Offshore Corporation

Offshore corporations can be formed in many countries in the world. Offshore corporations are frequently incorporated in what are known as offshore jurisdictions. Offshore jurisdictions are those countries which has put offshore legislation in place thus encouraging the formation of offshore companies. Offshore jurisdictions which exist today include many Caribbean countries. The offshore jurisdictions which have legislation in place permitting offshore company setup are Belize, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Panama, Seychelles, Vanuatu among other jurisdictions. An offshore company once incorporated can do business anywhere in the world. Some offshore jurisdictions restrict offshore companies incorporated with them from doing business within the jurisdiction. Offshore corporations become legal entities when the Registrar of Companies in the offshore jurisdiction issues the company owners with a Certificate of Incorporation. This now means that the offshore company has the right of a legal person and has the powers to sue and be sued. Offshore companies can be used for placing assets (cash, property, securities among others).

An offshore company has the same basic structure as an onshore company. Offshore companies are made up of shareholders and directors like an ordinary company. This can be changed during the course of time providing that the necessary legal steps are taken and the regulations of offshore company in the jurisdiction followed with much care. The different offshore jurisdictions have set out guidelines to follow for offshore company formation. In regards to shareholders most offshore companies can be formed with a minimum of one (1) company shareholder. Offshore jurisdictions which permit one offshore shareholder are Dominica, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and St Kitts among many others. The nationality of the offshore company shareholders can be that of any country in the world.

Like a regular company an offshore company has directors who are responsible for the management of the offshore business company. Many offshore jurisdictions accept one (1) director as the minimum number of directors an offshore company can have however offshore jurisdictions such as Panama dictate that the minimum number of directors needed for offshore business establishement, comparable to Panama companies registration, is three (3). Directors for offshore corporations can also be of any nationality.

In many offshore jurisdictions it is standard practice for persons to use the services of Nominee shareholders and Nominee Directors for the formation of offshore corporations. This is done as a means of protecting the identity of the rightful owners of offshore corporations. The nominee shareholders and nominee directors are chosen by the discretion of the registered agent.

For the incorporation of offshore corporations in most of the world’s offshore jurisdiction legislation stipulates that a Registered Agent be used by the prospective company owners. The Registered Agent works as an intermediary between the future company owners and the Registrar of Companies or the authority responsible for incorporating the offshore corporations. Registered Agents are persons or offshore service e providers who have been given the necessary licensed to work on behalf of offshore clients. The Registered Agent is responsible for preparing and filing documents such as the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association with the Registrar of Companies.

Most offshore corporations pay little or no taxes at all. Many of the world’s offshore companies are incorporated in tax havens. These are countries with has very low tax rates or none in place. As an offshore corporation in a tax haven there are no local taxes paid on income gained outside of the tax haven. Offshore jurisdictions of the Caribbean are tax havens which has no form of taxation for foreign earned income. These countries also have no capital gains tax, death tax or withholding tax.

An offshore corporation is a structure which can be used for trading or simply for holding assets. Offshore corporations are very good investments.