mandates electronic
filing of information reports about withholding on transfers to foreign
accounts. Advisors who help set up offshore accounts have to disclose
their activities or pay a penalty.
Form 8938 is required when the total value of specified foreign assets
exceeds certain thresholds. The thresholds for taxpayers who reside abroad
are higher. For example, a married couple residing abroad and filing a
joint return would not file Form 8938 unless the value of specified foreign
assets exceeds USD400,000 on the last day of the tax year, or more than
USD600,000 at any time during the year.
It is confirmed that Form 8938 is not required of individuals who do
not have to file an income tax return, but that the new FATCA filing requirement
does not replace or otherwise affect a taxpayer’s obligation to
file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts).
Failing to file Form 8938 when required could result in a USD10,000 penalty,
with an additional penalty up to USD50,000 for continued failure to file
after IRS notification. A 40% penalty on any understatement of tax attributable
to non-disclosed assets can also be imposed.
Where Are The Best Expat Locations?
According to a survey of expatriate hot spots by Mercer, the global consulting
firm, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia and Hong Kong are amongst
the world's most benign personal tax environments while Belgium, Denmark
and Hungary are the least attractive. The data also shows that, in general,
married employees are better off than single employees, while married
employees with two children fare the best.
Mercer's Worldwide Individual Tax Comparator Report analyses the tax
and benefits systems across 32 countries, focusing on personal tax structures,
average salaries and marital status. This data is used by multinational
companies to structure pay packages for their expatriate and local market
single managers, the UAE is the most attractive
tax environment according to percentage of net
income available. The UAE ranks highly, as it
does not assess any income tax, and the country's
social security contributions amount to only 5%
of an employee’s gross salary. Russia, ranked
number 2, applies a flat tax of 13% across all
income levels, while Hong Kong was placed 3rd,
with taxes and social security contributions at
14.2% of gross base salary.
Russia, in general, European countries have less
attractive tax environments and dominate the bottom
of the rankings. The UK ranks joint 14th, followed
by Ireland (18), Spain (19), and Switzerland (21).
France and Germany are ranked 22 and 29 respectively.
the bottom of the rankings, single managers in
Hungary (30), Denmark (31) and Belgium (32) pay,
respectively, 48.5%, 48.6% and 50.5% of their
gross income in taxes and social security contributions.
Waite, a senior consultant specialising in international
issues, commented: "Local taxation is one
of several factors that multinationals take account
of when deploying staff across the globe. It has
an obvious impact on take-home pay, and in some
countries with low or zero tax rates it is an
important incentive for employees to work abroad.
In other high-tax destinations, multinationals
need to create compensation packages that at least
match their expatriates' purchasing power in the
important considerations for expatriate allowances
are housing, private schooling and local cost
of living adjustments, and there are additional
complications around contributions to the home
country pension plan. These factors can all contribute
to the high cost of a global expatriate workforce."
Wiesner, Mercer's head of operations in Dubai,
added: "We often find that the UAE's zero
taxation is a strong draw for expatriates on short-term
assignments. For three to five years, young professionals
can fast-track their savings to afford a mortgage
when they return home, while senior executives
can maximise their savings potential ahead of
retirement. It's in these particular groups that
we get a really good mix of expatriate talent
markets dominate the top end of the rankings with
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and
China (Beijing) ranked 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The lowest
ranked Asian market is India at 14 (sharing this
position with the UK, Australia, and the United
States). In the Americas, Mexico (8), Brazil (9)
and Argentina (10) outrank the United States (14)
and Canada (20).
to Niklaus Kobel, researcher at Mercer's Geneva
office: "Marital status is still a major
factor in determining local tax rates. The data
highlights the fluctuation in tax rates applied
according to an employee's income level and marital
status. It is important to note that high tax
rates do not necessarily mean less affluence."
Not all taxation systems vary according to marital status, however. Married
employees in Brazil, India and Turkey have similar tax rates to single
Quality Of Life
As has already been mentioned, there are a large number of other factors
which may dictate where some choose to expatriate, and if it is overall
quality of life that you are looking for, then European cities have tended
to come out on top recently.
Mercer's 2011 Worldwide Quality of Living Survey shows that European
cities represent over half the cities amongst the top 25 in the ranking
because of their modern infrastructure, high-quality medical services,
good personal safety records and opportunities for leisure and recreation.
