By EuroCompanyFormations.com (Updated 09/03/2023)
The terms “offshore account” and “offshore company” have come to be commonly understood as a means of hiding money from authorities. However, the majority of banking and business conducted abroad is legitimate. So-called “offshore” locations offer an easier solution to investing, travelling, and living abroad because there is reduced regulation to overcome. Before investing, you must know your chosen destination’s requirements and restrictions.
Euro Company Formations facilitate company formations in more than 50 countries worldwide. Through our dealings, we have learned that some countries are more accommodating of foreign investors when it comes to transacting business and establishing finances. The following list is our top 7 best countries for incorporating an offshore company in terms of regulations, taxes, and residency requirements (in no particular order).
This has been a long-time favourite for international companies looking to benefit from the low-tax regime and excellent telecommunication facilities. The economy in Gibraltar is currently very stable and strong growth in the future is expected. The financial services and technology sectors, in particular, have been experiencing rapid growth in recent years.
There is no VAT, holding, or turnover tax in Gibraltar.
The standard corporation tax rate for Gibraltar-sourced income is 12.5% and there is no tax on investment income, dividends, or capital gains. Companies are taxed on profits for the financial year on income accrued or derived in Gibraltar. Profits of foreign companies are taxed at the same rate as resident companies.
Energy and utility providers pay a higher tax rate of 20% (this includes telecommunications, petroleum, water, and Sewage companies).
Companies are required to submit a tax return within six months of their accounting year’s end. Tax can be paid in advance in two instalments, on 28th February and 30th September. Each payment is based on 50% of the previous year’s tax and any remaining balance can be paid on submission of the tax return.
- A company must have a registered office.
- A company must have a resident secretary to file official documents to the government.
- Certain information on the company’s activities needs to be provided to the secretary (registered agent) including copies of bank statements in the name of the company, the agreement entered etc.
- The minimum Share capital of £100.
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in Gibraltar within 5-7 business days once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on how to incorporate a company in Gibraltar please click here.
The Cayman Islands are the world’s top domicile for offshore hedge funds and one of the largest captive insurance centres in the world. As a regulated and tax-neutral financial centre, the Cayman Islands is an ideal destination for both private and institutional investors. With more than 200 banks, including branches of major international banks, there are plenty of private and investment banking options. The financial institutions have earned a reputation for being highly professional and friendly to foreign investors.
The Corporate Tax Rate is 0%, and there are no corporate, capital gains, income, profit, withholding, or other taxes imposed on corporations in the Cayman Islands. There are two principal types of companies suited for offshore operations, which are the ‘Ordinary’ and the ‘Exempt’, both types are limited by shares. We recommend the exempt option for offshore operations that do not carry out business in the Cayman Islands. The confidentiality of the Shareholder, Director, and offshore company is protected by law.
The exempt company files a compliance statement (instead of a detailed return) annually. However, there are no taxes in the Cayman Islands.
Limited Liability Companies are required to create and maintain a Register of Beneficial Ownership. The legislation came into effect on the 30th of June 2017.
- Companies must have at least one Director and a Secretary.
- The name and addresses of the Directors and Officers must be notified to the Registrar; this information is kept private.
- The maximum capital pays the minimum registration and the annual license fee is US$50,000.00.
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in the Cayman Islands within approximately 5 business days once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in the Cayman Islands, please Contact Us.
Panama is a safe, stable, and affordable country that uses the U.S. dollar as its currency. One of Panama’s biggest advantages is its position as a global banking haven. There are more than 70 local and international banks offering maximum confidentiality and anonymity.
Foreign businesses and investors are drawn to Panama because the corporation tax is 0% for activities outside of Panama. As long as the business revenue isn’t sourced from within the country, no tax needs to be paid in Panama. When a corporation is set up correctly, it will not be liable for taxes from the revenues that flow through it anywhere else, either. The process is not very complex but we recommend you seek advice from a formation agent or a tax expert.
Corporation fees and costs are competitive and there is no statutory requirement to hold annual general meetings. Attitudinally there is no required paid-in capital.
- Companies are required to have 3 Directors and 1 shareholder.
- RUC is a company’s income tax ID number issued by Panama’s revenue agency (DGI).
- Articles of Incorporation filed with the government’s Public Registry.
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in Panama within approximately 5 business days once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in Panama please click here.
Belize is an increasingly popular offshore location for investors due to its high level of privacy protection, quick incorporation, and inexpensive annual fees. Belize offers a simple and efficient offshore solution with a range of benefits and features, making it a highly desirable location.
Belize is a true tax haven. Offshore incorporations in Belize are exempt from all local taxes including stamp duty, capital gains tax, dividend, and income taxes. They are also exempted from paying taxes upon the transfer of assets, both corporate and financial. Companies and owners can hold assets and trade anywhere in the world but cannot trade in or own property in Belize itself.
Additionally, Belize has double taxation agreements with the United Kingdom, Austria, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. Tax information agreements have been signed with Mexico, Poland, and South Africa.
There is no requirement for a minimum paid-up capital, no control over foreign exchange, and the annual costs to maintain a company are very low as there is no requirement to file tax returns with the Belize tax authority. To keep the incorporation and annual costs to a minimum the standard authorised capital of 50,000 USD is recommended; divided into 50,000 registered shares of 1.00 USD.
