What is an Offshore company?
An offshore company is also known as an International Business Company. It may be defined as a company that is incorporated in a jurisdiction other than that where is performs it’s primary operations. Jurisdictions which offer offshore company formation typically have very low or no tax requirements and are mostly used for international trading purposes.
Offshore companies have the following characteristics:
- They should be registered as an entity within the jurisdiction
- The investors or the company incorporators are non resident in the jurisdiction
- More importantly the company should not have trade transactions within the jurisdiction of incorporation
What is an offshore company typically used for?
Offshore companies are used for but not limited to the following: Trading, investing, property and asset holding, estate and inheritance structures, financing, stock exchange listing, acquisition transactions and international tax planning.
What is a shelf company and an incorporated company?
A shelf company is defined as one that is already formed and ready and can be purchased ‘off the shelf’ along with its required legal documentation. In this case the name and purpose of the company are already pre defined.
The benefits of purchasing an off the shelf company include:
- Reduction in the time it would take to create a new corporation.
- The allowance of contract bidding (some jurisdictions require a fixed business age to allow this functionality).
- The appearance of corporate longevity.
An incorporated company on the other hand is customized according to the customers needs. Right from the name of the company to the purpose of business.
Why should I set up an offshore company?
There are many advantages of setting up an offshore company:
- Offshore companies are easy to form and dissolve
- They do not have overly complicated accounting and audit requirements
- They allow you access to the capital earned
- They have a strong legal framework that can be used
What do you mean by certificate of incumbency?
The certificate of incumbency lists the names of the officers of the company including register of address.
Why should I use Offshore Direct to form my offshore company?
Offshore Direct have been in the offshore and company formation business for over two decades.
Relax! You are in safe hands. We know what we are doing.
Quick Formations and Checkout
Average company formation time is 24 hours depending on your timezone. That’s quick.
Select your jurisdiction; add your extras and checkout with one simple click. Hassle free.
We have extensively researched our competitors and we offer one of the most competitive prices in the industry.
We do not tie you to any company formation packages, but allow you to tailor the products and services you require when registering a business – with no hidden charges
Hit us with any questions you may have for the lifetime of your company. We offer free customer support services.
Which jurisdiction should I choose for my company?
Offshore Direct primarily deals with the following countries: Belize, BVI, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Seychelles, UAE and Hong Kong. We offer other jurisdictions as well, please email us for any specific requirements.
The four main characteristics that you should consider while forming an offshore company are as follows:
- reliable means of communication;
- political and economical stability;
- good reputation;
- sophisticated corporate laws;
Please get in touch with us to discuss the best option for you.
Why are your fees lower than those of your competitors?
Having our own offices in most of the jurisdictions where we provide our services, we are able to offer straight-forward and competitive prices, thus we can avoid any intermediaries.
Does my company have to provide accounts to any tax authority?
Generally for an offshore company it is not mandatory to produce yearly accounts and have them audited although this depends on the jurisdiction that you choose. For example if you choose Hong Kong it is mandatory to produce yearly accounts although an offshore company formed in Belize does not require the accounts. However it is a requirement to maintain records.
Do I need to go to travel to an offshore jurisdiction to form my company?
One of the many advantages of an offshore company is that you are not required to travel and be present in the jurisdiction of your choice. All the company incorporation can be done via online correspondence.
How long does it take to incorporate an offshore company?
Typically an offshore company can be formed in 1-2 working days but this depends on the choice of the jurisdiction. Once the company is incorporated it will take between 5 – 6 working days to receive your company documentation. You can go through the detailed FAQs on each jurisdiction on the website.
Can I choose the name of my company?
Yes, It is even recommended that you do so. On our application form you are asked to insert three company names, in order of your preference. We will then check with the Company Registry of the offshore jurisdiction if those names are available for incorporation. If not, we shall send you some alternative names.
Who is the shareholder of a company?
A shareholder can be an individual or a company. A shareholder is a person that has ownership of the company via a share certificate.
Who is the director of a company?
