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January 22, 2018updated 23 Jan 2018 3:30pm

The US is top for attracting offshore millionaires

By GlobalData Financial Services

Almost a third (29 percent) of offshore wealth held by millionaires is booked in the US — and this share is likely to rise as the country becomes better known as a tax haven.

While the US is often not the first place that comes to mind when thinking of offshore tax havens it is the most popular offshore destination among the world’s millionaires.

Traditional booking centres, such as the Cayman Islands or even Switzerland, only attract a fraction of its volume.

So what makes the US so attractive among the world’s rich?

Deep and liquid financial markets in the US attract company listings from all over the world and have impressed with staggering returns over the past few years.

This, combined with a sound legal and regulatory system, has been of great appeal to investors.

General diversification benefits and access to a better range of investment options are important considerations when it comes to millionaires’ booking center preferences, according to a recent GlobalData survey.

In states such as Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming are attractive destinations for those looking to minimise their tax liabilities.

Some 1m companies are registered in Delaware (which is more companies than people in the state) and over 60 percent of the largest US companies are headquartered there.

Privacy is easy to come by when the owners of companies in these states don’t need to be publicly disclosed.

Meanwhile, South Dakota has been able to attract a large number of domestic and foreign nationals in recent years, not only because of its strict secrecy rules but also because the state does not charge personal income or corporation tax.

While not the prime offshore driver, tax efficiencies continue to represent a strong draw among the world’s wealthy.

Globally, the country is one of the few that refuses to participate in the OECD’s so-called common reporting standard, the international version of Facta tax law, claiming it is has signed bilateral data-sharing agreements.

But these agreements may not necessarily be reciprocal in nature, information is not shared on an ongoing basis, and the information provided is often patchy, meaning account balances are not shared and ownership structures are not necessarily revealed.

Consequently, the US has caught the eye of those who are more creative when it comes to tax efficiencies.

As the US becomes better known as an offshore hub for the rich it very become increasingly unpopular among the world’s tax enforcement agencies.