In the wake of the Paradise Paper leaks, there has been a public outcry in response to the revelation of documents connecting high profile figures and companies with offshore accounts in low-tax jurisdictions.
Though the Paradise Papers revealed no illegality, governments and the media have criticized those named in the documents accused of safeguarding wealth overseas to avoid paying higher tax rates.
Those named included the Queen of England, members of the US and Canadian Governments and Apple amongst others.
Exploiting the public’s desire for sensationalism the media has continued to portray offshore banking and finance as a shadow world of illicit underground dealings failing to recognize that it provides a necessary service that enables and supports the globalized economic structure providing many services for industries across the spectrum.
On the surface, the resentment seems understandable as the media's portrayal of offshore tax havens has skewed reality often blurring the lines of legality as a means to shock the polling middle class.
The United States’ crackdown on tax avoidance and last years release of the Panama Papers has also fed into the public’s distrust of offshore companies.
Despite the continuing barrage of negative press as well as the tightening of tax loopholes by the OECD and other multilateral organizations, the Paradise Papers shows that not only is the offshore industry thriving, but is being used by some of the most recognized names in world today to invest and safeguard wealth.
Offshore finance has its reach in all sectors of society and will continue to grow as more regular individuals become aware of the personal and financial opportunities afforded to them by taking their wealth offshore.
Individuals should be looking to diversify their assets to ensure they are protected, as a multi-jurisdictional structure gives one a reliable backup plan for the future.
Global entrepreneurs and digital nomads with a non-local market base or who have international dealings greatly benefit from being able to incorporate in low tax markets that offer a wide range of options through competitive tax vehicles offered.
In today’s hyper-globalized economy, wherein a company based in a specific country makes its goods in one foreign market, are sold in another, both of which are outside the company’s country of residence is commonplace.
Such complex business arrangement requires a structure that reflects the business's scope. The need of shifting one's tax base to reflect this dynamic reality is not a luxury only for the wealthy but a matter of necessity for any regular individual.
International companies and the global elite are not the only ones that seek to minimize their tax burden, as any ordinary hardworking person seeks to maximize their savings, however, the only difference being is that they have the foresight that allows them to pursue an offshore alternative.
There are many reasons why an individual would chose to go offshore; as an alternative to the traditional banking system, offshore structures give individuals a form of asset protection that is unrivaled within the standard financial industry allowing complete security for all variety of assets.
The release of the Paradise Papers shows how it is used not only among the fringes of society, but is being used by some of the biggest names and companies in the world.
If these companies and individuals are going offshore for wealth protection and tax planning, there is a good chance that they are doing so for a reason.
There is a widely held misconception that offshore protection is used only by the wealthy elite and is not for the average citizen; however, like all stereotypes the offshore industry suffers from many perceived illusions.
As the Paradise Papers reveal, offshore tax structuring is perfectly legal and has a variety of uses and purposes depending upon the need of the individual such as creating a secure multi-jurisdictional business company too establishing an international holding company.
Offshore holding of physical and intellectual property are becoming an increasingly important commodity in today’s highly technological world where intangible goods and information are increasingly hijacked.
Where specialized information and knowledge remain highly prized resources, patents, trademarks and copyrights are increasingly needed to safeguard proper ownership.
The global technological drive and its continual movement innovation has made security and property rights all the more important.
Security and protection should not be a luxury afforded only to the few but a necessity for the many, especially in today’s current unstable political climate.
Many companies that conduct their business outside their country of residence require a strategy that maximizes their international leverage.
These offshore investment vehicles give individuals a platform where they can conduct business without being taxed until the revenue is repatriated.
As investing in foreign companies and markets become more of a possibility for the average individual, so to does the need to have a structure that holds these assets.
Offshore holding companies for example, provide the individual with the ability to retain assets in a tax neutral location that can be easily transferred and invested. While most countries have laws that tax revenue brought within its borders, revenue that is made internationally outside the borders of residence need not to be taxed.
This type of tax structuring is not just for the wealth or the well-connected but for any knowledgeable person who is looking to explore the options that are readily available to him.
The interconnected global economic environment has all but eroded physical boundaries as the flow of assets and cross-border transactions has enabled individuals from across the world to have access to local markets.
This has enabled the average investor to have access to markets previously unimaginable. Former colonies and developing nations in their bid to attract potential investors and companies offer favorable business environments and corporate benefits to attract foreign assets such as low or zero tax benefits and confidential reporting.
While this draws resentment from many modernized economies who attempt to undermine low-tax economies through bullying tactics such as ‘blacklisting’ or by erecting trade and financial barriers, they do so as a means to manipulate and control the worlds financial flows for their own benefit.
The result is that there is a culture of misinformation, as seen in the medias portrayal in the wake of the Paradise Papers leaks, used by the media, governments and their apparatuses to smear an industry because it is not within the umbrella of the traditional financial oligarchs.
The offshore industry will continue to thrive despite what is outwardly perceived, as the global economic environment will continue to need offshore structures to support its growth especially as more individuals begin to wake up and realize its benefits.
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