When it comes to top tax havens, Panama and Switzerland are the favorite offshore jurisdictions of investors. For many years, investors viewed Switzerland as the go-to place when desiring to place money in an offshore account. Panama has joined Switzerland in these ranks and now the two are the most sought after jurisdictions for investors world wide.
Both countries offer a high level of security for both your financial and personal information, though in recent years, Panama has come to offer a higher level of security and anonymity. When opening a bank account in Switzerland, one must now provide such information as a social security number, whereas in Panama this information is not required.
Due to the high pressure from other countries, and tax treaties with certain countries, Switzerland has undergone changes in its banking policies and security laws. Panama however, does not have tax treaties with other countries and operates independently, so it is able to uphold the laws that it has in place.
This is not to take away from Switzerland’s mystique as a tax haven of choice. It is located in Europe, it was the first tax haven formed, it has a stable economy and government with neutral politics. In short it is the most secure place in the world to keep your money so long as you qualify to meet their requirements. With so many scams popping up in the Carribbean knowing your money is safe in a bank in Europe may be worth it even if their rules are more strict.
Most people really underestimate Panama thinking it is a third world country in Central America as such should not be trusted as a tax haven. Many first time visitors to Panama City are surprised to see the 50 and 60 floor banking buildings that are located there. They are quite a site to behold and there are a lot of them. What you won’t find is Panama mentioned at the heart of a tax investigation as a place that gives up people’s names. I challenge any reader to find a story where a Panama bank official has turned over lists of people using their bank like has happened in so many other jurisdictions.
Panamanian banks do provide a higher level of asset protection, if only for the fact that they operate without any tax treaties from other countries and will not release an individuals information. The only case of bank secrecy being lifted in Panama is in the case of a severe criminal investigation, and even then the agency looking to lift the secrecy will have to make a strong case and go through the proper channels.
There are of course many other countries and jurisdictions available for you to establish an offshore banking account or an offshore incorporation. While many of these countries are also viewed as tax havens and top choices for investment, if you are looking for the best you should consider placing your investment into a facility that is located in a Switzerland or Panamanian jurisdiction. That way, you can rest assured that your money is in an established facility that will offer you the protection that your assets need.