Cook Islands – Compliance and General Information 2018-12-03T15:59:51+00:00

Cook Islands
Company Formation Services

Incorporating in Cook Islands

General and Compliance Information

Key Corporate Features

General

Type of Company International
Political Stability Good
Common or Civil Law Common
Disclosure of Beneficial Owner No
Migration of Domicile Permitted Yes
Tax on Offshore Profits Nil
Language of Name Latin or other alphabets

Corporate Requirements

Minimum Number of Shareholders / Members One
Minimum Number of Directors / Managers One
Corporate Directors / Managers Permitted Yes
Company Secretary Required Yes
Usual Authorised Capital US$5,000

Local Requirements

Registered Office/Agent Yes
Company Secretary Yes
Local Directors No
Local Meetings No
Government Register of Directors / Managers Yes
Government Register of Shareholders / Members No

Annual Requirements

Annual Return Yes
Submit Accounts No (by resolution)

Recurring Government Costs

Minimum Annual Tax/Licence Fee US$300
Annual Return Filing Fee Nil

Other

Requirement to file annual return Yes

General Information

The Cook Islands comprises a group of 15 islands located in the South Pacific between Tahiti in the east and Samoa and Tonga in the west. The main island of Rarotonga is 3,000 km northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. The Cook Islands consists of two main groups, a southern group of nine “high” islands which are of volcanic origin and the northern group which comprises of six atolls. The majority of the population lives in the southern group.

Population

Total population of the Island group is approximately 19,000. The indigenous population is Polynesian but English is spoken by most of the community.

Political Structure

Great Britain proclaimed a Protectorate over the Cook Islands in 1888 and in 1901; the Islands were ceded to New Zealand. The Cook Islands became fully self-governing in 1965 under the Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964. Since obtaining self-government, the Cook Islanders have retained New Zealand citizenship.
The Government has reaffirmed continuing support and encouragement for the development of Rarotonga as a financial centre.

There are two main political parties; the Democratic Alliance Party and the Cook Islands Party, which between them hold all seats in Parliament. Both parties support the Cook Islands status as an offshore financial centre. Executive authority is vested in Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen’s Representative is appointed upon the advice of the Cook Islands Government. Executive Government lies with a cabinet comprising the Prime Minister and nine other Ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Cook Islands has growing international stature and is a member of the South Pacific Forum, the Asian Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Infrastructure and Economy

The Cook Islands economy is primarily tourism based however there has been a substantial expansion in the offshore industry with the advent of innovative and progressive legislation to facilitate the establishment of a variety of offshore structures including international business companies, offshore banks, offshore insurance companies and wealth preservation trusts.

Air New Zealand operates various flights through Rarotonga to Auckland, Tahiti, Hawaii, Los Angeles and Fiji, which provide direct access to the United Kingdom, USA, South East Asia, Australia as well as Europe. Rarotonga has a satellite international telephone and facsimile system. Direct dialing to Rarotonga is available from most countries. Internet and e-mail access is also freely available.

Language

The official language is English however Cook Islands Maori is spoken widely.

Currency

New Zealand Dollar

Exchange Control

Only in relation to certain dealings in New Zealand Dollars. There are no local restrictions on the movement of funds to or from the Cook Islands in other currencies and funds may be held and business transacted in the Cook Islands in any currency.

Type of Law

Based on English Common Law

Corporate Legislation

The International Companies Act 1981-1982.

Limited Liability Company Act 2008

Cook Islands Company Information
Type of Company for International Trade and Investment

International Business Companies, which may be limited by share or by guarantee, or which may be no liability, unlimited companies and mutual companies

Procedure to Incorporate

Filing of Memorandum of Incorporation with the Registrar of International Companies by a licensed trustee

Restrictions on Trading

Cannot trade within the Cook Islands or undertake the business of banking or insurance unless licensed under the Offshore Banking Act or the Offshore Insurance Act.

Powers of the Company

A Cook Islands International Company has the same powers as a natural person

Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents

English

Shelf Companies Available

Yes

List upon request

Time to Incorporate

Three days

Name Restrictions

Anything identical to or similar to a company already incorporated

Language of Name

The name can be in any language but must be accompanied by a translation in English.

Suffixes to Denote Limited Liability

Limited or Ltd

Disclosure of Beneficisl Ownership to Government Authorities

No

Cook Islands Compliance

Issued Share Capital

There are no minimum requirements

Classes of Shares Permitted

Preference shares, redeemable shares, shares with or without voting rights and shares of no par value

Taxation

International entities including International Companies are exempt from taxation. A fee of US$300 is payable on the registration of the company and US$300 annually thereafter.

Financial Statements

All companies must lodge annual returns accompanied by audited accounts however this latter requirement can be dispensed with by company resolution.

Directors

The minimum number of directors is one. Directors may be either a body corporate or a natural person. They may of any nationality and need not be resident in the Cook Islands.

Company Secretary

A Cook Islands resident secretary must be appointed.

Shareholders

The minimum number of shareholders is one.

Should you require additional information, request a quotation or clarify any related matter, please contact one of our Consultants who will be happy to assist with your enquiries.