Vienna topped this league table, but German and Swiss cities dominate
the top of the ranking, with three cities each in the top 10. Zurich (2)
is followed by Munich (4), Düsseldorf (5), Frankfurt (7) and Geneva
(8), while Bern shares ninth place with Copenhagen.
In the next tier are Amsterdam (12), Hamburg (16), Berlin (17), Luxembourg
(19), Stockholm (20), Brussels (22), Nurnberg (24) and Dublin (26). Paris
ranks 30 and is followed by Oslo (33), Helsinki (35) and London (38).
Lisbon is number 41, Madrid is at 43 and Rome ranks 52. Prague, Czech
Republic (69), is the highest-ranking eastern European city, followed
by Budapest, Hungary (73), Ljubljana, Slovenia (75), Vilnius, Lithuania
(79), and Warsaw, Poland (84). The lowest-ranking European city is Tbilisi,
However, Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer, warns that economic
and social factors may reduce quality of life in many parts of Europe
in the future.
“European cities in general continue to have high standards of
living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined
with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities," Parakatil
said. "But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack
of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard
to predict. Countries such Austria, Germany and Switzerland still fare
particularly well in both the quality of living and personal safety rankings,
yet they are not immune from decreases in living standards if this uncertainty
In Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand tend to dominate the region's
rankings, with Auckland identified as the best city for quality of life
(3rd in the overall ranking) followed by Sydney (11), Wellington (13),
Melbourne (18) and Perth (21). The highest-ranking Asian cities are Singapore
(25) and Tokyo (46). Hong Kong (70), Kuala Lumpur (76), Seoul (80) and
Taipei (85) are other major Asian cities ranked in the top 100. Meanwhile,
Dhaka, Bangladesh (204), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (206), and Dushanbe, Tajikistan
(208), rank lowest in the region.
“As a region, Asia Pacific is highly diverse," says Parakatil.
"Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore dominate
the top of both our general and personal safety rankings, in part because
they have been continuously investing in infrastructure and public services.
In general, the region has seen a greater focus on city planning. Nevertheless,
many Asian cities rank at the bottom, mainly due to social instability,
political turmoil, natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis, and
lack of suitable infrastructure for expatriates."
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Dubai, where the expat population has outnumbered
the local population for a number of years, is ranked highest for quality
of living across the Middle East and Africa, although the city is placed
only 74th in the global rankings.
Dubai is followed in the rankings by Abu Dhabi, UAE (78), Port Louis,
Mauritius (82), and Cape Town, South Africa (88). Johannesburg ranks 94
and is followed by Victoria, Seychelles (95), Tel Aviv (99), Muscat, Oman
(101), and Doha, Qatar (106). Africa has 18 cities in the bottom 25, including
Bangui, Central African Republic (220), N’Djamena, Chad (219), Khartoum,
Sudan (217), and Brazzaville, Congo (214). Baghdad (221) is the lowest-ranking
city both regionally and globally.
“The recent wave of violent protests across North Africa and the
Middle East has temporarily lowered living standards in the region,"
Parakatil notes. "Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and
Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably. Political
and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding
to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region as a key
player in the international arena.”
In the Americas, Canadian cities dominate the top of the region's ranking.
Vancouver (5) has the best quality of living and is followed by Ottawa
(14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (22). Honolulu (29) and San Francisco
(30) are the highest-ranking US cities. In Central and South America,
Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (63), ranks highest, followed by San
Juan, Puerto Rico (72), and Montevideo, Uruguay (77). Port-au-Prince,
Haiti (218), ranks lowest in the region.
“The disparity in living standards between North and South America
is still considerable," Parakatil observes. "Though a number
of South and Central American countries have experienced positive change,
political and safety issues predominate in the region. In particular,
drug trafficking, drugs cartels and high levels of street crime, combined
with natural disasters, continue to impair the region’s quality
The cost of living is also an imporant consideration for expats, and
a recent study by ECA International indicates that Japan is the most expensive
place to live.
ECA's 2011 Cost of Living Survey found that Tokyo is the world's most
expensive city for expat workers for the second consecutive year, with
three other Japanese cities also featuring in the top ten of the global
index, including Nagoya (4th), Yokohama (6th), and Kobe (10th).
The Norwegian capital Oslo was ranked as the world's second-most expensive
city for international assignees, with Geneva in third place. Three other
Swiss cities were placed in the global top ten, including Zurich (5th),
Bern (7th) and Basel (9th), despite the value of the Swiss franc falling
against major currencies in the aftermath of the Swiss National Bank's
move to set a minimum exchange rate against the euro.
