Long-standing offshore jurisdictions
Register a Company in a Country That Is Offshore in the Full Sense of the Word
Below we are going to point out a few countries that are offshore jurisdictions in the full sense of the word. Before we proceed, however, we need to clarify the full sense of the word ‘offshore’. If you think that we are going to speak about countries where criminals launder their money and evade taxes, you have to reconsider. Do you know why? Because there are no countries of this kind any longer!
The de-offshorization processes are yielding fruit and whatever country you choose to register a company, it’s going to be transparent to the local fiscal authorities as well as those in your home country. Automatic exchange of information, controlled foreign corporation rules, Know Your Client requirements – these and other instruments employed by national and international regulators have made it impossible to legalize criminal money by transferring it to a certain country. This method doesn’t work anymore and poor drug dealers have to look for other ways of laundering the money that they earn from selling drugs.
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Offshore jurisdictions used to be attractive (and not only for criminals) because they levied low or zero taxes, because it was easy to set up an offshore company, because the information about the company UBO could remain secret, and because the company’s banking transactions could be kept private. Today, no country has totally zero taxation and no country provides total privacy of company ownership information. Besides, all banking transactions are transparent.
At the same time, many traditional offshore jurisdictions have been able to preserve some of the benefits that they used to offer before. They have had to give in to the international pressure along many lines but there are still some incentives in offshore zones that can hardly be found in most onshore countries. Thus, we are going to mention some offshore countries that offer remnants of the luxuries available in the past.
The British Virgin Islands
There are hundreds of thousands of offshore companies in the world and about 40% of them are domiciled in the BVI. Besides, there are less reputable and more reputable offshore companies and the BVI boasts having many companies from the second group. The corporate tax is 0% in the BVI.
The banking sector in the territory is also very strong because the reporting requirements for companies registered there are very strict. Besides, it is easy for a BVI-registered company to set up an account in a reputable jurisdiction such as Great Britain, for example. Banks in places like Singapore or Hong Kong will be happy to take a BVI client onboard.
The Cayman Islands
Around three quarters of all offshore hedge funds are registered in the Cayman Islands because the tax system is highly beneficial in the country. Some experts refer to the Caymans as ‘the last true tax haven remaining’. You won’t find the following taxes in the Cayman Islands: dividend tax, profit tax, income tax, wealth tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax, and withholding tax. The privacy of the company owners’ information is at a very high level too. It’s impossible to conceal the company UBO name from the authorities but the Register of Company Shareholders and the Register of Company Directors and Officers are kept secret from the public anyway.
What the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands have in common is that they are not exactly independent countries. Both of these jurisdictions are overseas territories of the United Kingdom. This fact makes both jurisdictions as politically stable as a country can only be. Probably because their ‘mother country’ is so powerful and so influential in the international arena, both of these island groups manage to preserve the benefits typical of tax havens.
Besides, English is the language spoken in the BVI and the Caymans, which makes life easier if you want to register a company, open a bank account, and relocate to one of these places. Why not? Here is the usual morning greeting that you will hear in the Caymans, for example: ‘Welcome to another day in paradise!’ Both territories are Caribbean islands with eternal summer, fantastic beaches and a warm sea.
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One day is enough for offshore company formation in Seychelles, an island group in the Indian Ocean. When applying for company registration in the country, you need to supply only the name of the company director to the Registrar. The identities of the company shareholders will remain private! Similarly to Nevis mentioned below, foreign income is taxed at 0% in Seychelles.
Nevis is a great place to register a company if asset protection is your main goal. Suing Nevis-based companies is a highly complicated and expensive task. If a court decision concerning your Nevis-registered company is made in another country, it has no legal force in Nevis. Only a local court can rule that you should pay back a debt, for example, or make a compensation of some kind. Besides, the plaintiff has to pay a considerable sum of money upfront if he or she wants to sue your company. This is often a weighty reason to abstain from filing a suit because if the claimant loses the case, he/ she will not get any of the money back.
In addition to that, the banking system in Nevis is advanced and highly reliable too. We have to be honest and admit that companies registered in Nevis may run into difficulties opening bank accounts in other countries but you can set up a corporate account in Nevis without any trouble if you have a company registered there. And this is going to be a functional bank account that you can use for various business transactions.
There are a few more countries that can offer some traditional offshore benefits too. These include Mauritius, Panama, Belize, Bermuda, the Isle of Man, and others. So opportunities for offshore business are readily available even in today’s strictly regulated world.