What is OFFSHORE INVESTMENT? What does OFFSHORE INVESTMENT mean? OFFSHORE INVESTMENT meaning - OFFSHORE INVESTMENT definition - OFFSHORE INVESTMENT explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Offshore investment is the keeping of money in a jurisdiction other than one's country of residence. Offshore jurisdictions are a commonly accepted means of reducing the taxes levied in most countries to both large and small-scale investors alike. Poorly regulated offshore domiciles have served historically as havens for tax evasion, money laundering, or to conceal or protect illegally acquired money from law enforcement in the investor's country. However, the modern, well-regulated offshore centres allow legitimate investors to take advantage of higher rates of return or lower rates of tax on that return offered by operating via such domiciles. The advantage to offshore investment is that such operations are both legal and less costly than those offered in the investor's country - or "onshore". Locations favored by investors for low rates of tax are known as offshore financial centers or (sometimes) tax havens.
Offshore centers are widely used and are accessible to anyone who can meet the minimum investment amount or pay the obligatory fees required to open such an entity. Investopedia indicates that, "More than half of the world's assets and investments are held in offshore jurisdictions and many well-recognized companies have investment opportunities in offshore locales."
Payment of less tax is the driving force behind most 'offshore' activity. Due to the use of offshore centers, investors are able to conduct investment activities in a more profitable fashion. Often, taxes levied by an investor's home country are critical to the profitability of any given investment. Using offshore-domiciled special purpose mechanisms (or vehicles) an investor may reduce the amount of tax payable, allowing the investor to achieve greater profitability overall.
Another reason why 'offshore' investment is considered superior to 'onshore' investment is because it is less regulated, and the behavior of the offshore investment provider, whether he be a banker, fund manager, trustee or stock-broker, is freer than it could be in a more regulated environment.
Offshore investing includes investment strategies outside of an investor's home country. Investment opportunities in money-market, bond and equity assets are available through offshore companies.
One may also charter an offshore corporation to provide a legal personality, limited liability, transferable shares, a centralized management, and shared ownership. In some cases the investment advantages of such a corporation are offset by legal, corporate and account registration fees imposed by the country in which the offshore account is established. Further, the officers of the corporation may be required to establish residence, own real estate, or meet an investment minimum (depending upon the country this may range up to $1 million). An advantage which accrues from establishing a corporate structure is that although a citizen may be proscribed from establishing an offshore account, they can establish a corporation that can do so.
Motivations for investment offshore include:
1. Tax advantages - tax regulations often contain provisions to protect against taxation by multiple jurisdictions which can be exploited for legal tax reductions. Nations intentionally attract business investments through lower tax rates. The corporate-tax trend over the period from 1980 to 2010 has trended lower, with the top rate in OECD countries (excluding America) moving from 51% to 32%. Investing in such an environment can improve the investor's rate of return on investment.
2. Investment diversification - risk can be managed by diversifying investments among a wider range of options than are available for onshore investment.