OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT INTRODUCTIONS
To operate any business, the offshore company needs to have a bank account. A logical choice for bank account opening for a Belize IBC is in a bank, located in Belize.
Belize has several offshore banks that specifically cater to the non-resident customers and offshore IBC`s. All banks provide internet banking facilities, credit, debit or prepaid cards and most of the regular banking services.
Here are a few guidelines in regards opening an account for the offshore company.
Bank account introduction service
As bank account opening for an offshore company may take some time and seem complicated in the beginning, we can provide our bank account introduction service to facilitate the procedure and increase the chances of successful account opening. We have many years of experience working with different banks hence we are familiar with the requirements and preferences of each bank. The banks also feel more confident accepting new clients through reliable licensed introducers like us.
Nevertheless, please note that the bank account introduction fee, as quoted in our fee schedule, is not a fee payable for a guaranteed bank account opening. As the name suggests, the account introduction fee is payable for a professional service rendered by us during the introduction of a client to the bank. While we apply all possible effort to determine in advance whether a particular client might be acceptable to a bank and to prepare all the documents and information more appealing for the particular bank, this does not in any way guarantee the success of the account opening.
In particular, our bank account introduction service includes the provision of the bank account application forms and the assistance with their completion. It also includes preparation of the corporate documents of the company to the bank, support and advice during the compilation of the client due diligence (KYC) information for the bank as well as our recommendations at all stages of the account opening and preparation of the documents as from our experience we can anticipate what each bank expects and what each bank may disapprove. In the end we will introduce the client to a customer services manager of the bank who will be the direct contact in the bank after our introduction service is completed.
We will apply all our effort, proficiency and experience to assist the client, however the true success of the bank account opening for the offshore company depends only on the client himself and the information the client provides to the bank for the account opening. The banks will mainly consider personal details of the people involved in the company, the business model of the company and prospective profit from the potential client to the bank.
Due diligence (KYC)
In order to open the account for an offshore company, all banks will ask for very detailed personal and business information from the owners and controllers of the offshore bank account. In particular, the bank will need to identify the actual beneficial owner(s) of the underlying offshore company. This is required by the banking industry regulations, which are mandatory. All individuals owning or managing the company, as well as everyone who will be granted account signatory rights, will have to provide a number of documents - such as a certified passport copy, a proof of address, a bankers reference. (These documentary requirements may vary from bank to bank.) Also a detailed business description with logical information and realistic cashflow forecasts as well as a CV of the beneficial owner showing appropriate experience in the field of the intended business are essential for successful account opening. This information we cannot prepare for the client, only the client himself knows it and only the client can properly express it for the bank. Offshore banks routinely reject new clients according to their client acceptance guidelines or any other subjective considerations if they deem the business model unclear, suspicious or implausible or the individuals involved in the company structure or bank account management questionable. The banks are also interested in the profit that each particular client can bring to the bank, therefore no bank will be interested to accept clients with complicated company structure or sophisticated business model that take long time for the KYC officers to verify if their company intends to have only few transactions of small amount per year. Showing interest in more banking services will make the application more welcome by the bank.
All the potential offshore bank account holders should be aware that in today’s modern world nearly all the offshore banks participate in information sharing according to international agreements. The banks that still do not share information will certainly start doing it soon otherwise they will not be able to operate in the regulated world. Under FATCA and CRS rules, the banks are obliged to provide the financial information of the company account to the country of residence of the beneficial owner. The information is reported only to the respective tax authority and only for the tax purposes.
However, the automatic information sharing does not affect all people and all accounts. There are a few exceptions of account types that are not reportable and the information is shared only with the USA (under FATCA rules) and the countries that are committed to CRS. Reporting does not affect the residents of the uncommitted countries.
Nevertheless, please remember that your company must not be built on assumption of secrecy but on legality so that it can withstand any questioning or investigation and keep operating even if all information is fully disclosed to the tax authorities.
Apart of information disclosure in criminal investigations and under FATCA and CRS rules for tax purposes, the bank secrecy remains firm and reliable against all third persons. The information is not disclosed to any family members, business partners, competitors or any other government institutions other than tax authorities (or in criminal investigations only Belize Authorities) on any grounds and for any purposes. Severe financial and criminal penalties await anyone who divulges such information.
Accounts outside Belize
For many clients it may seem more convenient to open the offshore bank account in a country situated closer to where they live, or where the IBC has its customers. Many owners of offshore companies tend to operate the companies directly by themselves. Such owners might choose to open the offshore accounts independently, in a location and with bankers whom they may already be familiar with. However, such independent solution may also adversely impact the owners` personal tax circumstances and put him under additional risk of enquiry since managing a company bank account is a clear indication of managing the company itself and this is what the beneficial owner should avoid if he does not want the company to be taxed in his country. (See our Company Management section for a more detailed explanation of those risks.)
Quite often offshore companies hold their bank accounts in another offshore financial centre or in a country that is know as a "financial centre". Examples of widely recognized offshore financial centres are Switzerland, Austria, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and, recently, some countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Depending on the business model of the particular IBC and the territories where the company has clients/partners or where it operates, it may be more suitable to open an offshore bank account outside Belize. We can offer bank account introduction in banks of different jurisdictions including very reputable financial centers.
Please feel free to contact us to receive full list of the banks that we work with. If you provide us more detailed information on your banking requirements we might be able to suggest you a suitable offshore bank and provide a bank account introduction.