Some time ago, an overseas safe deposit box facility contacted me about removing them from that list of offshore private vaults I maintain on this blog’s sister site.
The concern was over the use of the word “offshore” with the website- and the negative connotation associated with it these days.
I sympathized with the vault operator and happily complied with the request.
I was already well-acquainted with the demonization of pretty much anything having “offshore” attached to it while creating/naming the Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes blog and Offshore Private Vaults website four years ago. However, I was comfortable with the use of the word with these projects since the secured storage of lawfully-obtained/owned, privately-held belongings outside the United States (plenty of legitimate reasons to do so, and perfectly legal per Uncle Sam) is different from offshore banking (no financial transactions are being conducted).
Offshore finance is under attack today as the so-called “Paradise Papers”– “a huge leak of financial documents that throw light on the top end of the world of offshore finance” as BBC News calls it- makes headlines in the legacy media.
But note what the BBC also said concerning this material. Tucked away in a “Paradise Papers reporting team” web article yesterday:
The vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing.
(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)
And there’s this “pop-up” accompanying a piece by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reportedly overseeing the investigation:
Please read the statement below before searching. There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.
(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)
While the “Paradise Papers” may result in additional vilification of anything “offshore” among consumers of mainstream media, likely users of offshore products could shrug it off (while keeping in mind the importance of following the law). It’s conceivable this group ends up dismissing the matter after they contemplate/investigate potential agendas and/or influences.
I leave readers with this, which I posted on April 5, 2016, with the release of the “Panama Papers”:
Even though offshore corporate structures, offshore banking, and the like aren’t exactly my forte and not really areas this blog and sister site Offshore Private Vaults focus on, I feel I too should emphasize “offshore” doesn’t necessarily mean “criminal.”
The secured storage of legally-obtained and owned assets in bank and private, non-bank safe deposit boxes located outside the United States is perfectly within the law. And as regular readers of this blog know, Americans do it for a variety of reasons, including:
• Securing and having convenient access to valuables while residing, studying, travelling, and working overseas
• Geographically-diversifying wealth per the advice of financial/investment advisers
• “Prepping” for potential nationwide emergencies/disasters, where domestic access to privately-owned assets becomes impossible
• Protecting assets should “Uncle Sam” ever go rogue and join the growing wealth confiscation movement across the globe
While both the blog and website are aimed at the law-abiding, I still go so far as to communicate the following to visitors:
“Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes strongly condemns any attempted use of these overseas storage containers for illegal purposes.”
“Offshore Private Vaults strongly condemns any attempted use of these private vaulting facilities and their safe deposit boxes/lockers for illegal purposes.”
As it concerns U.S. government reporting requirements, just last week I blogged:
If “Uncle Sam” requires precious metals in an offshore bank safe deposit box to be reported, then by all means, you should do it.
And should taxes be involved, the way I see it, it’s like The Good Book says:
Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…
In conclusion, who knows how far the fallout from the “Panama Papers” will extend. But it would be a real shame if offshore asset protection , and in particular the tool of the offshore safe deposit box, gets thrown under the bus from this event despite it being beneficial and legal for Americans to pursue.
By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)
(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)
Paradise Papers Reporting Team. “Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed.” BBC News. 6 Nov. 2017. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41876942?ocid=socialflow_twitter&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=twitter). 7 Nov. 2017.
“Offshore Trove Exposes Trump-Russia Links And Piggy Banks Of The Wealthiest 1 Percent.” International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 5 Nov. 2017. (https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/paradise-papers-exposes-donald-trump-russia-links-and-piggy-banks-of-the-wealthiest-1-percent/). 7 Nov. 2017.