Hong Kong Bank Accounts and Hong Kong Corporations
Hong Kong – Hong Kong offers Anonymous Corporations, Bank Secrecy, No Tax Information Exchange Agreements, No Tax on Offshore Derived Income, No Capital Gains Tax, Stock Brokerage Accounts at the Bank, A Bank with One Trillion dollars in Deposits, Online Banking, Credit Cards, Accounts in 10 Currencies including Chinese Renminbi, Unlimited Government Bank Insurance, and you do not have to go to Hong Kong to have bank account opened. The features and benefits of using Hong Kong are extensive. The material contained below is in depth and was written for a sophisticated investor client. We are eager to answer any questions you may have, just inquire
Hong Kong Banking – We have now made it possible to open up corporate bank accounts in Honk Kong without a need to visit Hong Kong (no personal accounts please). Hong Kong today is one of the best private offshore tax havens in the world. They have not signed any Tax Information Sharing Agreements and have world-class banks. Hong Kong does practice tight bank secrecy with serious criminal and civil penalties for any bank personnel who violates such bank secrecy laws. Hong Kong is actually a world-banking center like Switzerland used to be. It has at least 100 times more bank deposits that countries like Panama, 69 of the world’s largest 100 banks, and a total of more than 1300 bank branches in the territory.
The Hong Kong Bank We Use – The bank we open our clients’ accounts for in has well over one trillion US dollars in assets. It is a massive, quality bank by any standards. It has no legal ties with any bank located in other countries as to avoid coercion by an opposing party using the banks with the same name in other countries to affect this. Various countries have done such things in past. No worries with this bank. This bank is authorized to issue bank notes for Hong Kong.
The bank has full online banking including the ability to launch online wires, check balance and history, switch from one currency to another, move money from one account to another, etc. The bank offers accounts in 10 currencies: Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, New Zealand Dollar, Pound Sterling, Singapore Dollar, Thai Baht, US Dollar, and Renminbi (Chinese Ruan). One statement will show your holdings in any or all of these currency accounts.
You can get assigned a private banker with an account of 0,000 or more and then you can also use Swiss Francs for banking in addition to the other 10 currencies. You can buy CD’s in the bank. Rates will usually not be over 2% per annum on USD deposits, generally lower for most other currencies. We have banks in other countries with higher rates and we also offer anonymous bearer bonds paying 8.5% from other countries. Hong Kong is for privacy and security, not high bank interest rates. Another consideration is access to a Hong Kong stockbroker that can provide you with investment opportunities paying significantly higher yields.
Hong Kong Bank Security – Once you are the signatory on the bank account no other signatories can be added or and it is impossible to remove you as a signatory without your written consent. Having share certificates for the corporation is not enough to change the signatories at the bank. Nominees are unable to effect a change at the bank for the signatories. No additions or deletions of signatories without the written consent of the existing signatories. No changes at all without this. Any attempt would be accepted by bank with their ID in a pending state. Then bank would contact you for written permission. You say “No way, I knew nothing about this.” Then they go to jail. Hong Kong banks are very used to nominees and understand how to protect the owners/signatories of the bank account. No worries.
Hong Kong Bank Insurance – This is Hong Kong government-backed bank insurance. This measure is in place until the end of 2010, which can be extended at the option of the government. It was already extended once, after first being put into place to reassure depositors during the worldwide financial crisis. The government is backing all bank deposits to any amount. The insurance covers HK dollar accounts and all foreign currency accounts such as USD, Euro etc. There are certain types of specialized accounts not covered, which are listed as follows:
CDs or time deposits with a term in excess of five years, secured deposits, structured deposits like equity linked accounts, bearer instruments like a bearer certificate of deposit (does not affect corporation having bank accounts that are bearer share corporations). The insurance does not cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, insurance policies, or unit trusts bought and held by the bank. The funds for immediately (immediately is the word Hong Kong uses) compensating depositors come from a standby credit facility provided by the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Exchange Fund. So the deposits are insured up to any amount until at least the end of 2010 and the deadline will most likely be extended again until the world financial crisis is over.
Hong Kong Bank Credit Cards – The bank will issue you a secured Visa or Master card. The card will have to have your name on it. You cannot not get a corporate name only card. They do not issue anonymous cards. The cards are secured by a deposit exceeding the credit line of the card. The bank is not going to extend to you a line of credit. If you want a card limit of ,000 the deposit will be ,500 typically. This depends on what currency the card is in, if you are a private banking client, etc. This bank has at least 10 different card programs.