Despite much turmoil in the eurozone, the euro has strengthened on average
against other major currencies over the last year. As a result, locations
in the zone have risen in the ranking, while those in the US, for example,
and in locations where the currency is pegged to the US dollar, such as
Hong Kong, have typically fallen.
Hong Kong has tumbled down the list of most expensive locations as a
weaker dollar continues to negate the impact of rising prices. Hong Kong's
26-place drop in the global ranking is the largest fall of any city in
Asia and puts the SAR in 58th position globally. Within the region, Hong
Kong has slipped from being the 6th to the 9th most expensive location,
despite the price of goods there having increased even more than this
time last year.
"We are typically seeing higher price levels across the region
compared with September 2010, and Hong Kong is no exception: items in
ECA's cost of living basket have gone up by more than 7% in the last twelve
months," said Lee Quane, Regional Director, Asia for ECA International.
"However, when we look at Hong Kong in a regional context, the weak
dollar means that the city is now cheaper than a number of other locations
including Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai, where there has not only been
significant price inflation but also currencies have strengthened. While
this is good news for many companies who have international assignees
in Hong Kong, sending staff out of Hong Kong could become more expensive
for businesses if allowances designed to protect an employee's purchasing
power whilst on assignment need to be increased."
"While, in locations like Singapore, price inflation has worked
alongside exchange rate movements to push a location up the cost of living
ranking, in other cases currency fluctuations are still outweighing the
impact of inflation,” explains Quane. “For example, despite
dramatic price increases in Vietnam, the devaluation of the dong earlier
this year has caused locations there to drop down the ranking. So while
locals will see their costs going up, the spending power of assignees
will have increased due to the effect of exchange rates."
Caracas (13th) continues to be the most expensive location for international
assignees in the Americas. The Venezuelan capital is followed by Rio de
Janeiro, placed 22nd globally, and Sao Paolo in 29th position.
Vancouver, placed 43rd globally, is the most costly location in North
America. New York's Manhattan is in 46th position, down from last year's
28th place. Locations across the United States have seen some of the biggest
falls in the global ranking, largely due to the depreciation of the US
dollar against many major currencies.
In most offshore jurisdictions, interest earned on bank deposits is free
of tax for non-residents. Also of great importance from an expat point
of view is the convenience factor associated with offshore, for example
the ability to receive and deposit funds remitted from your home country,
or income earned from working overseas (for example fees, salary and expenses),
in sterling, US dollars, or any one of a number of hard currencies.
Contrary to what most aspiring expats may think, banking in a foreign
country is not as dangerous and risky as may first appear, and according
to a survey released in Janaury 2012, the majorty of expats continue to
have a high level of trust in foreign banks, despite the ongoing financial
The Expat Banking Poll survey sponsored by Lloyds TSB International and
conducted by expat website Just Landed, suggests that expats aren't worried
about keeping their money in foreign banks, and as many as 59% of the
1,184 respondents trust their banks abroad. 22% of respondents however
do not trust their banks "at all".
"These figures should bring great comfort to expats," said
Daniel Tschentscher, managing partner at Just Landed. "In the current
climate, one would expect the level of trust to be lower, but that really
doesn't seem to be the case at all."
However, the poll shows significant differences between popular expat
destinations. Banks in the Middle East seem to enjoy some of the best
reputations among expats. In the United Arab Emirates, 74% completely
trust local banks, in Kuwait this number is even higher at 83%.
In Europe, German banks receive a similar score, with 68% of expats completely
trusting their services. UK banks are completely trusted by only 52% of
respondents. And despite uncertainties over the British pound, 36% of
expatriates claim they would invest in sterling over any other currency.
On the other extreme, expats in Spain are rapidly losing faith in the
national banking system. In Spain, 64% of expatriates do not trust local
banks at all, one of the highest levels of distrust worldwide. Some of
the most common problems cited by those who distrust banks abroad include
unfair charges, trouble with the language barrier and money that was deducted
from their account without any explanation.
