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Every entrepreneur sooner or later starts looking for a set of financial instruments that are aimed at reducing the tax burden of their company, based in countries with high tax rates. Such tools are offshore zones, which over the past 40 years have experienced a transformation and integration with the modern world. The use of low-tax jurisdictions makes it possible to ensure the protection of assets, strengthen and develop international relations in the business of companies and create offshore schemes that allow more efficient management of groups of companies.

What is offshore? Offshore companies have become part of the global financial system, and all current attempts by the governments of the world’s leading countries to eradicate these mechanisms are at least useless. After the process of de-offshorization began around the world, there is a clear trend that entrepreneurs choose to create and use more complex and confidential business structuring schemes instead of returning capital to their country of business. In this case, what could be better than an offshore country? What are the alternatives?

To structure the business, they use the modern trend – midshore and midshore companies. Midshore is a jurisdiction that offers the possibility of registering non-resident companies, taxing them at flexible tax rates. However, these companies are taxed in principle compared to offshore ones. On the other hand, the jurisdiction offers companies prestige and, of course, all mid-shoring jurisdictions are included in the OECD white list. Such jurisdictions include: Hong Kong, Cyprus, Labuan, Ireland, Great Britain, Curacao, etc.

These are countries that comply with all international standards of transparency, have an open company registry, and are also known for reduced tax rates.

Companies operating in these jurisdictions are registered and are actively working with partners around the world. For example, UK companies are often used as representative companies. All business contracts are signed on behalf of an English company.

Hong Kong companies deserve special attention. Hong Kong is generally a special jurisdiction. Firstly, registration and administration of a company in this jurisdiction is significantly cheaper than in other Asian countries. Secondly, the country’s legislation is based on English common law, which makes it much easier to understand the country’s legislation. Finally, Hong Kong is the gateway to China. As an administrative region of China, building a business between Hong Kong and China is a breeze.

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Great Britain

Depending on personal preferences and characteristics of the company, you can choose one of several corporate forms.

Limited liability company (Limited, LTD)

A limited liability company is a type of business structure that is completely independent of its owners. It can enter into contractual relations on its own behalf and is responsible for its activities, finances and obligations. The owners of the company are protected by “limited liability”, which means that they are only liable for the debts of the business to the extent of their investment in the company or their guarantees to the company. A limited liability company must be registered with Companies House as “limited by shares” or “limited by guarantee”. The same person can be the owner and director of the company. There are no restrictions on citizenship and residence for owners and directors.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

In fact, this type of business structure combines the features of a traditional partnership and a limited liability company. LLPs have a legal personality and are completely independent of their members (partners) and, accordingly, can enter into contracts and own assets, such as real estate. At the same time, LLP does not pay income tax and tax liabilities are transferred to partners, where each of them must report for their income from the partnership. The liability of the partners is limited to the amount that the partners contributed when registering the partnership. All partnerships registered in England and Wales must submit their financial statements after the end of each tax year, as well as the tax returns of partners to the UK Inland Revenue.

Basic requirements for registering a partnership. The name of the partnership must be unique and must be formed by at least two partners, which can be both individuals and legal entities. There are no restrictions on the citizenship/jurisdiction and country of residence of partners. At least two partners or all partners must become Responsible Partners. They bear legal, including criminal, responsibility for compliance with the correctness and sequence of the company’s reporting.

Partnership taxes. Partnerships are taxed by their partners, not by person. Thus, if the partnership does not operate in the UK and the partners are not tax resident in the UK, then the partners will pay taxes only in their country of tax residence. In addition, when real estate is entered into and withdrawn from a partnership, Stamp Duty is usually not paid.

Scottish Limited Partnership (SLP)

This structure is very similar to a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). The SLP also has a legal identity and is completely independent of its partners, allowing it to enter into contracts, borrow money, and own assets such as real estate. There are two types of partners in an SLP: responsible partners, who are responsible for running the SLP and are liable for the partnership’s debts and obligations, and limited partners, whose liability is limited to the value of their investment in the partnership. Restricted partners cannot take part in the management of the SLP. There are few reporting requirements in the SLP. Unlike limited partnerships, SLPs do not need to file annual returns if they do not have a business in the UK.

Basic requirements for registration. Partnership registration takes place at Companies House in Edinburgh within 5 working days under a unique name and with at least one responsible partner and one limited partner; partners can be both individuals and legal entities (for example, a company). There are no restrictions on the citizenship/jurisdiction and country of residence of partners.

Tax liability. SLP does not pay income tax, tax liabilities are transferred to partners, where each of them must account for their income from the partnership. Thus, if the SLP does not operate in the UK and the partners are not tax resident in the UK, then the partners will only pay taxes in their country of tax residence. In addition, when real estate is entered into and withdrawn from a partnership, Stamp Duty is usually not paid.

Hong Kong

A company in Hong Kong is not an offshore company, it is a mid-shore company, it has all the advantages of “pure” offshore companies (no need to pay taxes if there is no profit in Hong Kong, no currency control, simplified and accelerated procedure for registering a company, etc.), however, the need to prepare financial statements and undergo an annual audit remains. This factor, as well as location in a prestigious international financial center, makes Hong Kong companies more “white” and reliable in the eyes of business partners and various government agencies.

