An ‘Offshore’ company is simply a corporation or a Limited Liability Company which was registered in a jurisdiction which is not the place of residence of its founders.
It is important that everyone understands that there is no difference between an offshore and an LLC company, as long as the company is registered and operates within the frames of the OECD regulations.
Although International Business Company Formation is not favored by the government, it is completely legal.
What is the future of the offshore industry?
Since the 911 incident, the international crackdown on money laundering has created a divide in the offshore industry, primarily between jurisdictions eager to comply with international standards of anti-laundering regulation and those that are less co-operative. The driving force behind those initiatives, have been influential organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF was established by the G-7 countries in 1989 and is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. As the FATF seek to apply more international pressure, it will become increasingly difficult for the less well-regulated regimes to do business.
Another major issue is the exchange of information, the profile of which has been raised in the current climate. The recently agreed EU Savings Tax Directive will change the face of the offshore industry, although to what extent is somewhat harder to predict. Previously no information was exchanged automatically in Europe unless there were concerns about illegal activities on a bank account. However, with the introduction of the EU Tax Directive, customers living within the EU are likely to be forced to engage with these issues, either by having to pay a withholding tax or agreeing to exchange information.
To this effect, Hong Kong will soon become a much more important jurisdiction for tax planning as it is one of the only respectable and well-regulated “offshore” banking centres which will not be subject to the new EU directive on automatic exchange of information and withholding tax. Hong Kong should also be seriously considered for clients wishing to register an offshore company, as it is one of the few respectable locations in the world that tax on a “Territorial Basis”. Consequently, this means that corporation tax is ONLY charged on profits derived from a trade, profession or business carried on in territory of Hong Kong. Income sourced elsewhere, even if remitted to Hong Kong, is treated as tax free.
Why and When
Should I use an Offshore Company?
Holding portfolios of stocks, bonds and cash
Holding Investments in Subsidiary or Associated Companies
Utilising Double Taxation Treaties
Privacy and Wealth Protection
Personal Service Companies for expatriates and individuals
Property and Land Ownership
Patent, Royalty and Copyright Holding
Stock Market Listings and Capital Raising Exercises
Ship Management + Yacht Owning