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Offshore Corporation Formation

Jun 4, 2008
A quick internet search will yield you many different companies available to provide offshore company formation services for you. Typically you will find offshore service packages that bundle together these company formation services along with any offshore bank accounts or corporate documents you will require to prove your company is properly registered.

When thinking of hiring an offshore services company to perform your offshore company formation you will find two types of website in your searches. The first kind of site is a lead reseller or "corporation mill". The second type of site is an actual law firm. Resellers will usually have many different packages from every country you can think of. A law firm will only sell packages for countries where they are licensed to do business which in general is only one country. Using the services of a lawyer may cause you to pay a higher price for your package but it is much safer and more private to utilize a lawyer.

After you have decided on a law firm the first step to forming your company is to appoint a registered agent in the country where the company is to be formed. An address for the registered agent will also be required to file the paperwork correctly with the public registry. A law firm can provide you with a registered agent during the formation process if you do not have one of your own.

Setting up an offshore company can be as fast as 24 hours to a few weeks, depending on what country the offshore company is to be formed. Structuring an International Business Company or IBC is usually expected to cost a lot, considering that it entails building or transferring a whole company. Quite the opposite, you only have to pay a fee of around US$1000 or more, which is quite surprising and very appealing.

Offshore companies typically are not subject to the same laws and regulations for reporting that onshore companies are and in that sense are easier and cheaper to manage. In tax havens you have to commit a fairly major crime for the courts to break the strong banking secrecy laws in place that are almost the only way someone could determine who the owner of the company was. If the offshore company was registered in bearer share form the only way to determine the owner of the company would be to try to find out who the beneficiary of the company bank account was which is no easy task itself.

There are no paid in capital requirements to form an offshore company in many jurisdictions (Panama is a good example, Switzerland is not). If the company goes into debt then the shareholders of the company are on the hook to alleviate this debt.

Setting up and maintaining an offshore company is a relatively pain free experience in many juridictions that have laws specifically geared to attract foreign investment. Some jurisdictions offer rock solid privacy protection and strict banking secrecy laws making it difficult to understand who actually controls the company. This offers you a great opportunity to create financial flexibility and privacy in your life.
About the Author
Learn more about forming an offshore company available at the author's panama law firm website.
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