Offshore Companies in 2024: What Are They for and How to Register

Why register an offshore company? Why do offshore companies remain popular among global businesspersons and wealthy citizens? What is the procedure for registering such companies in the era of transparency? Is offshore company formation cheap?

Offshore Companies in 2024: What Are They for and How to Register

The answers to these questions are of interest to many people. And today, we will try to understand them with the help of offshore industry experts from International Wealth.

Offshore company and its advantages in 2024

An offshore company is a legal entity registered in a country or a special zone with preferential corporate legislation, which is appropriately called an offshore jurisdiction.

The legislation of offshore countries implies such benefits and opportunities for foreign investors and entrepreneurs:

  • simplification of filing and maintaining accounting reports
  • low taxes or even zero tax rates
  • free business management from any part of the world
  • owner privacy
  • possibility to use professional officers’ service, etc.

Nowadays, almost every state is interested in attracting foreign capital, therefore, elements of offshore legislation are present even in such respectable countries as the USA and Great Britain.

How legal are offshore companies?

Nowadays, global regulators seek to equate offshore companies in terms of obligations and rights with local business structures, adjust taxes to the maximum without exemptions and discounts, and oblige them to inform the authorities about the beneficial owners and assets they own. This trend is called deoffshorization.

However, this did not change the rules of the game much. Offshore companies can pay no taxes on profits from foreign sources and freely and legally use professional officers and shareholders. And the company owners, in turn, can protect themselves and their business from foreign courts while maintaining the status of an international company from the trustworthy category.

The exception concerns several offshore territories blacklisted by the FATF and the OECD, with which large European banks do not work. However, the very definition of an offshore company is not illegal. Offshore company formation does not violate the laws of any country and expands the opportunities for an entrepreneur in the geography of activity.

What are the purposes of registering offshore companies?

What is the offshore company for? Registration of such a company allows you to solve the following tasks:

  • business entry into the international market
  • management of foreign assets (real estate, investments, etc.)
  • export-import operations
  • cooperation with international partners
  • holding company registration
  • protection of property rights
  • capital protection
  • legacy setup
  • reduction of the tax burden
  • privacy protection
  • access to foreign resources
  • risk diversification by distributing assets, etc.

There are several legal forms available for offshore company registration. Each option is configured to solve specific tasks and can be the right choice in each specific situation:

  • international business company
  • limited liability company
  • limited liability partnership
  • offshore investment fund
  • trust
  • holding
  • offshore bank
  • and others.

The most common forms of offshore companies are LLC (Limited Liability Company), IBC (International Business Company), and LTD (Limited Company).

How to register an offshore company

How is an offshore company registered? How long does it take to register an offshore company? Is the personal presence of the founder in the country of incorporation mandatory? International Wealth experts explained the stages of incorporation of an international business structure abroad for non-resident founders.

Step 1 - choosing a country for registering an offshore company

Where is the best place to register an offshore company? It depends on the purpose of the entrepreneur or private investor. Nowadays, many jurisdictions offer the opportunity to open an offshore company on favorable terms.

To make the right choice and not harm your business, it is better to analyze and take into account all possible risks, considering the scope of activity and legislative norms. Here are some examples:

  • If your goal is to trade with China, look to Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • If you are entering the American market, explore the Caribbean, as well as Panama and Costa Rica.
  • For those who need to reliably protect assets from outside encroachment, including from foreign creditors, relatives, and courts, companies in Nevis or Belize should be considered.
  • A financial startup will do well in the UK, Ireland, and Luxembourg.

Step 2 - documents for an offshore company

When the country of incorporation is selected, the administration and preparation procedure begin. It includes:

  • choice of company name in accordance with the rules of the country of incorporation
  • renting an office, which in some jurisdictions can be virtual
  • search for a registered agent, without which it will not be possible to open an offshore company
  • preparation of documents for the establishment of a business and their transfer to the registrar of companies
  • business setup, including accounting and reporting (if these rules apply).

It is also necessary to have a bank account, without which it is impossible to conduct business offshore or in a foreign country. In this situation, you need to carefully study the rates and choose the financial institution that suits you.

Step 3 - pay expenses

How much it costs to open an offshore company depends on the jurisdiction and the range of services:

  • There are conditionally cheap offshore companies, and there are those in which it will take thousands of dollars to register a company, excluding the authorized capital. Some countries have annual duty requirements.
  • Depending on the type of business, you may need a license, the renewal of which also requires financial expenses (banking, insurance, gambling).
  • The initial costs of registering a company offshore depend on substance requirements: the need to rent an office, hire employees, the requirement for a bank account, etc.
Offshore companies in the age of transparency are by no means a cheap undertaking. That is why offshore companies need to be planned no less carefully than all other business processes.

The best option for planning, choosing a jurisdiction, and directly opening a company would be to turn to professionals such as International Wealth. The experts of this company have extensive experience and will help you at all stages of opening your offshore business.