Tschentscher added: "While the poll demonstrated a lot of positivity,
there are also some issues to be addressed. But in general, it seems expats
feel quite safe banking abroad."
offshore banks offer a range of services and options,
access accounts with credit card facilities;
- Fixed term deposit accounts, with the interest rates tiered according
to the length of the term, and the size of the deposit, although usually
levelling off at around the USD100,000 mark;
variable-interest deposit accounts, which may
offer higher rates than fixed-term accounts.
up an offshore bank account or investment portfolio
should prove to be no problem once you have decided
on the location and type of account. There is
generally a minimum amount for offshore deposit
accounts, and due to recent legislation designed
to prevent money laundering, identification is
usually required, despite the claims of some shady
service providers to offer 'fully anonymous' offshore
banking. Once the account has been established,
and if you are depositing a significant sum, a
relationship manager will usually be assigned
to advise and assist you in the management of
You will almost certainly need to open a bank account in your country
of residence for day to day transactions. If you are spending most of
your time there, you will probably have to pay taxes on income paid locally,
so it will often be best to have as much as possible of your income paid
directly into your offshore account in hard currency. This incidentally
protects you against any large fluctuations in the value of the local
a recent fly to have taken up residence in the
offshore banking ointment is the EU's Savings
European Union Savings Tax Directive (STD), which
went into effect on 1st July, 2005, in fact forms
merely one part of a major tax reform package
launched by the European Commission in 1997. As
originally drafted, the STD aimed at a uniform
'information exchange' regime to apply across
the Union, with all countries agreeing to report
interest on savings paid to the citizens of other
Member States to those States' tax authorities.
Because of resistance from EU Member States with strong traditions of
banking secrecy, the Commission had to allow Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium
to apply a withholding tax (at 15%) until 2009, since when they have been
applying the information-sharing model. Many of the UK's offshore financial
centres have been forced to join the STD, along with the Netherlands Antilles,
Aruba and some European centres (Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein and San
Marino). Most of these places took the withholding tax route, as did Switzerland,
which was the hardest nut for the EU to crack; those countries which apply
the withholding tax raised it to 20% in 2008, and to 35% in 2011.
STD applies to many types of return on savings
instruments, all loosely described as interest,
when received by individuals, but does not affect
interest paid to companies. Under the information
exchange system, the identity of recipients will
be known to their home tax authorities; when tax
is withheld, the identity of the recipient will
not be reported, thus preserving confidentiality.
Returns from the STD regime, which has now been in place for nearly six
years, are way below what had been hoped for in Brussels, reflecting no
doubt evasive action taken by savers to remove their deposits from banks
in countries which are applying the regime. Other low-tax countries outside
the scope of the STD have seen quite large inflows of cash, for the same
reason. It is essential to consider the effects of the Directive if you
have or are planning to have assets in the countries affected.
the Commission's attempts to broaden the scope
of the tax to include jurisdictions like Hong
Kong have been firmly rejected so far, it certainly
hasn't given up. In the case of Hong Kong, signing
up to the savings tax directive could mean altering
the Basic Law which safeguards the future of its
financial centre under Chinese rule. Singapore
on the other hand, is known to be staunchly opposed
to the idea of sharing bank account information
with the EU, and has rejected European overtures
to include information exchange provisions within
a broader economic agreement.
2008, a Commission Review Group which had been
working away for three years recommended a major
extension of the Directive in the EU itself to
close loopholes which have permitted many investors
to escape the tax until now, for example by moving
assets from bank accounts to vehicles such as
companies and trusts - which weren't included
in the legislation - or by shifting money to accounts
based in territories out of the reach of the directive's
information sharing provisions.
In January, 2009, the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs
Committee began its consideration of the Commission's proposals. Rapporteur
Benoit Hamon, a member of the Party of European Socialists from France,
made proposals for some significant changes to the plans already outlined
by the European Commission, proposing to end the transitional period with
a finite date, rather than by reference to the behaviour of third countries.
Under this proposal, the transition period would end three years from
the levying of the withholding tax at a rate of 35%, i.e. in 2014.
The Rapporteur proposed to replace the definitions proposed by the Commission,
which typically name a country and then set out the type of entity and
legal arrangements which would be brought within the Directive, with a
list of legal structures and then a list of the countries concerned.
"This could very dramatically expand the number of legal entities
caught by the Directive," observed Graham Mather, President of the
European Policy Forum. He continued:
"In Switzerland’s case, for example, the Commission proposal
mentioned two categories of legal entity, the Trust and the Foundation.
Under the new proposal this would be replaced by a list of twenty-four
bodies ranging from limited liability companies through international
banks, insurance and reinsurance companies, joint-ventures, settlements,
funds of all forms etc etc."
