Monaco Offshore Services
Monaco, bordering France on the Mediterranean coast, is a popular resort, attracting tourists to its casino and pleasant climate. The principality has successfully sought to diversify into services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries. The state has no income tax and low business taxes and thrives as a tax haven both for individuals who have established residence and for foreign companies that have set up businesses and offices.
Open a Monaco bank account
Although private banking for rich Monagesque residents was the original basis of the Principality's banking sector, this has changed. Many factors have contributed to Monaco's rise as a banking centre in the last 10 years, including the presence of a secure legislative base (the Bank of France is responsible for regulatory oversight), the absence of withholding tax on interest payments, and a rush of Italians away from their ever-tighter domestic tax regime.
At the time of writing there were some 70 banks and financial institutions in Monaco, with more than 300,000 accounts (remember that there are 5,000 Monagesque nationals, and another 25,000 foreign residents). Approximately 85% of the banks' customers are non-resident. Banking turnover is in excess of $1.5bn, and assets under management top $60bn.
Although the majority of banking is still for private individuals, commercial banking has grown substantially, particularly in real-estate lending and in shipping.
Much of the legal basis of banking in Monaco stems from the French Banking Law, supplemented by provisions of Monaco Criminal and Company law. Banking secrecy is imposed by Clause 57 of the French law, while defences against money-laundering are contained in Monagesque laws nos. 1157 of 23/12/92 and 1162 of 7/7/93. Secrecy is adequate for individuals with no French connections, but somewhat compromised for French residents.
In October 2001 France's Finance Ministry confirmed that France and Monaco had reached an agreement on initiatives to counter money laundering in the principality. According to the Ministry, Monaco 'significantly strengthened' its stance against money laundering activities by doubling the number of staff who trace the money launderers as well as pledging to report more suspicious transactions.
In 2004, Monaco was forced to join the EU's Savings Tax Directive regime, and agreed to impose a withholding tax on the interest income of EU residents at the same rate as Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg (initially 15%, rising to 20% from July 1, 2008) and to hand over 75% of such revenues to the Member State of the EU resident concerned. Monaco also agreed to exchange information on request in criminal or civil cases of tax fraud or similar misbehaviour. The new regime came into from July 1, 2005, and it remains to be seen what kind of effect it will have on Monaco's banking sector.
In 2009, Monaco agreed to increase its transparency with foreign tax authorities in the hope that the OECD will remove it from its list of uncooperative jurisdictions.
In its statement Monaco said that it would follow ‘recent evolutions in the area of bank secrecy and information exchange’ undertaken by jurisdictions such as Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria and conform to standards laid down by the OECD. Source: lowtax.net
Open a Monaco bank account