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International Tax Consultant Specialist .

10 Tips to Finding the Right International Tax Consultant

There’s so much media hype about Australians taking money or business overseas.

This can make it especially scary to think about structuring your business offshore, or moving your business outside Australia.

That’s why it is so important to get the right advice.

Indeed, finding the right international tax consultant to help you structure your business or assets offshore is a real challenge. Clients ask me all the time how to find a good international tax consultant.

There are not many experts outside the big firms who provide international tax services to Australians. And those who do charge you a small fortune.

With ever growing taxes, more and more businesses are looking to move offshore and lower their tax burden as well as all their paperwork.

After all Australia is insane in its regulatory burdens on businesses!

So people often ask me … how do I find a good international tax consultant?

Here are 10 Tips to Help You Find a Good International Tax Consultant …

  1. Do they know Australian tax laws?

This is critical.

Many people just go a Google search and find any old consultant.

But the thing is, if they don’t understand Australian tax laws, you could get into trouble. The fact is, we have some of the strictest laws in the world to stop Australian residents structuring overseas to minimise tax. The controlled foreign company laws and transferor trust provisions are all encompassing, and strategies which work in many countries just don’t work for Australians.

  1. Are they based in Australia or overseas?

This follows on from 1, but knowing where they are based is important too.

A consultant based overseas may claim to know Australian tax laws, but it is highly unlikely they do if they’ve never lived or worked in Australia as a tax specialist.

By contrast, an Australian international tax consultant is far more likely to understand Australian law, and more importantly, is accountable for his or her advice.

For example, if the consultant gives dodgy advice, it is easy for the ATO to shut the consultant down, freeze his or her assets or prosecute the consultant. By contrast, an overseas based consultant with no Australian assets is harder to trace and can more easily disappear with no accountability for his or her actions.

  1. How street smart are they, ie. do they structure offshore, do international banking themselves, and understand it?

Personally I believe this is the most important. If an international tax consultant has never transferred money offshore or used an overseas company, the consultant will not understand the peculiar issues with offshore structuring.

As an example, opening an international bank account can be a challenging exercise, as overseas banks have a lot of requirements under the US Patriot Act. Also, wiring money can cause complications or delays, especially when wired to a blacklisted tax haven country.

Indeed you can run into major problems with opening an offshore bank account, or having funds frozen if you get this wrong.

So you need an international tax specialist who really knows what you’re doing.

  1. What qualifications do they have?

Surprisingly I don’t believe this is essential, but still, a qualified accountant or lawyer or other specialist gives more standing or credibility.

  1. What jurisdictions do they use?

Every consultant uses different jurisdictions so this isn’t a big one … but be very careful using an international tax consultant who specialise in tax havens. It is highly likely the consultant has the attention of a government regulator, as tax havens are very closely monitored by the Australian, UK and US governments.

Even more dangerous is an international tax consultant with a pet tax haven jurisdiction, eg. Vanuatu, Cayman Islands. It is very easy for a government to get access to the client list, and target that consultant and his or her clients.

Consultants who use a few jurisdictions, and who use strategies involving a mix of taxable countries (such as Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand) and tax haven countries, are far less risky.

  1. Do you get on well with the person you are dealing with?

Ideally it is best to have a good connection with the international tax consultant you are working with. That said, familiarity can be dangerous as trusting someone too much, especially in this arena, can be a problem as you may take on board what they say without further investigation … but it is always best to work with someone you get on well with, and trust their integrity and advice.

  1. Do they operate under the radar, and are they a credible firm?

Many offshore structuring firms operate under the radar, and are not well known. This is what attracts people to them.

However, when setting up offshore structures, especially with the governments looking closely at it, it’s critical you

  1. What support do they give if the government targets you?

It is all very well to set up an offshore structure or do international tax planning. But it is critically important to ensure not only are you properly set up but if things go wrong, or the ATO ask questions, your international tax consultant will be there to assist you. In particular, you need their help to answer questions, and possibly deal with the ATO on your behalf on the matter.

  1. Do they understand how the multinationals plan their tax?

This is very important in my view.

The reason is simple.

The multinationals pay millions of dollars for high quality tax advice. By structuring similar to the multinationals, you are staying within the law. Despite the governments complaining about the multinationals, by saying it is “legal but immoral”, they are admitting the multinationals have set up 100% legally.

It makes sense to know how they do it, and follow similar principles.

  1. Are they giving you “dodgy” advice which just doesn’t “smell right”?

Ultimately you must trust your own “gut” or intuition.

If something doesn’t smell right, it probably is not right.

If you have even 1% uncertainty or discomfort, you don’t do it. That is my number one rule in life, and whenever I have ignored it, I have paid dearly for it.

With international tax consultants and offshore structuring, this principle of following your intuition becomes even more important.


It is not easy selecting the best person to help you with your offshore structuring or international tax planning. It is an exercise you should take your time with, and not rush into it. A few months to get it right is better than months or years of pain if you get it wrong, and have to deal with government investigations.

But follow through the 10 tips above and you won’t go wrong!

How Do I Get in Contact With You?

Call us on 1300 669 336 or click here to organise a free no-obligation chat with an international tax specialist.

We won’t charge you unless we’re confident we can assist.

About the Author …

Written by Warren Black head of the Wealth Safe international tax planning division.

Warren has 26 plus years experience in tax planning and asset protection, including 10 years at the Australian Tax Office. He is the ONLY recommended international tax consultant in Australia on Lance Spicer’s list of recommended international tax experts. Lance Spicer is a highly regarded authority in offshore structuring and planning and going under the radar.

Warren knows the tricks of the trade so you only pay the tax you legally have to and you take advantage of the international tricks available to build your wealth faster.

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