Mortgages at offshore banks may be an extension of existing offshore accounts. Alternately, they may be useful for financing offshore property purchases in the same jurisdiction.
You should familiarize yourself with your local government tax and banking rules before applying to any offshore bank for a mortgage. You should also familiarize yourself with the banking rules and tax treaties of the host government. Avoid banks in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) gray, and blacklisted countries.
Unless you are opening a mortgage at an offshore bank for privacy purposes, applying for a mortgage at an offshore bank is similar to applying for a mortgage anywhere else. You will be expected to have proof of good credit and stable employment.
You will need a proof of legal address. A utility bill may be adequate. You will usually need your passport, although a few offshore banks may allow you to use alternate identification.
You will also need some form of background economic documentation, such as a employment contract or a bill of sale. Some people open private corporations specifically for this purpose.
Using an offshore mortgage for privacy purposes
Mortgages at offshore banks are a popular way to ensure personal privacy when purchasing property. Most popular offshore banks offer a minimum of regulation. Some offshore banks will permit you to identify yourself with an account number rather than your name, which makes it easier to own property without having the title in your name.
In fact, some offshore bank specialists look only for banks that do not require either bank reference letters, or a personal visit. In this case, all transactions are either online, or through wire transfers.
A mortgage from an offshore bank may be used as a back-to-back loan. Back-to-back loans are a way to hedge against changes in currency valuations and avoid cashing out an existing account. In this case, instead of taking the money out of your account, you take out a mortgage against that account, in whatever currency, and at whatever interest rate and term you choose.
A property with a back-to-back mortgage against it will show up as a fully-mortgaged home, which will reduce its value in any assets assessment. The mortgage may be in any amount up to the full market value of the home. The interest on the mortgage may also be tax deductible.
This article should not be considered tax advice. For accurate tax information consult a local tax specialist.