Any individual or legal entity (corporation or LLC), regardless of residency can be appointed as the director or officer of a Belize offshore company. Information about corporate directors, officers, shareholders, and beneficial owners is not filed with the Belize Registry or available to the public.
NOTE: From October 2013, all international business companies are required to maintain accounting records as part of the Accounting Records (Maintenance) Act. The Board of Directors may determine the location for the keeping of these records.
- Companies are required to have at least 1 Director (no restriction on Nationality). A director can also either be an individual or a corporation.
- A minimum of one shareholder is required. Just one share for US$1.00 could be issued to that shareholder.
- A registered office is required but the principal office address (business address) may be in any country.
- Companies must have a local registered agent authorised by the government.
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in Belize within 1 business day days once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in Belize please click here.
Mauritius is a premier international business centre located in the Indian Ocean. Over the past 20 years, Mauritius has seen exponential growth and socio-economic development, emerging as a politically stable democracy. Mauritius has become a credible jurisdiction for offshore company formation, welcoming foreign investors and businesses alike. It offers reliability and security to investors through a flexible regulatory framework.
There is no Capital Gains Tax and the tax rate applicable to all companies is 15% on profit consisting of business/trading profits and passive income. An offshore company (GBC1) is entitled to a deemed foreign tax credit of 80% of the tax payable. A substantial advantage of setting up a GBC1 is that it may be structured as a tax resident in Mauritius. Resident companies are exempted from Dividend taxes and they are eligible for Mauritius’ taxation treaties with 28 countries.
A company incorporated in Mauritius can be 100% foreign owned and no minimum capital needs to be paid.
- Companies are required to have at least 1 Director, (no restriction on Nationality). However, to take advantage of tax treaties, 2 resident directors must be appointed.
- A minimum of one shareholder is required, can also either be an individual or a corporation but must be non-resident.
- Audited accounts are to be submitted. A local accountant must be appointed (not prior to incorporation)
- Companies must file tax returns and pay any income tax not later than six months from the end of the month in which the accounting period ends.
- Must have a local bank account
- Annual License fee
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in Mauritius within 2 weeks once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in Mauritius please click here.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is located between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea. As a self-governing country, the Isle of Man has a reputation as one of the most stable and secure offshore jurisdictions in the world. Due to continual connections to global trade, the island has only continued to grow to become a global hub for the financial services industries and is renowned for its world-class innovation. The Isle of Man’s Government is in favour of developing and supporting the island’s industries with multiple different business schemes available to the population.
Foreign investors are extremely attracted by the country’s taxation structure. The Isle of Man promotes a 0% Corporation Tax, unless you are a property company or retailer taking in more than £500,000 a year, then you are to be taxed at 10%. The country also has a VAT rate of 20%.
Additional tax benefits include:
- No tax on capital gains derived from the sale of any holdings.
- No inheritance tax, making it a very tax-efficient way of owning property.
- Dividends to non-residents are taxed at 0%
- No Withholding Tax is due on dividends paid to shareholders.
- Double tax relief is available for foreign tax paid
The Isle of Man can be an ideal location for registering a trading company that requires a genuine EU VAT number whilst also benefiting from full corporate tax exemption.
- The company must have a registered officer or agent within the Isle of Man. This registered person must be licenced by the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission to act as so.
- The company must possess a registered office within the jurisdiction.
- At least one company director is essential, whilst a company secretary is not. The company must also have at least one registered shareholder.
- Company meetings are required and should be held according to legislation, however, there is no requirement for a director to be present in the Isle of Man to take part.
- Annual returns and tax returns are required to be filed every year.
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in the Isle of Man within 2 weeks once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in the Isle of Man please click here.
The Republic of Seychelles is a collection of islands located in the western area of the Indian Ocean, well known for commercial fishery and international tourism. Ever since the International Business Companies Act was introduced in 1994, the offshore financial and corporate sector has seen exponential growth, becoming a highly competitive industry. The Republic is also known as one of the most progressive offshore jurisdictions in the world due to its competitive legislation, that ensures investor confidentiality and privacy.
International Business Company
A Seychelles Internation Business Company is a tax-free corporation designed for engagement in all forms of international business, with no reporting and minimum record-keeping requirements, and comprehensive confidentiality features. Seychelles IBC is similar to the most popular international business company, the BVI IBC, and in some respects even exceeds the benchmark model of the offshore corporation. IBCs also do not require more than one director, who can be of any nationality and a resident of any country.
- One director and one shareholder are allowed (the director and shareholder can be the same person). However, the directors do not have to be shareholders and both positions can be held by a natural person or corporate entity.
- There are no minimum or maximum capital requirements for a Seychelles company
- Shares can be issued with or without Par Value
- Shares are issued in Registered form only, Bearer shares are no longer permitted
Euro Company Formations can incorporate your company in Seychelles within 5 days once we have received all pertinent information.
For more information on incorporating a company in Seychelles please click here.
For more information on incorporating an offshore company in any of the locations covered in this article please contact the Euro Company Formations team today. Call us at + 353 (0) 1 6461627 or fill out our contact form.Contact US