Anguilla

Anguilla is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands and is located in the northeastern Caribbean, approximately 950 miles south east of Miami, Florida

Anguillan IBCs are formed pursuant to the International Business Companies Ordinance of 1994 (amended in 2000) which includes all the most desirable aspects and features of this modern type of legislation.

Salient Features

The Anguillan IBC is an extremely flexible product which provides for minimal reporting, no requirements to file financial statements, no requirements to disclose beneficial ownership, no requirement to hold meeting on the islands and provides that meetings may be held in person, by telephone or by other electronic means.

Anguilla Company needs one director and one shareholder.  Details of director/shareholder are not on public records.

Types of Companies

Besides from IBC, the corporate Ordinances provide for limited liability (or limited life) companies and ordinary companies which, due to Anguilla’s true zero tax status, can be used as domestic or offshore vehicles. Companies limited by guarantee, hybrid companies and non profit companies are all permitted.

Besides from IBC, the corporate Ordinances provide for limited liability (or limited life) companies and ordinary companies which, due to Anguilla’s true zero tax status, can be used as domestic or offshore vehicles. Companies limited by guarantee, hybrid companies and non profit companies are all permitted.

Bahamas

The Bahamas extends in a 1,225 km arc from 78 km east of Palm Beach, Florida, to just north of Haiti. 

Salient Features

The International Business Companies Act 2000 was introduced at the end of that year repealing the previous IBC legislation which allowed for companies to be quickly and easily incorporated for the purpose of transacting offshore business. This was following international pressure to abolish bearer shares and bring more transparency into company affairs so that from early 2001.

A minimum of one director is required and corporate directors are permitted.  Details of director are on public records. A minimum of one shareholder is required. Details of shareholder are not on public records.

Belize

Belize is situated in Central America, bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. It has a coastline of 386km.

Salient Features

The IBC Act was introduced in 1990 to implement competitive offshore legislation for Belize IBC's which was subsequently amended to reflect the changes required to provide efficient Belize offshore services.

A minimum of one director and one shareholder is required and corporate directors are permitted.  Details of director/shareholder are not on public records.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a British Dependant Territory composed of over 50 islands, islets and cays located approximately 60 miles (95 kilometres) East of Puerto Rico.

Salient Features

There are no capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes or death duties in the Territory. Government revenues are derived from local income tax, import duties, stamp duties, license fees and company fees.

The British Virgin Island corporation ordinance offers a host of benefits not readily available in most other offshore jurisdictions.

BVI Company needs a minimum of one director and one shareholder.  Also Corporate directors / shareholders are permitted.  Details of director/shareholder are not on public records.

Cyprus

Cyprus is an island situated at the North-Eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea at the cross-roads of Europe and Africa. 

Salient Features

The principle corporate legislation is the Companies Law, Cap. 113, as amended.  The type of company used for international trade and investment are companies incorporated under the Companies Law, Cap. 113, as amended, who have obtained exchange control permission from the Central Bank of Cyprus to acquire offshore company status.  Such companies cannot undertake the business of banking or insurance and cannot trade with resident individuals or companies situated in Cyprus.  The powers and objects of a company are contained within the Memorandum and Articles of Association and have to be specific.

Cyprus Company needs one director and shareholder.  They may be natural persons or corporate.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is situated on the southern coast of the People’s Republic of China.  Its strategic location in the heart of Southeast Asia.

Salient Features

The most common type of entity is the company limited by shares, although it is also possible to have companies that are unlimited.  The company law is based on the United Kingdom Company Ordinance of 1932, which has been amended many times, most recently in 2003.

Hong Kong companies are preferred amongst the Asian/Pacific offshore centers. The major advantage to these companies is that they cannot be easily identified as offshore companies since they are not incorporated by virtue of a special exempt or IBC type legislation.  A Hong Kong company would avoid the application of profit tax by arranging to have its income source outside Hong Kong. 

The Hong Kong Company is not allowed to invite the general public to buy shares or debentures, nor is it permitted to purchase its own shares. The company may not give financial assistance to others to purchase its shares.

Hong Kong company needs one director and they can be individuals or corporate.  Details of director are on public records.  One shareholder is required and they may be either individual or corporate.  A company secretary must be appointed.  An individual secretary must be a resident of Hong Kong.  A corporate secretary must have its registered office or a place of business in Hong Kong.  Details of the company secretary are made available to the public.

Hong Kong company needs one director and they can be individuals or corporate.  Details of director are on public records.  One shareholder is required and they may be either individual or corporate.  A company secretary must be appointed.  An individual secretary must be a resident of Hong Kong.  A corporate secretary must have its registered office or a place of business in Hong Kong.  Details of the company secretary are made available to the public.

Isle of Man

Isle of Man lies in the Irish Sea, about midway between the coasts of Northern Ireland and England.

Salient Features

Companies must have at least two directors and one company secretary.  They must be natural persons; thus corporate directors are not permitted.  The company secretary must be professionally qualified or be officially approved by the authorities. For exempt and international companies, one director and the secretary must be resident.A minimum of one shareholder is required which may be an individual or body corporate.  Shareholders details are recorded on public file but anonymity can be protected through the use of nominee shareholders.

