What is an offshore company?
Offshore or non-resident companies are described as companies that conduct an insubstantial or zero volume of business within their jurisdiction of incorporation. More specifically, offshore companies have three characteristics: Firstly, they should be registered as an entity within the jurisdiction of incorporation. Secondly, the 'incorporators' should be domiciled outside of the jurisdiction of incorporation. Finally, the company should transact the major majority of business outside of the jurisdiction of incorporation. However, most associate the term 'offshore company' as a means of increasing tax efficiency.
Which jurisdiction should I choose for my company?
The most important factor in choosing a jurisdiction is to be sure that your company will be incorporated in a country that has:
- reliable means of communication
- political and economic stability
- good reputation
- sophisticated corporate laws
All the jurisdictions we work with enjoy the above mentioned advantages. However, the right choice of jurisdiction also depends on where you live and on the business you conduct. Our advisors can assist you in finding the jurisdiction that makes the most sense with regard to your personal situation. Generally, we recommend the Seychelles due to the low fees, the rapid incorporation process and excellent confidentiality.
Why are your fees lower than those of your competitors?
Having our own offices or partners in the jurisdictions where we provide our services, we are able to offer straight-forward and competitive prices, given we can avoid any intermediaries.
Does my company have to provide accounts to any tax authority?
No, generally not. This is one of the main advantages of "offshore" companies. However, in a few select jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong and the UK, for example, it is indeed mandatory for companies to produce yearly accounts and to have them audited, and in some cases, to pay taxes.
How long will it take for me to receive my corporate documents?
Every jurisdiction has its own incorporation timeframe. Once the company has been incorporated, it will generally take about 2-6 days for the corporate documents to reach you.
Who should use an offshore company?
An offshore company may be of interest to a great number of people and it may be used for various activities:
- Businessmen: Creating an offshore company allows you to begin an activity without having to deal with the set-up of a complicated infrastructure. An offshore company allows you to benefit from fiscal advantages and ease of administration.
- E-Commerce: Internet traders can use an offshore company to maintain a domain name and to manage internet sites. An offshore company might be ideal for people whose business is on the internet. You might choose to incorporate the registered office of your company in an offshore jurisdiction to take advantage of the various benefits offered by these jurisdictions.
- Consultants / Counselors: You can also carry on your consultancy or counselling business through an offshore company. You will find it easier to manage your company and will have reduced or even zero taxation depending on the jurisdiction in question.
- International business: International commerce can be carried out through an offshore company. It will handle purchases and sales operations, taking advantage of the fact that its profit will not be taxed, or only at a low level, depending on the jurisdiction. This type of use is particularly interesting where goods from one country are sold in another country while you yourself are based in a third country.
- Holding intellectual property rights: Any kind of intellectual property right (a patent or trade mark) may be registered in the name of an offshore company. The company may also buy or sell this type of rights. It may also grant rights of use to third parties against payments which will be considered as revenues and will thus benefit from the low level or zero taxation of the jurisdiction in which it is registered.
- For the custody of movable and immovable property: Offshore companies are used to hold both movable property (such as yachts) and immovable property (e.g. houses and buildings). In addition to confidentiality, the benefits and advantages they offer include exemption from certain types of taxes (e.g. inheritance tax). It should be noted, however, that some countries do not allow the acquisition of movable/immovable property through offshore structures and therefore those wishing to form an offshore structure are advised to check with a competent authority before proceeding.
- For inheritance purposes: An offshore firm that always stays afloat (provided all costs associated with running it are paid) may, in some countries, be used as a means of avoiding inheritance tax laws. With a view to optimizing inheritance tax liability, the offshore structure may also be combined with a trust or a foundation.
- Stockbroker/forex: Offshore companies are very often used for share or foreign exchange transactions. The main reasons being the anonymous nature of the transaction (the account can be opened under a company name) and the attractive fiscal conditions of offshore regulations (little or no tax levied on profits made).
What is the notarization and apostille?
A notarization means that a notary will check all the documents we issue for your company and that he will confirm their authenticity. An apostille is an internationally recognized certification and legalization of the corporate documents by the Government of the jurisdiction where your company has been incorporated. We highly recommend choosing this option if you consider opening a bank account or if you need your corporate documents for any legal proceedings.