Bank in Renminbi or Chinese Yuan – With this Hong Kong bank you are able to bank in Chinese Renminbi also called the Yuan. You can even get a checking account in this currency. You can hold this currency in your account. Much business in Hong Kong is now conducted in Renminbi. You can have time deposits in this currency. You can even get a credit card in this currency which is really only going to work in Mainland China but they do have 370,000 merchants and 60,000 ATM’s taking this card. This card is going to grow, this is the beginning.
You can move up to 80,000 Renminbi a day to an account in Mainland China, if you happen to have a bank account in Mainland China. This is the Chinese currency that is being used to clear international payments but it is not yet fully convertible at this time. It is just starting so you are getting in on the ground floor. To truly diversify your currency holding portfolio hold Renminbi. The Renminbi will soon become a fully convertible currency and then probably soar in terms of exchange rates. It is expected that the Renminbi will soon have its own wire transfer facilities clearing in China or Hong Kong and it is doubtful that the USA will have access to view or affect these wires.
Stock Brokerage Accounts – The bank has a stock brokerage division. Online platform and full service. Play the major markets around the world USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia). Bonds, options, futures, forex, and equities – everything including margin accounts. You can also open up a European stock brokerage account through us using your Hong Kong Corporation as the vehicle if you wish access to other additional markets. If you are an American or Canadian citizen or resident you can have a bank account in Hong Kong BUT NOT A STOCK BROKERAGE ACCOUNT AT THIS BANK. This policy is to avoid some new tax withholding laws. We can however get you a stock brokerage account at another stockbroker in Hong Kong with an online platform that allows trading major markets in the world. This will require an extra whole set of certified documents approved by the HK court so we must charge an extra 0 for this service if you are unable to get a stock brokerage account at the bank. When you sue the same bank for the stock brokerage account there is no extra staff time or need for an extra set of paperwork.
Anonymous Hong Kong Corporations – Hong Kong Corporations are basically private limited companies being very private and limiting liability for shareholders. There is no paid in capital requirement. It is possible to get a corporation formed in Hong Kong that is anonymous. Your name as the owner will not appear in any public registry or database. If the client desires to be an anonymous owner of the corporation he can do so with a trust arrangement having the trustee (the Hong Kong Lawyer) hold the shares for him (as a beneficiary) and the client holds the trust deed, which is conclusive proof of him being a real owner of the shares. This trust law and arrangement is valid and lawful in Hong Kong.
The corporation is formed in Hong Kong, the lawyer is in Hong Kong, and the bank account is in Hong Kong so this structure is all legal and fully enforceable in Hong Kong which is the only jurisdiction that matters in this scenario since everything is located there. This structure makes it impossible to look up the name of the owner of a corporation filed using this trust arrangement. A nominee director, shareholder and founder are used whose name does appear in the public registry but these persons do not know you at all. You wind up with an anonymous corporation and have all the controls plus you control the bank account.
Hong Kong Taxes – Hong Kong does not tax offshore-derived income. There is no VAT tax. No withholding taxes. No annual net worth taxes. No accumulated earnings taxes for retained versus distributed earnings. There is no capital gains tax on bank interest or stock market investments. You can have an office in Hong Kong and still receive money from offshore and have it tax exempt. Unless you conduct business inside of Hong Kong like having a pizza store there, you will not be paying any Hong Kong taxes. It is a true offshore privacy and tax haven.
Hong Kong Corporation Tax Return Filing – One small disadvantage to Hong Kong Corporations is that an annual tax return must be filed at the end of each year. If the person is not conducting business in Hong Kong, there is no obligation to complete the return but as a matter of expediency and maintaining a low profile, the return should be filed with the HK Inland Revenue with a brief explanation as to why the corporation is not carrying on business in Hong Kong. This is something the accountant will do for you.
If a person is carrying on business in Hong Kong but has no profits subject to tax because all their income was deemed to be offshore derived, that person should file a tax return with all the relevant attachments, which should also include a detailed explanation as to why each source of income is not considered to be taxable. This is usually as simple as stating it is offshore derived income from sales commissions, sales of property, brokerage fees, earnings for work conducted outside of Hong Kong, etc. This is to show that there was no onshore Hong Kong income derived for which taxes are owed. If there is no activity in the corporation a return can so be filed showing no business activity. Again the accountant will do this for you.
