Frequently Asked Questions
find quick answers about what we do, and other common questions.
WHAT IS AN OFFSHORE CORPORATION?
A corporation is an entity recognized by law as a
separate "person" with limited liability. A corporation has the option to sell
shares, the right to sue and be sued, and has perpetual existence.
HOW ARE OFFSHORE CORPORATIONS USED?
Offshore corporations may be used to own and
operate businesses, issue shares, bonds or otherwise raise capital, guarantee
obligations, hire employees, buy goods and services, sell goods and services,
make contracts, rent office space, maintain checking and saving accounts, and
maintain retirement plans for employees. Although most offshore corporations
are private and closely held, some are publicly traded on major stock
WHAT ARE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION?
The Articles of Incorporation is the document
which establishes the corporation and contains basic information such as the
name, share structure, and purpose of the corporation.
WHAT ARE BY-LAWS?
The By-laws, or in some jurisdictions "Articles of
Association", are rules the corporation creates for its shareholders,
officers, and directors. By-laws are adopted by the Board of Directors as one
of the first organizational steps in setting up a corporation. Upon
instruction, we can adopt a standard set of By-laws for a new corporation.
Unlike Articles of Association, By-laws are usually maintained internally but
may be publicly filed if requested.
WHAT DOES A CORPORATE SEARCH REVEAL?
A corporate search will reveal the name of the
corporation, the date of existence, amendments, and any other publicly filed
document. Under Panamanian law for example, there is no requirement that the names of
corporate officers, directors or shareholders be filed in any public registry.
Such information, therefore, remains confidential.
WHAT ARE BEARER SHARES?
Bearer share certificates do not indicate the name
of the owner. The certificate is endorsed in blank such that the person having
physical possession of the document is the owner. Bearer shares facilitate the
transfer of assets because transfer of ownership is accomplished simply by the
transfer of the certificate.
WHAT ARE REGISTERED SHARES?
Registered share certificates indicate the name of
the owner on the document. The name of the shareholder is also recorded in the
internal corporate records of the company. Although the registered owner is
recorded in the corporation's internal records, no public registry of
shareholders is maintained. The share registry is an internal corporate
document available only to directors, officers and shareholders, under
conditions specified in the jurisdiction's corporate statute.
WHAT ARE Shelf COMPANIES?
Shelf Companies are ready-made, never used
corporations that have been created to meet a client's immediate needs.
WHAT IS A REGISTERED AGENT?
A Registered Agent is required to ensure that the
corporation has an assigned representative at a known address to receive all
service of process (legal notices) on its behalf. The Registered Agent
forwards these documents to the address of record of the corporation.
Isn't moving assets offshore illegal?
There is nothing illegal about moving assets
offshore. It is when you move the assets into accounts offshore and do not
declare their existence to the tax authorities that you break the law. Any
assets over which you have control, domestic or offshore, are probably liable
to taxes in your home jurisdiction.
Why should I move offshore?
Moving some of your assets offshore provides you
access to modern (and ancient) methods of protecting your assets and reducing
your taxes using trusts, international corporations, foundations and other
What is Asset Protection?
Asset Protection is a term used to describe the
concept of legally transferring your assets into a legal entity which will
protect them from attack by frivolous litigation, seizing from government,
attack from an estranged spouse - in fact anything which may threaten your
hard earned wealth.
If I must declare my offshore assets, how can I
use an offshore plan to legitimately reduce my taxes?
Taxes must be paid on profits made on assets under
your legal ownership. By the use of certain offshore entities, which vary
according to your home jurisdiction, a certain proportion of your assets will
no longer bear taxes at the same rate. Please contact us for a plan based on
where you reside.
A friend said that offshore asset protection is
immoral, what are your views on that?
Some people are quite happy to stay in a system
which allows vultures to pray on exposed assets. That is their individual
choice. There are other people who prefer to leave the country they love to
get away from the system. Offshore asset protection is somewhere in between.
There is nothing immoral in trying to protect your hard-earned assets so that
you and/or your family can benefit from them later on. It is the essence of
If I open an offshore structure, will this lead
to tax authority scrutiny?
What we advocate is not illegal; it therefore does
not attract undue attention from the authorities. It is activities like money
laundering, tax evasion and controlled accounts that the tax authorities are
interested in, not law-abiding citizens protecting their assets and lowering
their tax burdens.
Which is the best offshore center to use for
asset protection and/or estate planning?
Most modern tax havens are very alike with respect
to their tax laws and services, although some do offer entities not available
in others. Certain tax havens have developed bad reputations over the years
due to abuse by certain elements of the offshore industry, but most are quite
safe. As with any financial plan, it is usually best to use a mix of
jurisdictions, picking the best from three or four areas.
Can I retain control over my money, possibly
through investment or bank accounts in my home jurisdiction?
Many people would like the 'safety' of an offshore
asset protection structure but would like to keep complete control over the
assets, trading accounts etc. This is possible but gives a direct link to the
assets and will probably lead to any legal structures that were set up being
ignored for both tax and protection purposes. Offshore asset protection does
require you find people you trust to advise you and take care of finances for
How much does an asset protection structure cost?
At OffshoreSimple Inc. we believe in providing
value for money for our clients. Furthermore, when providing our services, our
focus is on building the quality and value of relationships with our clients
over an extended period of time. Basic asset protection structures start as
low as US$1,500 for an average family, with annual costs as low as US$1,800.
Of course this cost rises with the complexity involved, but rarely exceeds
US$30,000 initial cost.
What is the minimum amount I should start with?
That depends on your reasons for going offshore.
If it is for asset protection you should be considering how much you are
risking by not going offshore, namely lawyers fees, time, loss of assets etc.
If it is for tax reasons you should be looking at the annual costs against how
much tax you can save (i.e. US$18,000 is 30% of US$60,000).
Are there any other advantages to going offshore?
Once a structure has been legally created it can
be used for international trade and investment. This opens up a whole new
arena that the average unstructured citizen cannot usually access.
How do I start?
The best place to start is to
fill out our Request for More