When registering a company in Hong Kong, you should remember that registering a business in this jurisdiction has many advantages:

  • almost complete absence of restrictions on the choice of types of entrepreneurial activity;
  • there are no foreign exchange controls in Hong Kong, the company can transfer funds at any time, in any currency and to any country, for transactions related to its business activities;
  • no restrictions on foreign investment, movement of capital and income;
  • Hong Kong does not have the status of an offshore zone and is considered an authoritative international financial center, with an English legal system;
  • when registering a company with us, your personal presence is not required, we carry out the entire registration procedure remotely;
  • A citizen of any country can be a director and shareholder, there are no restrictions on foreign investors in Hong Kong;
  • a company in Hong Kong can be registered for one person – director and shareholder in one person;
  • complete absence of taxes when doing business outside the country.

The fact that Hong Kong has a territorial principle of taxation means that income received outside the country is not subject to taxation. Foreign income can be classified as income in the following cases:

  • if the contract was signed outside the country, the invoices were issued in Hong Kong;
  • if the services were provided outside of Hong Kong;
  • if the product is not located in Hong Kong and has not been sold in Hong Kong;
  • if there are no employees and a real office in Hong Kong.

Even if the company’s activities are subject to taxation, the tax system in Hong Kong is simple and transparent:

  • there is only one business tax in Hong Kong – income tax and the rate is one of the lowest in the world – 16.5% of net profit; dividends and interest received on securities and capital gains are not subject to taxation;
  • in Hong Kong there is no VAT and other taxes on the company’s turnover;
    no customs duties, Hong Kong is a free port;
  • there is no requirement for actual payment of share capital, share capital can only be declared in registration documents (the minimum amount of share capital in Hong Kong, which is declared on paper, is 10,000 Hong Kong dollars);
  • accounting in Hong Kong is simplified, tax reporting is submitted once a year (we will provide this);
    the name of the company in Hong Kong can be almost anything (the main thing is that it is not already registered), in the conclusion of the company name there will be “Limited”;
  • low administrative costs for the maintenance of the company. No need to solve the problems of renting a premises – no need to rent a real office, it is allowed to have a “virtual” office in Hong Kong (which we will provide) and do not need the actual location of the company’s employees. No need to hire employees and pay social payments in Hong Kong (unless the employees actually work here). Even the personal presence of directors and shareholders of the company is not necessary in Hong Kong;
  • the almost complete absence of administrative barriers, Hong Kong has been constantly leading the list of countries in terms of economic freedom for more than 20 years, it is enough to comply with annual formalities and submit annual reports (this is the responsibility of the secretary company and we will provide this);
  • developed and stable economy, Hong Kong is one of the most developed and advanced, stable economic regions in Asia;
  • in Hong Kong, trust law is applied, according to which a nominee service is allowed (a nominee director and a nominee shareholder, which we will provide), which ensures a fairly high degree of confidentiality;
  • lack of corruption and various criminal organizations (according to these indicators, Hong Kong takes pride of place at the bottom of the list of countries);
  • firms registered in Hong Kong have the right to conduct any legal activity. For such activities as credit, insurance, banking, investment consulting, a special license is required;
  • good geographical location near mainland China.

Based on the foregoing, we can conclude that a company in Hong Kong is one of the most effective and profitable tools for doing business in Asian markets. It is midshores that are used today by many entrepreneurs as a convenient and profitable tool for entering new markets, managing assets, optimizing taxation, etc. Hong Kong is rightfully included in the list of the most economically developing countries in the region along with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. There is even a common name for these states, uniting them according to common features – the Four Dragons. Geographically, Hong Kong is located in Southeast Asia. It includes the peninsula of the same name, as well as about 200 nearby islands. Previously, until 1997, Hong Kong was part of the British possessions, but then it was returned to the jurisdiction of China, however, Hong Kong will remain autonomous for 50 years. The Hong Kong government is doing its best to create the most comfortable conditions for registering companies and doing business. The firm’s activities in Hong Kong are governed by the applicable Hong Kong Company Law. Trade, logistics, transport, e-commerce, investment activities, provision of services, ownership and management of intellectual property results and many other sectors of the economy use Hong Kong as a powerful financial center with loyal taxation.

Cyprus

Today, more and more businessmen are thinking about opening a company in Cyprus. This is due to many factors, among which it is worth noting:

1. The island offers foreign investors one of the most loyal tax regimes. The local taxation system provides a number of tax benefits for wealthy foreigners. So, all dividends, interest and royalties received are not taxed. In this regard, Cyprus is a loyal country throughout the EU. The island has the lowest VAT and corporate tax rates in Europe. All of the above makes the island an ideal place for tax planning, which is actively used by many global holdings and companies.

2. The country has concluded a series of double tax treaties with most developed countries. The presence of such agreements gives international companies the right to pay the necessary taxes and fees in only one country.

3. As part of the EU, all agreements concluded in Cyprus will be guaranteed not only by local but also by European laws.

4. Opening a Cyprus company online will allow you to avoid the political, financial and other risks that are relevant in your home country.

5. Cyprus is able to provide the most comfortable conditions for doing business. Outsourcing and the financial and credit sector are well developed on the island. You can hire both local specialists and citizens of other countries, depending on the specifics of your business.

6. The possibility of capital repatriation to any country in the world, regardless of the currency.

7. Officially, Cyprus is no longer offshore, so your business will not be subject to the deoffshorization policy pursued in recent years.

Island legislation provides for a procedure that allows you to fully register a new business within 7-10 days. We will help you register your own business in Cyprus online.

By and large, cooperation with a quality intermediary greatly facilitates the process of doing business on the island:

1. You can get detailed advice and clarify all the nuances regarding the process of opening a company in Cyprus.

2. We will ensure that you complete all stages of registration and obtain the necessary certificates as soon as possible.

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