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  Professional offshore incorporations and offshore banking services since 1996

 

Company Incorporation
Cook Islands

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We are pleased to provide a summary of the salient features of companies incorporated in the Cook Islands.


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[ BACKGROUND ] [ COMPANY FORMATION ]
[ SHARE CAPITAL, TAXATION, LICENCE FEES & COMPLIANCE ]
[ STRUCTURE OF MANAGEMENT ]


CORPORATE FEATURES

GENERAL
Type of Company

International

Political Stability

Good

Common or Civil Law

Common

Disclosure of Beneficial Owner

No

Migration of Domicile Permitted

Yes

Tax on Offshore Profits

Nil

Language of Name

Latin and other alphabets

CORPORATE REQUIREMENTS
Minimum Number of Shareholders

One

Minimum Number of Directors

One

Bearer Shares Allowed

Yes

Corporate Directors Permitted

Yes

Company Secretary Required

Yes

Standard Authorised Share Capital

US$ 5,000

LOCAL REQUIREMENTS
Registered Office/Agent

Yes

Company Secretary

Yes

Local Directors

No

Local Meetings

No

Government Register of Directors

No

Government Register of Shareholders

No

ANNUAL REQUIREMENTS
Annual Return

Yes

Submit Accounts

No (by resolution)

RECURRING GOVERNMENT COSTS
Minimum Annual Tax/Licence Fee

US$ 500

Annual Return Filing Fee

Nil


GENERAL INFORMATION

 

The Cook Islands comprises a group of 15 islands located between Tahiti in the east and Samoa and Tonga in the west. The main island of Rarotonga is 3,000 km north-east of Auckland, New Zealand and the township of Avarua on that island is the administrative and commercial centre of the Cook Islands.

 

POPULATION

Total population of the Island group is approximately 19,000. The indigenous population is Polynesian but English is spoken by most of the community.

 

POLITICAL STRUCTURE

Great Britain proclaimed a Protectorate over the Cook Islands in 1888 and in 1901, the Islands were ceded to New Zealand. The Cook Islands became fully self-governing in 1965 under the Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964. Since obtaining self-government, the Cook Islanders have retained New Zealand citizenship.

The Government has reaffirmed continuing support and encouragement for the development of Rarotonga as a financial centre.

There are two main political parties, the Democratic Alliance Party and the Cook Islands Party which between them hold all seats in Parliament. Both parties support the Cook Islands status as an offshore financial centre.

Executive authority is vested in Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen’s Representative is appointed upon the advice of the Cook Islands Government. Executive Government lies with a cabinet comprising the Prime Minister and nine other Ministers appointed by the Prime Minister.

The Cook Islands has growing international stature and is a member of the South Pacific Forum, the Asian Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

 

ECONOMY

The Cook Islands economy is primarily tourism based however there has been a substantial expansion in the offshore industry with the advent of innovative and progressive legislation to facilitate the establishment of a variety of offshore structures including international business companies, offshore banks, offshore insurance companies and wealth preservation trusts.

Air New Zealand operates various Boeing 747 and 767 flights through Rarotonga to Auckland, Tahiti, Hawaii, Los Angeles and Fiji, which provide direct access to the United Kingdom, USA, South East Asia, Australia as well as Europe.

Rarotonga has a satellite international telephone and facsimile system. Direct dialling to Rarotonga is available from most countries. Internet and e-mail access is also freely available.

 

LANGUAGE

The official language is English however Cook Islands Maori is spoken widely.

 

CURRENCY

New Zealand Dollar.

 

EXCHANGE CONTROL

Only in relation to certain dealings in New Zealand Dollars. There are no local restrictions on the movement of funds to or from the Cook Islands in other currencies and funds may be held and business transacted in the Cook Islands in any currency.

 

TYPE OF LAW

Based on English Common Law.

 

PRINCIPAL CORPORATE LEGISLATION

The International Companies Act 1981-1982.


COMPANY FORMATION

 

TYPE OF COMPANY FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

International Business Companies, which may be no liability companies, companies limited by guarantee, unlimited companies and mutual companies.

 

PROCEDURE TO INCORPORATE

Filing of Memorandum of Incorporation with the Registrar of International Companies.

 

RESTRICTIONS ON TRADING

Cannot trade within the Cook Islands or undertake the business of banking or insurance unless licensed under the Offshore Banking Act or the Offshore Insurance Act.

 

POWERS OF COMPANY

A Cook Islands International Company has the same powers as a natural person.

 

LANGUAGE OF LEGISLATION AND CORPORATE DOCUMENTS

English.

 

shelf COMPANIES AVAILABLE

Yes.

 

TIME TO INCORPORATE

Three days.

 

NAME RESTRICTIONS

Anything identical to or similar to a company already incorporated.

 

LANGUAGE OF NAME

The name can be in any language but must be accompanied by a translation in English.

 

SUFFIXES TO DENOTE LIMITED LIABILITY

Limited or Ltd.

 

DISCLOSURE OF BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TO AUTHORITIES

No.


SHARE CAPITAL, TAXATION, LICENCE FEES & COMPLIANCE

 

ISSUED SHARE CAPITAL

There are no minimum requirements.

 

CLASSES OF SHARES PERMITTED

Bearer shares, preference shares, redeemable shares, shares with or without voting rights and shares of no par value.

 

BEARER SHARES PERMITTED

Yes.

 

TAXATION

International entities including International Companies are exempt from taxation.

 

REGISTRATION FEES

US$ 500 payable on the registration of the company and annually thereafter.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

All companies must lodge annual returns accompanied by audited accounts however this latter requirement can be dispensed with by company resolution.


STRUCTURE OF MANAGEMENT

 

DIRECTORS

The minimum number of directors is one. Directors may be either a body corporate or a natural person. They may of any nationality and need not be resident in the Cook Islands.

 

COMPANY SECRETARY

A Cook Islands resident secretary must be appointed.

 

SHAREHOLDERS

The minimum number of shareholders is one.


ORDER


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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We do not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any errors or omissions.


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