If you have a business which you want to expand or set up offshore, there is a lot to think about. The offshore company set up can be a genuine and effective way to reduce your tax bill, enjoy confidentiality and benefit from great asset protection. However, you must obtain the knowledge to navigate the potentially choppy waters of offshore incorporation.
The following will guide you through the offshore company set up process and, hopefully, make things clearer for you. This is a general guide, as all offshore jurisdictions are different in what information they require, the fees and charges and the time taken to register your new offshore company.
1) The first step is obviously to choose a jurisdiction which will provide you and your business with the maximum benefits. You should do extensive research about the set up process and search through the available offshore locations to work out which will work best for your particular business model. Of course, you should employ an experienced offshore formation agent to deal with all the mandatory documentation on your behalf, but it is useful to know what it all involves. Your agent will also be able to look at your business and your aims and goals, and advise you on the best offshore jurisdictions. The tax benefits will be important, but you must also look at set up, ongoing costs, anonymity and asset protection.
2) You must decide on your business entity. International business companies (IBCs) can be exempt, non-resident and holding companies in addition to the common limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies. The key differences will usually be filing and administrative obligations and annual fees, but check this with your agent.
3) The next step is to choose the company name. This can be the fun part, but you must check that your chosen name is not already taken by another company, and that it is acceptable in your chosen jurisdiction.
4) The Articles of Association will need to be drafted. These are the rules which govern the operation of your company. Your offshore incorporation agent will usually be able to provide a pro forma document which will suffice for most companies.
5) When carrying out your offshore company set up, you may need to transfer some funds. This can be done as a loan or share capital. Loans are preferable in that they allow tax-free withdrawals as loan repayments. However, you should be aware that UK laws can prevent offshore companies starting up with low share capital and high loans. Interest on loans is tax-deductible, so there are tax benefits to forming a UK subsidiary with loans. You must be careful to pitch loans so that they are realistic as a debt/equity ratio. Jurisdictions which offer foreign companies complete tax exemption will not be impacted as there will be no tax liability on profits.
6) If you are issuing shares, you must decide on the type. These include bearer shares which can be issued without disclosing the owners’ names, helping confidentiality. Bearer shares are not permitted in the UK, USA, Australia, Cyprus, Barbados, and Singapore. Preference shares usually offer the shareholder a fixed dividend receipt, but no voting rights on company matters. There are also Class A and B shares which allow specific rights and benefits to shareholders decided by the company.
7) You must nominate the people to be company directors. Usually, 2-3 directors are needed and these are often family members. Many offshore jurisdictions will allow nominee directors if you wish to use them, but be aware they will have some degree of control. You can choose to transfer your company to an offshore trust, allowing control to be given to a professional trust management company.
This will make you a trust beneficiary and you can then consider the company to be nonresident. Making the trustees directors of the company will also help nonresidency status. Charges for the offshore company set up will vary widely between jurisdictions (between £500 and several thousands of pounds), as will be the time was taken to incorporate (between one week and one month).
Do look at the many different offshore company formation agents and compare their prices. Also, look at their reputations and reviews to ensure you choose a professional organization who can offer all the services you will require achieving offshore company set up. Author Bio This article was presented by They provide offshore company formation services and have been assisting with the formation of new companies for 25 years.