"The Parliament Rapporteur says that the legal entities can be brought
back out of the Directive if the country of jurisdiction makes an application
to the Commission to have them removed on the grounds that they could
not have their place of effective management located in the jurisdiction
concerned or on the ground that 'appropriate taxation of interest income
paid to these legal persons or arrangements is in fact ensured.' "
"The Rapporteur says his proposal is designed to reduce the possible
loopholes in the Directive but what it would do if carried into law would
be to expand the scope of the Directive enormously and create a massive
traffic of applications by third countries to seek exemption from the
"Other changes would expand the categories of paying agents caught
by the Directive and provide for its review from time to time to focus
in particular on the appropriateness of extending the scope to all sources
of financial income, including dividends and capital gains, as well as
to payments made to all legal persons. This, the Rapporteur says, is in
order to 'deal with any potential large scale circumvention of the Directive
in the future.' "
Mather points out that the amendments would have to go through negotiation
with the Commission, which will be aware that a number of member states
especially Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg will be uncomfortable with
the dramatic expansion proposed.
He turned out to be right; in January 2011 Austria and Luxembourg continued
to block attempts to agree on the terms of an extended directive at the
month's Ecofin meeting, with the termination of the transition period
during which the opt out of information exchange a particular sticking
By May 2011 the Hungarian Presidency thought that enough progress had
been made on the discussions that it announced ahead of that month's Ecofin
meeting that it would seek the Council's support for the idea of launching
negotiations with the relevant third countries (Andorra, Liechtenstein,
Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland). The Council was also to hold an "orientation"
debate on the Savings Taxation Directive with the objective of reaching
conclusions regarding the proposal to amend the Directive.
The European Commission then sought authorization from the Council to
begin the third country negotiations in July. At the start of 2012 however,
there are few signs that Austria and Luxembourg are any nearer to agreeing
banking is, of course, not the only option available
to you; depending on your situation, financial
status, and degree of openness to risk, there
are a variety of offshore investment options open
to you as well. Funds are the most straightforward
and readily available option. These range in risk
from low yielding bond funds to highly-geared
hedge funds, so there is something for everyone.
investment is especially suitable for the busy
expat, because you can choose to invest in a certain
class of assets without having to examine the
characteristics of individual assets in detail.
The tax efficiency of offshore funds often means
that they have higher yields than equivalent onshore
funds, so it may pay you to transfer existing
onshore assets into offshore funds, although you
have to be careful about the costs of transfer,
and especially capital gains tax. You also have
to consider what may happen when, and if, you
is the case onshore, there are two different types
of investment fund available:
- Private funds. Suitable for those expats with a longer term investment
horizon, and more capital (usually not less than USD1,000,000, although
individual investments may be as little as USD50,000). These are usually
closed-end funds, involving up to 50 investors, and often generate greater
returns than public funds. Quite often they would use a structure known
as a Limited Partnership which allows residents of higher-taxed countries
(eg the US) to repatriate profits to offset against losses or expenses
at home. This might be a suitable structure depending on your long-term
Public funds. These are usually open-ended,
i.e. you can sell out at any time, which gives
investors more flexibility. More and more public
funds are based in offshore jurisdictions even
though their investment targets may be in high-tax
areas. If they have invested in capital assets
(eg capital growth funds or real estate) then
gains will be tax-free. As is the case onshore,
there is a wide range of portfolio management
tools available from offshore fund management
equity investment is another rapidly developing
investment sector, which may also be of interest
to you as an expatriate. Equity investment used
to mean investing in securities listed on your
local stock exchange to the exclusion of foreign
stocks, but of recent years, all this has changed.
There is a growing number of stocks that are listed
offshore - dividends and capital gains will of
course be tax-free and they can be bought through
local brokerages. As long as you have a satisfactory
non-resident tax situation, you can also buy onshore
equities without risking capital gains tax, but
you will find that dividends have usually been
subject to withholding tax, which you may not
be able to reclaim.
is an area in which the Internet has opened up
new possibilities for investors, as online brokerages
and some investment sites and exchanges allow
you to manage your portfolio quickly and easily
wherever you are in the world. The physical barriers
to international investing of a few years ago
simply do not exist for today's expatriate investors.
