Generally speaking, a tax haven is a jurisdiction in which taxes are either applied at a low rate or not at all. Well-known examples of tax haven jurisdictions include Panama, Belize, the Seychelles, the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man and Hong Kong. Very often, such territories are also called offshores, with companies registered under these jurisdictions described as offshore companies.
It is widely recognised that in the modern, dynamic business environment, with most countries collaborating to create an intergovernmental tax-monitoring system, it is becoming more and more difficult to achieve your corporate and personal goals. Tax havens provide the perfect environment and the right tools to create a unique, functional corporate structure that suits your needs.
Features and advantages of offshore companies
Reducing the volume of applied taxes and securing confidentiality aren’t the only advantages of setting up an offshore company in a tax haven. Although tax planning is one of the major advantages offered by offshore companies, the chance to greatly reduce business expenses and maintenance costs is also a very attractive benefit.
Below you will find the six main benefits of incorporating an offshore company in one the tax havens listed here:
Incorporating a company in tax haven provides a legal means to reduce the corporate taxes levied, and this is usually one of the main arguments for relocating your business to an offshore. Non-resident companies can enjoy a low-tax regime depending on the jurisdiction of incorporation. Bear in mind that international tax regulations can be extremely complex nowadays, and it is essential to consult with an experienced tax specialist. It is vital to ensure that there are no conflicts with corporate tax obligations in the jurisdiction where the business actually operates.
In some tax haven jurisdictions, non-resident companies are not obliged to make public any financial documentation or private information relating to directors and shareholders. Most offshore jurisdictions will not pass on any of this information to third parties, including other countries, unless the individual is suspected of involvement in criminal activity.
Usually, there are no strict requirements or obligations regarding company management, so the directors and executive staff may make decisions remotely, using power of attorney or nominee services. The need for staff and physical premises may be met by the elegant and cost-effective solution of virtual office services.
Many offshore jurisdictions can be used as valuable corporate tools for asset protection. Typically, offshore legal entities are used for holding intellectual property rights or real estate investments.
Comparing onshore and offshore jurisdictions, offshores usually offer a faster and more straightforward company incorporation procedure. Annual maintenance is usually easier and cheaper as well, making company registration and maintenance much more affordable.
Lower minimum share capital requirements
Incorporating an offshore company usually requires only a very small amount of share capital, and in certain tax haven jurisdictions there are no capital requirements at all, allowing you to minimise the cost of incorporation.