An offshore company also referred to as a nonresident company is a firm that is incorporated in a jurisdiction foreign to that in which it will be operating. The international business company (IBC) is the most frequently used structure for offshore companies. Entrepreneurs that establish companies offshore often do so for privacy, asset protection, tax savings and reduced incorporation fees offered by various nations often specifically to attract foreign investors. Countries commonly used by American firms when establishing offshore companies are Panama, Belize, New Zealand, Isle of Man, Dubai, Cyprus, Hong Kong, the Bahamas, Jersey and Guernsey. Offshore establishment procedures will differ depending on the jurisdiction of incorporation.
Register your articles of incorporation also referred to as articles of association with the appropriate agency. The articles of incorporation detail the name, location, mission, general operation and structure of the company. Memorandums and bylaws, giving further details about the governmental structure of the company, may also be required. Articles are to be signed in the presence of a notary who will authenticate the documents; some nations require the use of an attorney for this step. Find out the details of the procedures for the nation in which you are incorporating.
Register for taxes. Most nations require companies to file for federal taxes with either a department of revenue or a department of taxation. As with the previous step, the requirements and procedures will vary according to jurisdiction. The initial registration for taxes is generally free of charge in most jurisdictions. Some nations have minimal and sometimes no tax requirements for companies, which makes them attractive for entrepreneurs establishing offshore companies.
Register with the municipality in the offshore jurisdiction of incorporation. It is usually a requirement for new companies to submit some form of registration to the local register or appointed agency designated to handle business registrations, in the state or province that the company is incorporated in. A business license or other form of certification is usually issued upon registration. Inquire about registration requirements with the local government in the nation of incorporation.
Register your company in the jurisdiction it will operate within. Once your business is established in the foreign jurisdiction offshore, it must be registered in the jurisdiction it will be operating in your domestic nation’s state jurisdiction. This is referred to as filing a foreign business registration.
Maintain your status in the incorporating country. Once you have established your business in the overseas jurisdiction, you must adhere to any tax or other annual registration or filing requirements of that jurisdiction to remain in good standing. Failure to remain in good standing with the nation of incorporation will invalidate your company, and your company’s official status will be lost.