The popular belief has it, offshore businesses are something illegal, immoral (redacted), or fattening (redacted). The joke may be lame and stale, but the fact remains. Most people having no business with the offshore industry associate offshore jurisdictions with money laundering or worse. They have a valid excuse, the offshore country concept is still vague and not firmly set in precise legal terms. It is small wonder that offshore country and offshore jurisdiction lists are so numerous and varying. While some interpret offshore in the broadest sense as something located abroad, be it a territory, a country, or a jurisdiction, the others limit the term to specific locations like the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, or Bermuda – you name it.
Let’s clear the air. Offshore indeed means something located outside your mother country. Most often, these are regions or districts with legal and tax environments different from the ones you have back home. The key insight is these environments are by contrast a lot more beneficial for doing business, banking, and investing thus the temptation to go offshore is high for both HNWIs and legal entities. Be it for asset protection, tax avoidance, or to benefit from a more favorable legislation, setting up an offshore company or moving your business offshore is perfectly legal unless it is done to pursue illicit goals.
In terms of benefits to enjoy when planning to start their offshore business, entrepreneurs typically go for favorable taxes, beneficial laws, and geographical reach. Classic offshore countries try to woo business people and investors with zero income taxes combined with absolute confidentiality, while in midshores with their tempting reduced or low taxes you are obliged to pay certain taxes and submit reporting documents as provided for by the local laws. Mind that as of today multiple offshore jurisdictions are amending their laws and tax regimes to comply with the latest EU and OECD requirements. To stay up to date with the recent developments, the International Wealth industry pros recommend you talk to experienced consultants before considering any decisive moves in an offshore direction.
Local legal provisions are subject to change as well and this needs further exploration on your part. As unstable as this world may seem to you, one thing is sure to remain constant. If you put your foot down to settle on a tropical island to set up a company, tomorrow or at some distant point in future, you will still find it on the same spot, with the same idyllic ocean breeze, welcoming coastal bars with their Pina Colladas, and the eternal moon sinking below the horizon.
On a practical side, classic offshore zones like the ones in the Caribbean offer no or low taxes on international profits, provided the offshore company in question does not operate in its offshore incorporation jurisdiction, quick and easy set up procedures, minimum red tape, and English as an administrative language.
Depending on classification parameters, the general number of offshore zones in the world ranges from 40+ (for “pure” offshore jurisdictions) to 100+ (where we add midshores to the list). Regardless of the tax amounts their residents have to pay, all such residents enjoy the highest confidentiality, as the number of persons and/or bodies that the ownership data shall be disclosed to is highly limited.
With their low or non-existent taxes on international profit, absence of currency control, high confidentiality for beneficial owners, access to top banks globally, unrivaled asset protection, and minimum or no reporting requirements, benefits of classic offshore jurisdictions are undeniable. Yet, as with everything else in this world, you need to play it safe. FYI: don’t forget to check whether your offshore country or jurisdiction of choice is blacklisted by any states and what the reasons therefor are.
Beware, black and white lists vary depending on a particular state or supranational body like FATF (OECD structure), the EU, or the US. If unsure whether you have the point with it, you are welcome to consult the seasoned International Wealth industry lawyers who are here 24/7 to resolve your issues and overcome any challenges you may face along the way. NB: the lists drawn up and published by the IMF, the FATF, and the EU are considered the most informative and you’d better be guided by them.
When used properly and according to the applicable laws, offshore companies are a superb tool to raise your profits and get access to investments or transactions considered illegal or doubtful in your native jurisdiction.
Below you will find the industries to consider in Europe (and beyond) when making plans to set up a business or a company offshore in 2023 and profit therefrom, with offshore jurisdictions considered best to do it in:
- IT – Serbia, Estonia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
- Collective investment schemes – Luxembourg
- Asset protection – Switzerland and most Caribbean offshore jurisdictions
- Crypto services – Switzerland.
Mind that each of them comes with its own strengths and limitations. Known as classic offshore jurisdictions, Saint Kitts and Nevis, together with the BVI boast proven international reputation and good standing coupled with preferential tax treatment for your company, although the British Virgin Islands offering the same privileges come at a higher price. Out of all offshore zones, the Marshall Islands appear to be the jurisdiction with the speediest company incorporation, while Panama has the widest global connections.
If you want your future offshore company to enjoy a high level of trust on the part of international and supranational regulatory authorities and banking institutions, home in on onshore and midshore zones rather than offshore jurisdictions.
It is true that starting a business there is bound with greater hurdles but the resulting benefits are worth your while. Apart from their reasonable prices, Switzerland, Panama, the United Kingdom, Montenegro, Singapore, Serbia, and Cyprus come with highly beneficial taxation terms provided you stay in line with your reporting. Combined with high living standards they are a tempting option to consider when thinking over the incorporation jurisdiction for your company.
With an endless universe of options, listing them all in one go is next to impossible. For us to better understand your needs and aspirations, including the ones in business, you are welcome to contact the International Wealth consultants and book your free initial consultation with the industry’s best. Feel free to call or email us using the contact info on the corporate website. Alternatively, you may use any of our online messengers to secure a quick response.