Belize has developed as an offshore jurisdiction following the British Virgin Island model of lower costs and flexible legislation to attract investors. Belizean international business corporations (IBCs) pay no taxes and are for the most part free of trade restrictions such as exchange control, trade licensing and public disclosure requirements in investors’ home countries.
Local law stipulates that a company must maintain a registered office address within Belize and must also have a Belize resident as registered agent, though incorporation service providers generally provide these in their domiciliary service fees.
Government website: www.governmentofbelize.gov.bz
Labuan is a region in Malaysia with special tax status and its own offshore financial services authority. It is considered a credible location in Asia with less bureaucracy than Hong Kong. If management and control are carried out in Labuan, a company can obtain a certificate of tax residence from the inland revenue board of Malaysia.
Labuan offers banking, IBC formation, captive insurance companies, a new international financial exchange and Islamic banking. IBCs can be formed in three days, and the island offers strong privacy incentives.
Registrar’s website: www.lfsa.gov.my
Cyprus is an independent sovereign republic situated in the northeastern basin of the Mediterranean sea. It is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia. Due to double-taxation treaties with 38 countries, Cyprus makes a cost-effective choice for trading companies. The jurisdiction is particularly beneficial for trade with certain Eastern European countries and Russia.
There is no withholding tax payable on dividends, interest or royalty payments for Cyprus-incorporated companies, but there is a 10% tax on declared corporate profit in the country. The owner of a Cypriot offshore company may remain anonymous in his or her home country.
Government website: www.cyprus.gov.cy
The Cook Islands markets itself as a safe and secure environment in which to do business. A well-educated, English-speaking workforce and a soundly regulated financial system allow the Cooks’ offshore sector to compete strongly with other jurisdictions. The local registrar’s office can provide trust and company registrations within one working day. In addition, there is a reasonably well-developed financial infrastructure to service the offshore industry.
There are three domestic and five international banks licensed to operate in the Cook Islands. Offshore products offered include international companies, limited liability companies, international partnerships and international trusts.
Registrar’s website: www.fsc.gov.ck