You might think that offshore investing is something only really wealthy people do. It's often misconstrued as something you might do if you're trying to hide your wealth from the tax office.
That's far from the truth. Offshore investment simply means taking advantage of investment opportunities outside the country or region in which you live. If you have a pension, you're likely to have offshore investments already. It's a lot more common than you might think – and it's totally legal.
If you're already an expat, you're likely to have an offshore bank account, whether that's in your home country or elsewhere in the world you may have lived. Offshore investing takes this one step further – rather than just holding your money overseas, you invest it there, be it in property, a business or in offshore investment funds.
We've already mentioned a few things you might invest in overseas. If you're looking to make your money work harder, offshore investment platforms are similar to those you might find at home, typically offering a mix of stocks, assets or offshore funds. Depending on your personal circumstances, these may be more tax or exchange-rate efficient than investing in your own country.
If you're already living or working abroad, you're planning a move or get paid in a foreign currency, investing offshore could make sense. It could help you avoid big dips in the local currency – particularly if you're investing with a view to buy another asset – such as a house, or a business in the country or region where your cash is invested.
If you already own assets abroad, or you support family members living away from home – school fees, for example – keeping your investments local to them can make managing your financial commitment overseas easier. Alternatively, if the country where you're based has poor financial regulation, you may wish to invest somewhere with better regulation.
With many offshore funds offering tax benefits, you can improve rates of return simply by re-investing growth.
It's your responsibility to disclose your income to any relevant tax authorities and declare any interest earned on offshore accounts and investments. However, if the investment company has a favourable tax status, your investments may benefit indirectly if the company passes on some of its savings.
An offshore investment is simply one which is based in a country / region where you aren't a resident. It's perfectly legal to invest money in offshore funds provided any income or gains are appropriately reported and taxed in your country or region of residence.
How much you can invest offshore depends on the country or region where you want to invest, and the fund you wish to invest in. There may be minimum eligibility requirements depending on the fund you wish to invest in.
Offshore investments are taxed in the same way as other income tax on your dividends from foreign shares, and capital gains on any growth. However, there may be rules in place where you're based to avoid 'double taxation'. Always check the rules in the country or region where you live. Tax benefits are based on the status of the investment company, who may then choose to pass on any savings to investors.
The funds we offer are based in Luxembourg, which offers a favourable tax status that we pass on to you. They aren't based offshore in the traditional sense, but as HSBC Expat are an offshore bank, they are still classed as offshore investments.
There's never a better time to start investing than now. Find out if you can benefit from offshore investing by speaking to one of our wealth advisers today.
HSBC Bank plc, Jersey Branch has prepared this article based on publicly available information at the time of preparation from sources it believes to be reliable but it has not independently verified such information.
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