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Tips to Legally Move Assets to an Offshore Location and What to Avoid

As originally published exclusively in “Escape Artist Insider Magazine – May 2023 edition”.

We’ve previously discussed how easy the process is to open offshore bank accounts and even set up offshore investment accounts. Further, it’s easy to use those accounts to purchase various assets and build wealth outside your home country. You may not know you can take some of your domestic assets and move them to an offshore location. 

It’s important to know what you can move and under what circumstances. It also helps to know when it’s best to leave those domestic assets where they are. Here are some basics about moving assets offshore to help you make the right choices and those to avoid.


Wouldn’t it be better to keep existing assets at home and focus more on acquiring other ones already offshore? In some cases, it does make sense to shift assets. 

Placing some assets in an offshore location can increase the returns on investments. Depending on the nature of the asset, basing it in another country could allow it to appreciate at a faster pace than leaving it at home. See this as a way to enjoy more financial wealth in less time. 

There may be tax advantages to moving those assets. The advantage is not in avoiding domestic obligations but because basing the asset offshore helps reduce your tax burden. You may pay less at home and have little to no taxes owed in the nation where the asset now resides. 

Before moving assets to any nation, understand what you hope to accomplish and ensure the outcome will likely be one you can live with. If you have any doubts, don’t move the asset until you understand more about what to expect. 


Asset protection is one of the more common reasons to move domestic assets offshore. The reason is the nations where the assets reside are unlikely to recognize decisions made by judges overseeing lawsuits. In short, the judge has no jurisdiction to order offshore assets sold to settle a judgment from a lawsuit. 

However, a divorce would mean you must report your offshore assets to the court. They will be considered part of the marital assets to be divided among the two parties. If a judge orders assets divided in a certain way, your former spouse may obtain a greater share of the domestic assets while you retain more offshore ones. 

Last, the laws in the nation where your offshore assets are based may allow creditors and others to file suits within those countries. Before selecting a nation to establish your offshore banking and investment accounts, you want to consider this. 

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Some assets cannot be moved offshore, like domestic real estate. However, cash is the easiest asset to shift from domestic to offshore accounts. For this reason, you may want to consider converting domestic assets to cash, then using the funds to secure new assets in an offshore setting. 

For example, you could sell some of your stocks, futures, and commodities held in domestic investment accounts. Once you have the cash in hand, transfer it to the offshore account. Once that transaction is complete, use the money to purchase counterparts to the assets you sold. 

You can also transfer cash from domestic bank accounts into your offshore accounts. Place the funds in a time deposit or other savings accounts, move a portion into an investment account, and use it to purchase another type of offshore investment. 

Remember while you can’t move domestic real estate to an offshore account, using that asset to generate cash to fund offshore investing activity is possible. Obtain a mortgage on your debt-free domestic residence, move the funds offshore, and use it for investments. 

If you try this, make sure you can set aside the funds in a domestic account to repay the mortgage on time. Assuming the return on your offshore investments exceeds the interest you pay on the domestic mortgage, you come out ahead. 


There is some chance you can move your IRA or another type of retirement account offshore. The key is whether you’re fully vested in that account and if you have complete control of it. If you are no longer with the employer who set up the account, and it’s up to you to manage it, it may be possible to move or shift the money to an offshore counterpart. 

In this scenario, check the tax obligation and be prepared to pay it. If the shift means earning more returns and giving you more control over when you use all or part of the account balance, making a change is worth the effort. 


It’s important to note offshore accounts offer greater privacy but do not give you total secrecy. There is still the obligation to report those holdings to domestic revenue agencies and to pay whatever taxes may be due. Having offshore accounts is not illegal, but attempting to avoid taxes is another matter altogether. 

Be aware of any tax obligations or fees that may apply in the nation where you base those offshore assets. In some nations, it may only be a capped fee due annually. In others, there will be taxes on any generated income. You want to stay in the good graces of revenue agencies in both nations. 


You can move specific assets offshore almost any time, but there are a few exceptions. If legal action has been filed and is pending, now is not the time to suddenly start moving assets to an offshore account. 

If a divorce has been filed, don’t move anything. The same is true if you just learned a person or other entity has filed a lawsuit against you. The court will frown on what appears to be any attempt to hide assets or even place them out of the reach of the court’s jurisdiction. That will not improve the odds of emerging victorious in the court battle. 


If you are interested in moving some domestic assets offshore, make sure you have a clear plan of action before doing anything. Check all the legalities, both offshore and domestic. 

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure you are not doing anything that runs afoul of any laws and will position your wealth for more efficient growth.

About The Author


Luigi Wewege is the President of Caye International Bank, headquartered in Belize, Central America. Outside of the bank, he serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School in California, which provides online training courses on the latest technological and innovation developments within the Financial Services industry. Luigi is also the published author of The Digital Banking Revolution, now in its third edition.

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