Malta

Malta is situated in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, Italy.

Salient Features

Maltese companies engaged in international trading and/or holding activities are normal, taxable, onshore limited liability companies registered in Malta in terms of the Companies Act, 1995 and are the same limited liability companies that can be used for any activities, whether domestic or international or both.

Maltese companies are particularly tax-efficient corporate vehicles and can be (and have been) advantageously utilized in a virtually unlimited variety of:

  1. trading, commercial and service activities in any sector; particularly in the provision of commercial, management, technical and other services, group treasury operations and the international purchase and sale of goods; and/or
  2. holding activities, including the holding of shares in other companies, intellectual property rights, loan rights, bank accounts and other assets, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable

A minimum of one director is required and corporate directors are permitted.  Details of director are on public records. A minimum of one shareholder is required. Details of shareholder are also on public record but anonymity can be retained by using nominee shareholders.

Mauritius

Mauritius, an island covering 1865 square kilometers, is situated some 2000 kilometers off the South East Coast of Africa.  English is the official language but the Mauritians are equally fluent in French. "Creole" is widely spoken in the island.  The official currency of Mauritius is Mauritian Rupee.

Types of Companies

Global Business Companies (GBC) are companies registered under the Companies Act 2001 and licensed by the Financial Services Commission to conduct international activities with non-residents.

There are 2 types of GBC, namely those holding a Category 1 licence and those holding a Category 2 licence.

The Category 1 Global Business Company (GBC1) is a tax resident of Mauritius and is therefore liable to tax in Mauritius, but at a concessionary rate. It is eligible for benefits from the network of Double Tax Treaties (DTTs) that Mauritius has ratified with a number of countries. It can thus be an effective corporate vehicle for international tax planning.

The Global Business Company Category 2 (GBC2) replaced the old International Company under the Companies Act 2001. The GBC2 is ideal for international trading, invoicing, licensing, international consultancy business and is often used to hold investments or other assets.

The regulatory framework has recently been updated and GBC2 companies are now governed by the Companies Act 2001 (“the Companies Act”) and the Financial Services Development Act 2001 (“the FSD Act”).

Panama

Panama, Republic in Central America, located on the narrow strip of land that connects North and South America. 

Salient Features

Panama was the first country to introduce modern legislation permitting the creation of offshore companies for tax planning purposes. Panamanian law is based on the Spanish Civil Code, although the company law has been taken from the corporation law of Delaware in the USA.  Keeping abreast of changes, Panama modernized its Commercial Code with new reforms that can be adopted by either new or existing companies by means of a Shareholder’s Resolution as per Law Decree No. 5 of 2 July 1997.

Panama company needs a minimum of three directors and three officers: a president, a treasurer, and a secretary.  However, one person may hold more than one office. Officers and directors must disclose full names and addresses, which are filed at the Public Registry.

Seychelles

Seychelles, republic, consisting of an archipelago of some 115 islands, scattered across the western Indian Ocean northeast of the island of Madagascar, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Salient Features

The legislation to incorporate a company is the International Business Companies Act 1994. The type of company used for international trade and investment is the International Business Company (IBC).  IBCs set up in the Seychelles receive a favourable treatment, being exempt on tax or duty on income or profits.

An IBC cannot trade within the Seychelles or own real estate there. They cannot undertake the business of banking, insurance, assurance, re-insurance, fund management, asset management (other than the company’s own assets) or any other activity that would suggest an association with the banking and insurance industries.

A minimum of one director and one shareholder is required and corporate directors are permitted.  Details of director/shareholder are not on public records.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates or states, each with its own unique character and personality but yet united with a common goal and destiny. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi; Dubai; Sharjah; Ajman; Umm Al-Qaiwain; Ras Al-Khaimah and Fujairah.

The UAE is an amazing amalgamation of the traditional values of the East and the modern technologies of the West and a melting pot of various nationalities and cultures living together and working in harmony.

Offshore Companies in UAE

One of the latest initiatives by the Dubai government has been the setting up of offshore companies which will be regulated by the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) offshore Companies Regulations 2003 which came into effect on January 15, 2003.   This Company can be used to own real estate developed by any of the leading property development companies like EMAAR, Nakheel, Dubai Properties or any other real estate properties approved by the JAFZ – Authority.

Offshore companies have been used by people all over the world to hold their property/ investments in a safe and secure jurisdiction tax free.  In most jurisdictions, confidentiality is guaranteed and the details of beneficial owners remain with the registered agent of the Company.  This is also a very good vehicle for people who do not wish to conduct business locally.  Receiving commission payments or for consultancy services rendered offshore is possible.  Offshore Companies can have a local bank account provided all due diligence is submitted.  UAE offers offshore company set ups in Jebel Ali and Ras Al Khaimah. However property in UAE can be held only by using a Jebel Ali offshore company and only after receiving a NOC from the Jebel Ali Authorities.  Physical presence is required for forming a company in Jebel Ali but for most other jurisdictions, company formation can be done via email and courier