Expatriate investment is therefore not limited
to funds and equities, but can also include other
types of onshore investment activity such as derivatives
trading (futures and options), and their cousins
spread-betting and contracts for differences.
But it must be said that risk doesn't diminish
with distance: arguably, if you are away from
a particular market-place, with even the best
on-line information sources you are somehow missing
knowledge you might have had if you were present.
These more exotic types of investment are not
for the faint-hearted!
you are thinking about offshore investment, it
may be worth giving some thought to your pension.
Although pensions investment is usually tax-privileged
in high-tax countries, as an expat, you face additional
problems, namely that while non-resident, you
will probably not be able to continue taking advantage
of the tax incentives 'at home', even if you want
to retire there.
investment is a tricky area for expatriates, and
more than ever you will need to consult with an
independent professional. However, you can consider
your basic options prior to doing so, and these
will depend greatly on the circumstances surrounding
you are employed by a company in your home country
(and are part of an in-house pension scheme),
and you are moving abroad to work for that same
company, then in some countries you may be able
to continue contributing to that plan; in the
UK for instance you can continue to contribute
for a maximum of 10 years.
you are moving abroad to work for a company with
no ties to your home country, then you may be
allowed to join their local pension scheme. Only
in a few cases will you be able to transfer the
pension rights back to your country of residence
when you return, unless you continue to work for
the same company; and usually the terms of transfer
are highly unattractive.
you have been contributing to a personal pension
scheme, however, the news is usually worse, as
in certain countries, for example the UK, you
are only allowed to contribute to your pension
plan for as long as you are taxable there.
The right decision will obviously depend on your personal circumstances.
If however you are going abroad for an extended period, and especially
if there is a good chance that you will retire to some other part of the
world, there may be an argument for transferring your home pension assets
offshore straightaway, even though that may (probably will) entail a tax
penalty if your contributions have been tax-privileged. On the other hand,
the tax penalty of transfer taken together with the exit penalty from
your scheme may combine to make a transfer very costly. If you are lucky,
you may find that your pensions provider has an offshore branch, and you
may be able to induce them to make the transfer on favourable terms in
order to keep your business.
Some countries, including the UK, will only allow the transfer of an
existing tax-privileged pension fund to another country if it applies
similar rules, ie restricting investment options and limiting cash-outs
to 25% of the fund. To some extent the QROPS mechanism (Qualified Recognized
Offshore Pension Schemes) permits bona-fide long-term non-residents to
bypass the restrictions, but you need highly qualified professional advice
before undertaking this route.
you decide to do about your existing pensions
arrangements, once you have established non-residence
(and non-tax-paying) in your home country, you
will have many options open to you to make retirement
provision offshore, in order to take advantage
of the peace of mind of knowing that your assets
are secure however your circumstances change,
and the greater flexibility over retirement date,
payments, etc, which could be so important to
you as an expat.
options can't be examined in this brief primer;
however, there are two broad categories of pensions
provision to choose between:
Designated pension or retirement schemes. There
are many of these available now, and they usually
accept payment in a wider range of currencies,
and generally require less maintenance on your
part. However, they do require a longer term
commitment (not ideal if your personal circumstances
are uncertain), and the penalties for early
withdrawal can be punitive. Although they may
appear to offer less generous rates of return
than on-shore schemes, remember that this is
because they don't assume tax relief on contributions.
Instead, you will receive the benefits tax-free
if you remain offshore.
DIY approach. You can opt for a more diverse
portfolio made up of different types of investment.
This is obviously less of a safe bet, but it
does mean that you can retain greater control
over your assets, and there are no penalties
should you need to withdraw for any reason.
you are going to work in a country which wants
to tax your world-wide income, or are going to
return to your home country to a world-wide taxation
regime, then you may want to consider establishing
an offshore company.
is another complex area in which professional
help is needed, but the interpolation of a company
can sometimes distance you from your income sufficiently
to avoid taxation. In some countries there are
plenty of rules to prevent this; but not in all,
by any means.
following may be of especial interest if you are
providing a personal service (for example in the
finance or engineering industry), or if you have
a substantial investment portfolio.
Company. This can be used to hold investment
portfolios, and is useful in providing enhanced
privacy. It can be particularly useful in some
offshore jurisdictions if you want to become
locally resident, and need not to receive income
yourself, although you may have a problem with
ownership restrictions on residents. (This leads
people to set up strings of holding companies
in different jurisdictions). If the income of
a holding company is used to make further investments,
it may be that you won't be taxed on it even
when you return to a high-tax domicile.
