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What is an offshore company
Сряда, 02 Април 2014г. 00:00ч.
What is an offshore company 4.4 out of 5 based on 5 votes.

offshore company incorporationThere are different types of companies. An offshore company is a body corporate formed in an offshore financial center or tax haven and governed by specific legislation that ensures full exemption from taxes, except a government fee, and high confidentiality. It is a kind of company specifically created for use by nonresidents only.

International Business Company (IBC) is the most commonly used type of an offshore company that exists almost in all offshore jurisdictions, though it can have other names.

A body corporate must meet certain requirements to be allowed to establish itself as an offshore company. For that reason such a company cannot:

  • carry out its business with legal entities or individuals resident in the country of  its incorporation
  • hold an interest in real property located in the country of its incorporation
  • hold bonds, shares or other kinds of securities in any local companies incorporated in accordance with the ordinary Companies Act.

Accounting, legal advice, trust services and other services are generally exempt from this prohibition to make possible proper maintenance and administration of offshore companies.

As for banking services, offshore companies can only open accounts with offshore banks but not those providing their services in the local market.

Offshore companies are subject to the legal limitations that do not usually allow them to have a fixed establishment in the country of incorporation. Due to this they are mainly used to carry out business that is not bound to a concrete location. It may be brokerage in goods or administration of intellectual property. And they are often used for protection of assets and as holding companies because in many offshore companies filing of annual reports and accounts is not required.

You should not mix up offshore companies with those tax exempt or subject to low taxes. There are some jurisdictions such as Singapore that use territorial tax system. It means that resident and nonresident legal entities and individuals are only taxed on their income earned within the territory of that country, and profits gained overseas are exempt from taxes. Hence, a company that only carries out its activities abroad may not be taxed on its business.

Some of those jurisdictions are called offshore financial centers as they were designated as such by specialized institutions, for instance the International Monetary Fund.

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