HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT OFFSHORE JURISDICTION

There are about fifty countries in the world that offering various tax benefits to non-residents, thus promoting what is called offshore business. Some of those countries are extremely popular and widely perceived as offshore tax havens - like British Virgin Islands, Panama or Seychelles. At the same time interesting tax breaks to non-resident businesses are actually available in some places that are not at all recognized as "offshore" – for instance, UK, US, Denmark or Netherlands. And there are all sorts and types in between.

So, which is the best jurisdiction to incorporate an offshore company?

There is really no standard answer. The choice of the right offshore jurisdiction will depend on the intended use of the offshore company, the personal and business circumstances of its owner, and the actual regions of the world where this company intends to trade.

But, before going into the details, what is a tax haven, anyway?


Infrastructure

The infrastructure of an offshore jurisdiction is important – in a wider sense of this notion. You must be able to communicate with the country easily – preferably without language barrier, and certainly through modern and reliable lines of telecommunications. While less important, it may also help if You are able to travel to the particular country easily, quickly, safely and without the necessity to get a visa. The country must have a modern and reliable banking and financial system, as You probably don't want Your money get lost. Perhaps the most overlooked factor of them all – work ethics. All people are not the same. Some regions of the world tend to be more laid back and relaxed in their attitudes to work than others. This might become a crucial factor when You need something done quickly and without error. Some countries are historically indoctrinated with a work culture of diligence, confidentiality and prudency. Some are less so. Take the time zone into account – dealing with a jurisdiction on the other side of the globe may constantly make you lose a day while communicating via email or fax, and it's certainly more convenient to make calls during Your normal business hours.

Last but not least – You might like to check the weather record. Some popular offshore financial centres are located in huriccane areas. While these countries generally have their infrastructure ready for such events (backup power generators, stringent building rules, etc.), a violent tropical storm may still take out the business for several hours, or maybe even days.