Which Countries are Best to Incorporate an Offshore Company?
Offshore Company Benefits:
An Offshore Company is an ideal vehicle to hold valuable assets, operate bank accounts that aren’t disclosable and save on taxes with careful planning. An offshore company is a key part of any asset protection and tax reduction plan. Offshore company definition nowadays is very different to what it was historically.
An offshore company setup doesn’t have to be in a known tax haven. In fact sometimes it’s better not to appear on a recognised offshore company register if you don’t want to attract too much attention. Let’s take a look at some of the main jurisdictions where you can form an offshore company:
Main jurisdictions for offshore company set up:
Hong Kong is a first-class jurisdiction to form an offshore company. Incorporation is fast and efficient. Provided the profits from the Company are made outside Hong Kong they will not be taxed in Hong Kong due to the territorial tax regime there. You will need a local agent to be your representative in Hong Kong and file any official paperwork. Annual running costs have been creeping up in recent years and you can expect to spend around $2,000 per year to maintain a tax-free Company in Hong Kong.
If you want to keep a high level of privacy in your affairs Panama is a top rate option. Panama has no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with other countries so will not divulge any information to snoopers from your home country. Panama also has a territorial tax system so any profits earned outside Panama will be tax-free. No accounts can be filed and beneficial owner information is not public. An offshore company in Panama is the best option for ultimate privacy.
Belize is a completely tax-free jurisdiction. There are no taxes on IBCs. The only publicly available information will be the fact that the Company exists and the address of the resident agent. No information regarding directors or shareholders is available to the public. Belize is one of the few jurisdictions that still permits bearer shares. Whoever holds the bearer share certificate owns the Company. This can be a useful feature if a you need to transfer the Company quickly and anonymously.
The Cook Islands
Companies incorporated on The Cook Islands are completely tax-free and offer similar privacy options to other jurisdictions. It would be all but impossible for anyone in your home country to discover that you have an interest in a Cook Islands LLC. In addition, The Cook Islands do not recognize foreign judgments. Even if a creditor in your home country got a judgment against your offshore company it would be all but useless to them. They’d have to start proceedings all over again in The Cook Islands. That would discourage all but the most determined litigants.
Nevis is a small island in the Eastern Caribbean just beyond Puerto Rico. Nevis is a 100% tax-free jurisdiction and permits single-member LLCs. Nevis has some of the best asset protection legislation in the world. They do not recognize foreign judgments so any creditor would have to start proceedings in Nevis. Lawyers in Nevis are not allowed to work on contingency and any party starting litigation against a Nevis LLC has to lodge a bond of $100,000 with the court.
In the unlikely event that a creditor got a judgment against your offshore company your creditor still has difficulties to overcome. Any court order granted in Nevis charging the assets of the LLC will expire after 3 years. For this reason, any creditor is going to think long and hard before suing a Nevis LLC. They would have to spend significant sums to get started with no guarantee of success and even if they were ultimately successful they’d have to start over again in 3 years if they weren’t able to find the assets of the Company in that timeframe.
The Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands Exempted companies have long been popular. Caymans offshore companies can be formed in one day. The process is fast and efficient. Only one director is required. There are no personal or corporate taxes in The Cayman Islands and it is whitelisted by all major jurisdictions. You will have no problem doing business anywhere in the world with a Cayman Island Company. Directors and shareholders are disclosable here so if privacy is your main concern you would have to use a nominee or hold the ownership in a trust. No accounts need to be filed.
The Republic of Georgia
Georgia is an independent country that was once part of the Soviet Union. It is one of the most efficient jurisdictions for forming companies. According to the World Bank Georgia rated number seven out of 190 in the ease of doing business ranking for 2019. You can easily form a company in a few hours in the Capital, Tbilisi. Georgia is located in an advantageous location between Europe and Asia. There is no tax on profits generated outside Georgia. Annual running costs are low here too. Directors and shareholders are disclosed, so if privacy is a concern nominees can be used.
The Seychelles is a zero tax haven for Companies. There are also minimal filing and disclosures making it ideal if you’re looking for a degree of privacy. Secrecy provisions are enshrined in law and there are no information-sharing agreements. No financial information needs to be disclosed here. An offshore company in The Seychelles is ideal for privacy seekers. Banking options are somewhat limited.
St Vincent is a Caribbean Island with a population of 103,000. St Vincent has strong financial privacy laws that protect against the disclosure of your confidential information to foreign authorities. You can keep your affairs private as there is no public register of directors or shareholders. Bank accounts can be opened here without an in-person visit making it an ideal jurisdiction for offshore banking.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE has no income taxes. It is an ‘off the radar’ jurisdiction and will not disclose your private information to third parties. Unfortunately, it is a member of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) but that’s easy to get around as you can see here. Incorporation and filing procedures are simple and efficient. Only one shareholder and one director are required. There are a good choice of banks in the UAE but a personal visit will be needed to open an account. The UAE could be a good choice if you are trading in the Middle East or as a safe and private jurisdiction to operate bank accounts that can’t be easily compromised.
Serbia is not considered a typical tax haven. That’s a good thing in today’s world. It’s very easy to form a company in Serbia. It can be done in one day. Bank account opening is easy too. It’s also easy to become a legal resident of Serbia if you form a company there. There is a low corporate tax rate of 15%. With some planning, this can be lowered to single digits. Serbia is not part of CRS so the privacy of your bank accounts there is assured. Serbia is one of our favourite ‘off-the-radar’ locations for forming companies and banking.
As you can see, incorporating an offshore company in Serbia has many benefits. The choice depends on exactly what you’re looking for. Each jurisdiction has different options for privacy and banking. For more detail on asset protection and offshore banking strategies check out our Asset Protection Report here.
Is it legal to have an offshore company?
Yes, offshore companies are perfectly legal. There are dozens of legitimate uses for offshore companies.
What are offshore companies used for?
Offshore companies can be used to reduce tax liabilities worldwide. They are also used for asset protection, for increased privacy and dozens of other reasons such as holding intellectual property.
What is offshore company in UAE?
As an offshore jurisdiction the UAE offers different types of companies including companies to trade locally and free zone companies. Which you choose depends on what you’re going to use it for.
Which country is the best for offshore company?
That depends on what you plan to use it for. Will it be used primarily for tax reduction, for asset protection or for something else entirely?
What is an offshore company?
Offshore companies are companies incorporated outside your home jurisdiction. They normally have lower tax rates and minimal disclosure requirements. You can increase your privacy and lower your taxes with offshore companies.
Do you want to start an offshore company? We can register an offshore company in any jurisdiction. The offshore company incorporation is not the most important aspect. You need a holistic offshore strategy to protect your assets and reduce your taxes. Get in touch with us here for help with your personalised offshore structure: