17 ESTABLISHING AN OFFSHORE PRESENCE WITHOUT LEAVING HOME THE OVERSEAS MAIL DROP

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To go offshore implies action. You can initiate that quickly by implementing

any of the ideas presented herein. Opening an offshore or

foreign bank account is a proactive, fast, and easy means to get

started. And, various offshore investments offer quick and safe solutions

to getting all or part of your financial life offshore.

Regardless of your decision on which methods to employ, two

thoughts are worth your immediate consideration. First, for the sake of

enhanced privacy, especially if you are still living in the United States

or another country you call home, you should maintain a mailing address

in another country for sensitive mail such as bank and financial

statements from foreign banks and other financial institutions, and

confidential correspondence of all kinds. Mail postmarked from

Zurich might provide a hint to the onlooker that you could have a

bank account there, or at least raise some snoopy thoughts. In fact,

snooping on mail is an old custom used by government people and

others to discover some of your secrets. The CIA even has published a

manual entitled CIA Flaps and Seals Manual that teaches agents how to

spy on people’s mail. The more oppressive a government is, the more

likely it is to resort to these tactics, all of which can and do compromise

your privacy. An inexpensive solution providing a higher degree

of security, is to simply engage a mail-drop service in a foreign country.

For Americans, Canada is an ideal location. The service can hold

your mail for further instructions or automatically forward it per your

advance instructions. A good mail-drop service will carefully follow

your directions, and when forwarding mail to you, enclose it in another

mailing envelope or box, and secure it well. Expect to pay a few

hundred dollars a year for the service, plus the cost of postage. Most

services will require a postage deposit. Provide as little personal information

as required to engage the service.

Eden Press in Fountain Valley, California markets two directories

that list hundreds of such services worldwide. They are The Eden Directory

of Private Mail Drops in the United States and 90 Foreign Countries and

the Worldwide Mail-Drop Guide. Both are excellent sources, giving full

names, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, and good advice on

how to best use your mail-drop for maximum privacy. These directories

and online sources for additional overseas mail-drops and serviced

offices worldwide are listed in Part Four on pages 280–281.

Your foreign bank or other financial institution may be willing to

hold your mail until further instructed. This would be best, and then

when needed, or on occasion, you can have them forward it to you at

your mail-drop address. This also applies to other confidential correspondence.

You can give the mail-drop service instructions to forward

any received mail on to you immediately on receipt so that it is not sitting

around. Discourage anyone from writing you or sending mail

without first informing you that it is being sent, so you are aware of it

and can have it forwarded without delay.

CREATING A LEGAL BUSINESS ENTITY

Another approach for establishing an offshore presence is to incorporate

an offshore company in a tax haven, preferably a no-tax haven or

a low-tax haven with an income tax treaty. In most tax havens, this

type of company will be an international business company (IBC).

The IBC is an ideal corporate vehicle providing a versatile corporate

form for conducting international business.

As in the United States, the IBC is a legal entity, making it basically

a citizen of that jurisdiction, whether it is a state or a foreign country,

and subject to their laws. An IBC will provide you with an offshore

presence from which you can conduct business or from which you can

also conduct your investments. There are benefits to using an offshore

or foreign corporation for investing, aside from whatever tax benefits

that may be derived, including more privacy. This application of your

IBC also opens up new opportunities for you, including the ability to

make foreign investments that were previously unavailable.