If the business has not yet commenced then the company can just file a negative or nil tax return and technically it can even not file but later on this could be questioned by Hong Kong Inland Revenue so we suggest doing a simple filing. Again the accountants will do this for you. The lawyer we use to form the corporations in Hong Kong has certified accountants in Honk Kong on staff who will do the annual filing for you and it is already included in the fee. You just supply the data to them and they will do the rest. If you are going to conduct a real business venture using the Hong Kong Corporation and Hong Kong bank account then you will need to file a real tax return even if the company had no onshore income. There will be no tax due but a filing is necessary and the cost of the filing is included in the price.
If you have a serious business it will be incumbent upon you to have the books and records prepared independent of our accountants who are just going to prepare the filing for you, they are not going to be your accountants or bookkeepers in general. If you are just going to use the corporation and bank account for savings or holdings then there really isn’t much of anything to file and the accountant will do it for you. Feel free to ask questions. It sounds more complicated than it really is. For many of you it will be as simple as telling the accountant the corporation has not engaged in any business for the tax year and then forgetting about it.
What Is Included With the Hong Kong Corporation –
I) Certificate of incorporation
II) Business registration certificate
II) Original formation documents and minutes
IV) Minute booklet
V) Share certificate booklet
VI) Two chops and a seal (a chop is a corporate stamp, not a tool for eating with)
VII) One certified copy of formation documents
VIII) Appointment of corporate secretary for a year providing a registered office address for a year. This address can be used for mail and courier receiving of documents but does not include forwarding or receiving of parcels.
IX) A box to contain all papers in.
In addition, to keep the corporation anonymous there is included a private trust agreement for nominee shareholder, director and founding member so the owner is not registered in the public registry yet still has all the control over the corporation while remaining anonymous. This trust agreement also includes a General Power of Attorney executed by the nominees. The firm in Hong Kong will also file your annual return for you at no additional cost.
Using the HK Corporation for Bank Accounts in Other Jurisdictions – To use your Hong Kong Corporation in a country other than Hong Kong for opening a bank account or a stock brokerage account there is an extra fee of 0. Why this fee? The Hong Kong lawyer will need to issue a full set of notarized and apostilled corporate documents. These documents need to also be approved and signed off on by the High Court of Hong Kong. This is the reason for this extra fee if you wish to use the corporation to open a bank account or stock brokerage account outside of Hong Kong.
Attorney Client Privilege – The formation of the Hong Kong Corporation is done by a Hong Kong lawyer so attorney client privilege flows through the entire transaction from start to finish.
Due Diligence – What is needed is a notarized copy of a passport and driver license. We also need a utility bill for proof of address. This has to be a working address that can receive correspondence. You can tell the bank to hold your statements and not send them but some things like signature cards, online banking forms etc will need to be send physically by courier.
There is no bank reference letter required. In some countries banks will not issue a bank reference letter any more. In other countries a bank reference letter is considered to be a “suspicious transaction” and is reported to the authorities as such because it means an offshore bank account is being opened. Banks inside the same country rarely require a bank reference letter.
Time Frame – It takes 2-3 weeks to form a corporation and have the bank account opened for it. The time clock starts ticking when we have an order form, notarized ID documents, Utility bill and payment.
Hong Kong Shelf Corporations – We have a reasonable supply of shelf corporations on hand. This speeds the process up by a week or so but then you have to accept a name you did not chose. Not suggested for those operating a business but can work for those in a hurry who just wish to use the account for savings or as a holding entity. Shelf corporation fees are the same.
Cost – The fee for the Hong Kong Corporation complete and the opening of the Hong Kong Bank Account without coming to Hong Kong in the above-described bank is 00. This is paid by wire transfer. We do not take credit cards. The minimum deposit at the bank is 00 and should be included along with the wire for the professional fees.
How to Order – First step is to fill out our online order form.
Next send us by email a scan of the notarized copy of the passport and driver license plus a utility bill showing your real address. This can be sent by email as an attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If the documents are correct and acceptable we will then provide courier directions to send hard copies.
Next we will send you coordinates to wire the fee to us.
After the fee is received we will begin forming the corporation. After the corporation is formed we will begin the bank account opening process.
Bank forms, signature cards will be sent to you by courier with the corporate documents included and you will have to execute the bank forms and return to us by courier. When the forms are returned the bank account will be opened several days later.
The online banking will come after that requiring 7-10 additional days after account opening. Credit Cards require a security deposit and take about two weeks after the account is open, and the deposit is received.
Questions – We welcome questions, just ask.
Aurelia Masterson writes for http://www.panamalaw.org
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