Offshore registration refers to the process of registering offshore companies and other offshore entities. Registration offshore can be completed for offshore companies also known as International Business companies or exempt companies, offshore limited liability companies, offshore partnership companies, offshore trusts and offshore foundations. Some offshore jurisdictions also carry out offshore vessel and ship registration. The process of offshore company registration can be carried out in the following offshore jurisdictions: Anguilla, Dominica, Seychelles, Gibraltar, Panama, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Bahamas, Dominica, Nevis, Belize and Singapore among many others.
Offshore formation has many benefits. Company registration in an offshore jurisdiction could mean taking advantage of tax savings. Most of the world’s offshore jurisdictions are also tax havens which mean that there are special tax schemes in place for companies registered as offshore companies in these authorities. The world’s tax havens are those countries which have very low tax rate or no taxes at all in place for offshore companies. An offshore company as well as an offshore LLC incorporated in those offshore tax havens with no taxes suggest that offshore companies which do no business in the country of incorporation will pay no taxes on its annual profits. There are very few offshore jurisdictions which imposes taxes on offshore companies and when this is done the taxes are normally set a very low rate. In many offshore jurisdictions the only taxes paid by offshore companies are registration fee and annual license renewal fees which are very reasonable.
To register offshore company means taking advantage of asset protection which offshore company legislation offers. Assets which are registered as part of offshore company (capital or property) are protected by the laws of offshore companies. These assets are made inaccessible to third parties outside of the offshore jurisdiction. Privacy is also made available to the shareholders and beneficial owners of offshore companies and other offshore entities. Information pertaining to offshore companies, offshore companies shareholders or bank accounts of offshore companies cannot be given out by the company’s registered agent or any person involved with the company registration online. Failure to regard this law can result in prison terms and monetary fines. The fines and prison terms for this law varies from one offshore jurisdiction to another.
Company registrations offshore can be easily completed. The process of offshore companies registration and offshore LLP registration can be completed on one working day in many offshore jurisdictions whilst in others it can take up to two (2) weeks. The process of offshore registration in offshore jurisdictions involves submitting a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association for inspection by the Registrar of Companies in the offshore jurisdictions. The names of the registration documents may vary dependent on the offshore jurisdiction but the information to be submitted is basically the same. The information which is required for offshore incorporation is as follows:
- The proposed name of the UK company
- The registered address of the company
- The name and address of the registered agent
- The authorized share capital to be registered by the company
- The currency in which the share capital will be issued
- The names, addresses and nationalities of the company shareholders
- The names, nationalities and addresses of the company directors
- Companies which must appoint a Company Secretary must state the name and address of the individual or corporation
- State the type of company to be registered; company limited by shares, company limited by guarantee or unlimited company
- The number of shares to be issued by the offshore company
- The types of shares to be issued
- The par value of shares to be issued
- A statement declaring the voting rights, limitations, powers and restrictions and privileges placed on each type of share
- The company’s by- laws
For offshore incorporations in many of the existing offshore jurisdictions a registered agent must be used by the beneficial owners of the company. Offshore company regulations in offshore jurisdictions such as Dominica, Belize, Panama, British Virgin Islands, other Caribbean offshore jurisdictions and jurisdictions around the world stipulate that offshore company incorporation can only be completed by incorporation agents. The registered agents are persons who can also be referred to as offshore service providers who have been granted a license by the government in offshore jurisdictions or the body responsible for regulating offshore services to carry out such services. Persons who act as registered agents are mostly lawyers and solicitors. The registered agent is responsible for filing registration documents as well as any documents which relates to changes made within the offshore company.
Offshore company registration can be completed with one shareholder and one company director in most offshore jurisdictions. The shareholder and the company director can be the same persons in most instances. There are offshore jurisdictions where companies must be registered with more than one company director, the jurisdiction of Panama states that the minimum number of company directors is two (2). Some offshore jurisdictions allow offshore companies to be registered with nominee shareholders and nominee directors.
Companies registered as offshore companies are not always allowed to do business operations in the country of registration. There are few countries which allow offshore companies to do business in the country of incorporation. Panama is one of few offshore jurisdictions which allows offshore business companies registered in the jurisdiction to carry out business with residents and from within the country. Offshore companies can only carry out the business operation which it has been licensed to carry out.
When registering an offshore company it is important to carefully consider the name of the offshore company. Offshore jurisdictions will not register a company who has a name which has already been used or if the name given to the company is seen as offensive to the country where incorporation is to take place. Most offshore jurisdictions can reserve names for offshore companies.
Offshore company registration is very affordable and is not time consuming. Offshore companies have gained a reputation for being good trading companies as well as investment companies. Offshore companies are backed by strict and very modern legislation.