Personal Service Company. If you are engaged
in providing a personal or professional service,
you may be able to achieve considerable tax
savings, as you can contract to supply the service
regardless of residence, and the fees earned
can accumulate offshore while you work for a
low salary in the country where you are taxed.
It only works in some countries, and you may
have to do something more complicated than just
owning the company yourself, if it is not to
be 'looked through' by the taxman.
There are, of course, many other types of offshore company that can be
formed to deal with the needs of large corporations, or expats with very
specific needs, eg globetrotting entertainers or sportsmen.
offshore trust can be set up by an expat to serve
the same basic purposes as an offshore company,
namely confidentiality, tax minimisation, asset
protection, and estate planning.
principal difference between the two structures
is that with an offshore company, ownership is
maintained, whereas with an offshore trust, ownership
is transferred. This has the effect of creating
more distance between you and your wealth, so
that it's harder for creditors, the taxman or
your ex-spouse to get at it!
used to be primarily aimed at tax avoidance, but
in recent years the tax authorities in many high-tax
countries have passed 'anti-avoidance' legislation
that lets them attack trust assets while you are
alive, although they are still effective against
inheritance taxes. Trust assets won't be taken
into account during the probate process, so that
the death of the settlor does not affect the administration
of the trust, which still remains under the custodianship
of the trustees. This also allows a settlor to
maintain confidentiality over the size of the
estate, and avoid the delays and possible publicity
which would come as the result of a lengthy probate
procedure, not to mention the saving on inheritance
assets will remain in the trust for as long as
the original Trust Deed prescribed (in perpetuity,
if necessary, or for lesser periods), or until
the terms of the trust permit or require the Trustees
to distribute them.
Another area in which the use of trusts is growing is asset protection,
so if you have a fairly substantial liquid net worth that you would like
to protect, before, during, and after your expatriation, an offshore trust
may be the way to go.
A basic trust structure consists of three entities; the settlor, who
sets up the trust, the trustee, who acts as custodian, and the beneficiary/ies,
who can receive income from it.
originated in England, and most of the ex-British
offshore islands have trust legislation. Civil
law countries on the other hand tend not to have
trust laws, although some of them have copied
the concept of a trust in order to compete effectively.
Choosing Your Jurisdiction
are several factors to consider when choosing
an offshore jurisdiction from which to bank, invest,
or trade as an expatriate. The following are areas
that you will need to look at in order to make
a considered and profitable decision:
and economic stablity. This is a basic, but
Legislature. The situation with regard to banking
secrecy, for example, is undergoing changes
at present, and it is worth keeping abreast
of any issues which may impact on your investment,
before, during, and after expatriation.
- Professional infrastructure. This will need to be up to a good standard,
in order for you to receive the support and services that you require,
so you will need to check the banking, professional and advisory services
available, whether the jurisdiction is well equipped to deal with the
particular offshore structure that you wish to set up, and the general
standard of the business infrastructure in the jurisdiction. For a comprehensive
guide to the relative strengths and weaknesses of jurisdictions, and
contact details for service providers in each, please click here to
visit the Lowtax jurisdictions guide.
Communications network. This is an obvious concern,
but needs addressing. As an expat, you will
presumably not be resident in the offshore jurisdiction
itself, and may be moving around on a regular
basis. You therefore need to check that effective
communication between yourself and your advisor,
bank, or custodian will always be possible (and
preferably that you all speak the same language
with at least a reasonable degree of proficiency!)
Geographical location. This needs looking at
carefully, as it is of especial concern to expatriates.
Assuming that your expatriation is of fixed
duration, you do not want to have to move your
money from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as you
move around, or repatriate. The idea of investing
it offshore is that it is safe, and easily accessible
from anywhere in the world, in keeping with
your global lifestyle. It is therefore important
that you consider the time zone in which your
offshore structure is based. For example, an
expatriate based in Australia would find a relationship
with a Hong Kong bank very easy to maintain,
but an offshore structure established in Jersey
or Ireland virtually inaccessible, during normal
business hours at least. Online banking makes
this a little less of a concern, but it still
needs to be looked at.
you can see, even from this basic guide, the offshore
options for you as an expatriate are many and
varied, and there is something for any situation
and pocket. However, it is always advisable to
seek one-to-one financial advice before making
a decision about the type of investment that is
right for you.