Types of Offshore Companies

“Offshore”: A DefinitionVery Low or Zero Tax Offshore Companies The LLC or LLP Type of Companies Incorporated in Tax Advantageous Onshore Jurisdictions

As terms the words ‘offshore business’ and ‘offshore company’ have no precise legal, tax or general business meaning, as the word ‘offshore’ often means nothing more than anywhere other than the place of physical location of the person using the word (i.e. overseas). We use the words offshore business and offshore company as terms of definition in connection with matters such as the structuring of international business and family wealth management or tax planning. Typically, our clients utilise the following types of offshore companies to structure international business and for tax planning:


Very low or zero tax offshore companies refer to, for example, the differing types of offshore companies that can be formed in offshore company formation centres such as the BVI or British Virgin Islands, Belize or the Seychelles or Brunei. Companies incorporated in jurisdictions which offer both offshore companies and onshore companies and which may benefit from favourable tax regulation and / or special offshore company regimes. For example Hong-Kong company


The LLC or Limited Liability Company and the LLP or Limited Liability Partnership type of company, are a particular class of company used for offshore business, international business and tax planning because they have the advantage of limited liability but the flow-through characteristics of a partnership for tax purposes. By this, we mean that profits are divided amongst the members, in proportion to their respective holdings, and are taxed in their hands. In some circumstances, if all the members or partners are non-tax resident in the domicile of the LLC or LLP company and no business is undertaken in that country, neither the LLC or LLP company nor the members or partners will be subject to tax in the company’s country of establishment. Such companies are said to be “fiscally transparent” and examples include US LLCs, the Isle of Man LLC and the UK LLP.


Companies incorporated in the many onshore countries which have tax regimes that are by statute tax advantageous for specific international purposes.
The world of offshore is more complex than the black-and-white tax world inhabited by the media; offshore business consists not only of tax havens but also of onshore high tax countries competing fiercely to attract international companies and individuals with all manner of tax planning regulations and opportunities.

These tax advantageous regulations are used for a wide variety of tax planning business, such as:

  • Double tax treaty planning relating to dividends, interest and royalty payment
  • The establishment of holding, international headquarter treasury and finance operations
  • Specialist business, for example, leasing
  • Personal and family wealth management and tax planning

Key information you may need to know

  • How long does it take to set up an offshore company and bank account?
  • What are the costs?
  • Where should I incorporate?
  • Is my privacy protected?
  • How do I proceed?

How long does it take to set up an offshore company and bank account?

International Business Companies can usually be set up within two working days on condition of receipt of all the required information from clients.
Providing we have all the required documentation, we can open a bank account in certain jurisdictions within 48 hours. Bank accounts in Europe may take as long as three weeks.

What are the costs?

Company formation fees, recurring annual fees, and administration costs vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Contact us for pricing.

Where should I incorporate?

Most offshore jurisdictions are free from foreign exchange controls and have introduced company legislation to cater for a diverse range of international business requirements. It is important to select a jurisdiction that is well-suited to your specific corporate and personal needs. Contact an office for a Free Consultation on which jurisdiction is best for your requirements or visit our Jurisdictions centre to view the jurisdictions on offer.

Is my privacy protected?

Whilst we respect and honour the confidentiality of our corporate clients, we are committed to carry out a thorough due diligence of both our clients’ identities and the nature of their business. Our clients must disclose to us both the reason for setting up an offshore entity and the type of business the offshore entity is likely to conduct. We are obliged to monitor and ensure that the activities of the offshore entity do not breach any international regulations, and our clients are required to execute management agreements with Valsen. This formal approach to due diligence benefits all parties.

Who will maintain the offshore structure?

We have a network of partners in most major financial centres and can undertake a client’s company administration in accordance with corporate requirements. In addition, we can arrange accounting, audit and legal services, provide local management and assist clients in obtaining a licence from the regulatory authorities.

How do I proceed?

Use our ordering facilities to instruct us to set up the solution and put administration and support services in place. Choose the option that suits you best:

1. Speak to a consultant

Tell us a little about your requirements or the information you require and a consultant will contact you directly to discuss and establish the best solution to meet the challenge of your particular situation.

2. Order by fax or mail

If you are an existing client, an intermediary, or a new client who has received the appropriate advice, you can place your order by fax or mail by downloading the Application Form and faxing or mailing it to the appropriate office.


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