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Top Offshore: Make An Informed Choice Of Jurisdiction

Aug 1, 2008
Generally top offshore choices are made on the basis of confidentiality, cost, ease of communication, complexity of the incorporation e.g. trusts, protected cell companies, resident companies or simple IBCs, and speed of response.

There are different types of jurisdictions:

1. Well established, full service, expensive, can handle complex incorporations, require extensive Know Your Client due diligence, and are manned by very experienced professionals. e.g. Switzerland, Guernsey.

2. Full service, focused on international business companies, with experienced professionals, require extensive Know Your Client due diligence, but without the glamour of a Switzerland, but not so expensive. e.g. British Virgin Islands [BVI].

3. Established only in the last 15 years with extensive tax treaties with selected countries, less extensive KYC due diligence, can handle complex incorporations but have less experience than their European counterparts, are less formal and less expensive. e.g. Mauritius.

4. Established in the last 10 years, simple KYC documentation, focused on International Business Companies [IBC], have better confidentiality norms because are not so big and do not have disclosure treaties with the US or EU. e.g. Seychelles

A lot though depends on what you are going to use the company for! Below is a summary of the different types of jurisdictions:

1. Switzerland: Old, well established, good for complex transactions, experienced service providers, good for the wealthy, very expensive.

2. Guernsey: Well established, focus on financial services companies, Know Your Client [KYC] documentation is complex. Expensive but easily accessible for the old world clients.

3. Mauritius & British Virgin Islands [BVI]: Medium costs, full service, Mauritius has double tax treaty advantages, and simpler KYC documents.

4. Seychelles: Focused on simple International Business Companies, inexpensive, simple to form a company, quick.

But which kind of company do you need? Do you want to invest in India or China or a specific country? Or is it for trading overseas? Or another reason?

You will need to examine why do you want an offshroe incorporation? What is your type of activity. Do you want a full service jurisdiction or one that is cheap. And what about communication ease? How comfortable are you with the documentation?

Making a choice for your top offshore jurisdiction is dependent on various factors as also anonymity. Mauritius and Seychelles have followed in Switzerland's footsteps and made it a criminal offense to disclose client information to anyone.

However, since 9/11, both the US and EU have put severe pressure on most of the popular jurisdictions to disclose information. British Virgin Islands [BVI] has signed a comprehensive treaty and Mauritius a water down version. In any case both Seychelles and Mauritius are far enough away and not very important to either the EU or the US at this time.

I recommend Seychelles as the top offshore jurisdiction for most of the simple cases and Mauritius for the more complicated requirements. However if you are more comfortable with the 'Old World' tax havens, then the top offshore jurisdictions are Switzerland for the complicated cases and BVI for the simple ones.
About the Author
Ramapati Singhania specializes in creating and managing web businesses. His latest website http://www.incorporation-offshore-saves-wealth.com focuses on helping you to incorporate offshore companies in Seychelles, Mauritius and BVI. You can also visit his blog, http://www.ramapatisinghania.com
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