Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second Passports for Banking and Credit Cards

A lot of expats and people in the market for offshore credit cards and offshore banking services in general would like to do so while maintaining their privacy.

In some cases, it is just a healthy dose of paranoia at play.

In other cases, people have legitimate reasons for shielding their identity from either a government, or others who are trying to ascertain who they are and their financial where-with-all.

The writers of offshore credit card advise that you never, ever, attempt to use your offshore credit card to ever do anything illegal or to defraud anyone, or to try to evade taxation.

Chances are, your efforts will be proven unsuccessful and could land you in hot water with the authorities.

Some more sophisticated PTs however have been talking about getting banking atm and credit cards in a different name. While there are certainly some nefarious characters that would have an interest in such things, the overwhelming interest is coming primarily from ordinary business people, travelers and expats who are unfortunate enough to have been born in the wrong country.

While it used to be primarily a problem only people of African descent had to deal with, more and more frequently, American citizens are finding themselves locked out of some of the better international banking centers in the world.

So what's the problem? Well, it seems that the problems stem primarily from the Internal Revenue Service's lists of requirements for tracking the incomes and tax liabilities of those living offshore and those who are storing assets outside of the U.S.

The regulations heaped onto the foreign bank are given leverage because of the US dollar's ubiquity. If banks don't follow the regulations they will lose their correspondent banking accounts and thus their international and cross border banking business.


Second Passports

Some wealthy Americans, and some who are simply worried about future erosion in their privacy are going to some extraordinary lengths to receive second passports. These second passports are being used to move between borders, carry out business, and buy and sell assets, and for secret banking.

So, are second passports for banking and credit cards a good idea?

Well, not so much say our experts. When polled, most experts agreed that most banks will make you sign and file a document that says that you are NOT a dual passport holder and in effect a holder of dual citizenship. The reason? They want to make SURE that one of your passports is not US and leave you under the jurisdiction of the IRS. Apparently the paperwork is so onerous, and in many cases so bad that it forces a bank to violate its own country's laws, that it's easier to send Americans away rather than accommodate them.

While you can certainly lie and sign the document anyways, doing so is not something that we can recommend that you do. It's likely to get you in hot water down the line somewhere with either your bank, your bank's host country, or your own home country for perjury, fraud, or worse.

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