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Lesser known offshore jurisdictions

A brief overview of lesser-known offshore jurisdictions – tax havens

An offshore jurisdiction is a low or no-tax country with laws that with financial privacy and minimise regulatory interference for corporations.

An offshore tax haven also referred to as offshore jurisdictions specialise in financial, legal and business services to corporations

Bahrain

An island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and one that combines low taxation with strict banking secrecy.

There is no corporate tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax, no exchange controls and no limitations on repatriation of funds.

Curacao

Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island, is known as an offshore financial center.

Estonia

The most advanced of all the former Soviet states, whilst other jurisdictions tax a company on its profits, Estonia only taxes on distribution of profits. It is an EU country with public records of company details, which makes bank account opening a lot easier.

Labuan

An autonomous province of Malaysia, Labuan is home to one of the few  jurisdictions with legislation specifically about holding companies.

Maldives

There is no corporate tax here and only a single tax treaty with India.

Nauru

A Pacific island northeast of Australia, is the world’s smallest independent republic, with an area of about eight square miles and a population of under 10,000.

Niue

Niue is a small, self-governing state in free association with New Zealand and its offshore legislation was founded in 1994, same year as the Seychelles.

Samoa

Samoa is an independent group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and New Zealand.

The legislation is written in a way that makes it especially useful for asset protection stemming from Section 228 of the International Companies Act, which states how the company’s assets may be distributed in the case of a Specified Event. This can be anything, including a foreign court order or confiscation.

St Helena and Ascension Island

St Helena and Ascension Island has been amongst the very few places on earth where it has not been possible to incorporate a company. This has just changed, the Legislative Council has passed a Companies Ordinance and a Companies Registry has been established in Jamestown, St Helena from June 2020

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