Offshore companies or International Business Companies (also known as IBCs) are ‘distinct legal entities’ – what this means is that they can be treated to all intents and purposes like an individual.
This means they can do business and be taxed for example, in fact they can do pretty much everything apart from have feelings or be loved!
But what’s the point of an offshore company?
Well, residents of high tax countries such as America of the United Kingdom for example can sometimes use an offshore company structure and route their income or profits through it to reduce their own personal taxation for example.
The reason the company is established in an ‘offshore’ jurisdiction is because such locations are low or no tax, and as long as the company in question does not enter into any business in the jurisdiction it is located in, it can avoid most or even all forms of local taxation.
There are actually five main reasons why you should establish an offshore company.
1) To Reduce Tax
An offshore company can structured in such a way and be used to reduce or even negate an individual or business’s taxation burden. It depends on the nation you are tax resident in and the way an offshore company is structured as to how well you can legally work your tax situation, but tax reduction is the number one reason for establishing an offshore company.
Offshore incorporation service providers can look at an individual’s set of circumstances and advise best how and where to structure an offshore company for maximum benefit and gain.
2) Simplification of Company Operation
Depending on the type of business you will be doing through your offshore company and the jurisdiction you favour for incorporation, the burden of everything from account auditing and the filing of records etc. , is likely to be significantly reduced which reduces overheads and it also reduces the amount of time and energy one would usually invest in such tiresome activities.
3) Reduced Reporting Requirements
Not only can you simplify your overall operations structure through the use of an offshore company, there are often far less requirement to file information relating to those involved with the company together with the company’s financial arrangements etc.
4) Asset Protection
An offshore company can be used together with an offshore trust for example to enable an individual to protect their assets whilst retaining a certain degree of control over the way their affairs are managed. For example, by placing certain assets within an offshore company structure and then placing the shares of the company within a trust, a businessperson can be actively involved in the offshore company and direct the management of their assets whilst remaining one step removed from them thus gaining maximum asset protection advantage.
5) Increased Confidentiality and Anonymity
Finally, it is possible to establish an offshore company and use nominee directors for example and it is certainly possible to keep the names and details of the underlying principal of the company out of key public documentation thus ensuring maximum confidentiality and anonymity are achieved.
In conclusion, there are many valid reasons for the use of an offshore company structure – please note however that not everyone’s circumstances mean they can benefit from one and what’s more, it is imperative to take professional advice before incorporation to ensure your actions are legal and the jurisdiction you have chosen is well regulated and respected.
Rhiannon Williamson writes about offshore tax planning and international living if you want more information about offshore company formation check out her website http://www.shelteroffshore.com/