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Opening an Offshore account
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 9:34 AM
Joined: 22/10/2011
Posts: 3

With the crazy way the banks have been acting in the last few years I am wondering what is the best tactic at the moment. Just got hired back into the industry and haven't had an offshore account for years. Thinking of opening another one for tax purposes (I'm American) I know we have to be out of the country 335 days of the year to get out of paying taxes, but if I have my money sent to my American Account.. I will definitely get screwed at some point. Keeping it offshore should help a bit at least. I doubt I will be making more than 85,000 a year, so I don't think I need to declare. But, I also know what a hassle some offshore accounts can be.. I would like one that is easy to access online, and not have to deal with time differences/faxing and mailing addresses. I ma hoping to find 24 hour online banking, online forms that can be printed out, and good customer service.. Are there offshore accounts like this whose monthly and transfer fees and minimum balances are reasonable?Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 9:48 AM
Joined: 01/12/2008
Posts: 62

Hi Chopper,

I am not certain of the exact way the IRS will treat you but my understanding is that all US citizens MUST declare their income to the IRS no matter what... if you earn under $85 000 and spend less than 35 days a year in the States then I don't believe that you will pay any tax, but you still must declare it. This is my understanding as a European... you should double check this before making any decisions.

In addition many 'offshore' jurisdictions share information with the US anyway so opening an account to 'hide' the money probably wont work anyway.

Have a look at the following website which has a lot of useful information
US expatriates who meet the Physical Presence Test or meet the Bona Fide Resident Test may be able to take advantage of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and or the Foreign Housing Exclusion.

if you still want to open an offshore account there are a few good ones. i prefer to use Standard Bank for my clients which, as long as you leave a minimum balance on the account, will not cost you any ongoing management costs.

The on-line service is very good too.

you wont be able to open an account until you have a job and the captain will need to write a letter confirming your job, salary and residential status. email me if you want more information.

I hope this helps a little.


Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:39 AM

I've been trying to figure out a way to open with Barclays, who supposedly has a multi-currency account option requiring 5,000 pounds to startup.  However, I can't find a way around needing to visit a branch office. 

If you find something lemme, know.  Spent what seems like too much time on this.

Heather Hawthorne
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:53 AM
Joined: 08/01/2011
Posts: 6

Try Loyds TSB. They have US$, Euro and Stirling accounts that are very easy to access anywhere in the world, specifically for yachties too. No fees with a minimum balance each month. AND..every time you call them a real live person actually answers the phone! If you know someone who's already with Loyds, tell then when you sign up the person's name and they will receive a pretty decent bonus for the referral too.
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:23 PM
Joined: 28/07/2011
Posts: 5


I'm currently working at Lloyds TSB International where we open all offshore accounts.  You can apply online at You will then be required to send in documentation to confirm your identity such as a Certified passport which must be certified to the correct standards which are for instance it must state true likeness, true copy of the original etc. If this is not stated this will hold up your application. They will also require a document to confirm your actual residency. Please make note that all certifications need to be done by a reputal person such as a bank official etc. If you are still classed as residing in the USA a utility bill or bank statement which can be original or again certified will be accepted. Once this has been received and accepted the account will be opened. Unfortunately they can only send your debit card to the address you state on your application.

I've just opened my Euro account for when I head out to Antibes in March for a new career in the yachting industry.

Hope the above helps you and is what your looking for.

Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:55 PM
Joined: 04/05/2008
Posts: 7

There really isn't a tax advantage to using a foreign bank account. US citizens are required to disclose any foreign bank account that they are a signatory/beneficiary, failure to do so can result in a 10K penalty for ever year this disclosure is not made. Also Peter is correct US Taxpayers are required to report their worldwide income, this would include portfolio income earned on a foreign account. Tom Andrews
Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 8:59 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 3

Hi Heather,

Does the Lloyds account give access to the Franc or Pound? 

I'm not a big Dollar or Euro fan right now as the US is walking a finer and finer line towards hyper-inflation to deal with it's ballooning debt and the Euro isn't looking like a much better long term option.  As far as I can tell, the Brits, the Swiss and the Canadians (and perhaps the Chinese) seem to be the only ones exercising enough financial sense to make the long-term value of their currency and economic integrity look attractive.  Not saying the US will go out of popularity anytime soon, but, again, that economy is walking a very fine line.

Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012 4:35 PM
Joined: 22/10/2011
Posts: 3

Okay great, thanks for the info.. Does anyone know the specifics about, when working on a foreign vessel, you are considered working and living outside the country? Meaning to prove I am not int the US working for 333 days or whatever, I have to have another address to prove I was away. I did this in 2007 2008, and just TOLD them I was away.. And nothing has come of it. I am just wondering if the laws have become stricter. I declared m income, but since I was away all of that time, i didn't have ti pay taxes. If my money still goes into my US bank, can they still tax the Sh** out of me? It isn't that I don't want to pay any taxes, I just don't want to pay half my salary, which it will just about amount to.
Posted: Monday, January 23, 2012 9:44 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

chopper wrote:
...Does anyone know the specifics about, when working on a foreign vessel, you are considered working and living outside the country? ... I am just wondering if the laws have become stricter. ...




The following page has a good discussion of the issues - pay special attention to the section regarding Self Employment (i.e., Social Security) taxes. If you don't set up your situation correctly (especially if you are under a contract) it looks like you may be liable for SS even though you may not be liable for income tax.




Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 6:24 PM

Whatever you do, do not join Lloyds Offshore. They offer the most appalling service I have ever come across (and I'm not just talking banks- I'm talking businesses in general.) Having complained to them a month ago explaining that I was not able to access my income within my account, they are yet to offer a solution!

My account was initially blocked when I tried to change my address on file with them (following the methods they stipulate.) Since trying to do so, they have frozen my account, responded to my requests with conflicting information and continued to correspond with me by POST (!!) by sending letters to my previous address.

No one is willing to deal with the issue at stake- dealing with Lloyds is a headache from beginning to end. Presumably they're just waiting for my savings to be exhausted having made so many international calls.....Don't be surprised when they hang up on you either!  

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