The director is the person responsible for the management of the company. He will sign any business contracts, account opening forms etc. Directors are elected by the shareholders. A company can have one or several directors. The director can be an individual or a company.
What is a nominee director?
The nominee director service is used to ensure the highest degree of privacy and confidentiality, as the name of the director will appear in the corporate documents, in any business contract and eventually in the jurisdiction’s business register.
Upon appointment of a nominee director, a Nominee Service Agreement will be signed between the client and the nominee. It will guarantee the client that the nominee can only act or sign documents upon the client’s request and with the client’s prior approval. Professional directors provided by Offshore Direct work with the highest level of integrity and confidentiality.
What is a nominee shareholder?
The nominee shareholder is appointed in order to shield the real owner of the company from being publicly associated with the ownership of that company.
Upon appointment of a nominee shareholder, a Nominee Service Agreement (declaration of trust) will be signed between the client and the nominee.
Nominee shareholders provided by Offshore Direct work with the highest level of integrity and confidentiality.
What is the difference between an attorney and a beneficial owner?
The beneficial owner is a person who owns the business. However a beneficial owner can decide to have someone else to manage the day to day operations of his business and a power of attorney is issued in favor of the person who is managing the business on a day to day basis. He is referred to as the attorney.
Can the same person be a shareholder of the company and act as its director at the same time?
Yes. In most jurisdictions it is possible (and common) that the same person acts as shareholder and director of the company.
When do I have to pay my company’s yearly fees (Renewal Fees)?
You will have to pay the company renewal fees annually based on the company date of incorporation.
Do I have to pay taxes on profit or interest earned by my company?
Most of the jurisdictions do not impose any tax on profits made by the company. Even if they do impose a tax it is relatively very low. This criteria again depends on the jurisdiction; For example; a company formed in Hong Kong will only charge tax on profits made within the country.
Who should use an offshore company?
An offshore company may be of interest to a great number of people and it may be used for various activities:
- Ecommerce websites:
- International business:
- Holding intellectual property rights:
- For the custody of movable and immovable property:
- For inheritance purposes:
What purposes can an offshore company be used for?
- To begin a business activity of your choice without having to deal with a complicated setup and infrastructure.
- Offshore companies work perfectly for e commerce websites. It is ideal for people who do business online to take advantage of the tax free benefits offshore jurisdictions have to offer.
- It is easier to carry out a consultancy business through an offshore company as the management criteria is easier.
- International trade and business can be easily carried out via an offshore company. It will make handling of purchases and sales easier.
- Any kind of intellectual property right (a patent or trade mark) may be registered in the name of an offshore company. The company may also buy or sell this type of right. It may also grant rights of use to third parties against payments.
- Offshore companies are used to hold both movable property (such as yachts) and immovable property (such as houses and buildings). In addition to confidentiality, the benefits and advantages they offer include exemption from certain types of taxes (e.g. inheritance tax).
- An offshore firm that always stays afloat (provided all costs associated with running it are paid) may, in some countries, be used as a means of avoiding inheritance tax laws
- Offshore companies are very often used for share or foreign exchange transactions.
Do I need to be physically present while opening an offshore bank account?
It is not mandatory for you to be physically present while opening an offshore bank account and we can manage this procedure for you. This again depends on the jurisdiction in question.
Does opening an offshore company mean that a bank account will automatically be opened for the company?
No. If you tick the bank account opening option, we shall-in close collaboration with yourself-choose the bank which most suits your needs from among our network of prime banks. The bank will then decide if the account can be opened, depending on how comfortable they are with the nature of your business and the personal information provided by you.
How can I use the funds from my offshore account?
As with any other bank account, the funds of your offshore company bank account will be accessible through credit/debit cards, cheques, Internet banking or withdrawal at the bank.
What is the notarisation and Apostille?
A notarisation means that a notary will check all the documents we issue for your company and that he will confirm their authenticity.
An Apostille is an internationally recognised certification and legalisation of the corporate documents by the government of the jurisdiction where your company has been incorporated.
We highly recommend that you choose this option if you consider opening a bank account or if you need your corporate documents for any legal proceedings (such as concluding a contract, for example).