An offshore company is quite simply one which is established in one of the offshore jurisdictions. In the same way as any company, it will have a registered office, Directors, Company Secretary and will be required to keep proper records of its activities in the form of accounting records and statutory books and file the requisite annual returns and other statutory documentation required by the particular jurisdiction in which it is based.
Guernsey has recently modernised its company laws, The Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008, to meet the requirements of the finance sector. Guernsey maintains an independent legal system.
Recent improvements to the laws and registry allow a company to be formed online within a few hours, if required by a licensed fiduciary, such as. Once the company is incorporated, a Certificate of Incorporation is provided, which is conclusive evidence of incorporation. Memorandum and Articles of Association (by-laws) are adopted by every company and these can be tailored to suit individual circumstances.
DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
All companies are normally required to have at least two Directors and a Company Secretary. There is no legal requirement for Directors or Officers to reside in Guernsey. Similarly, there is no requirement for all Directors’ meetings to be held in Guernsey, although this would be preferable. It should be noted that we would in all but the most unusual circumstances wish to be appointed as the Directors and Officers of the company in order to ensure control of the affairs of the company as required by our local regulatory body.
The newly incorporated company must have its registered office in Guernsey, at which must be maintained a Register of Directors, Shareholders and Secretaries, together with copies of Annual Returns, and be available for inspection. Minutes of general meetings must also be kept at the Registered Office. Every company is required to keep accounting records, which must be sufficient to identify the transactions of the company and disclose with reasonable accuracy the financial position of the company. Accounts must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and show a true and fair view of the profit and loss of the company and the state of its balance sheet. The Directors are responsible for the preparation of Accounts for each financial period which, subject to transitional exceptions, may not exceed 18 months. There are no statutory requirements for the filing of financial accounts in Guernsey.
Companies in Guernsey owned by non residents do not pay any tax.
USES OF AN OFFSHORE COMPANY
- Trading activities
- Asset holding (residential or commercial property / yachts / aeroplanes etc)
- Investment holdings (portfolios of stocks and shares etc)
- Consultancy services
- Ownership of intellectual property rights, image rights etc
Although Guernsey is our jurisdiction of choice, we also offer the service of incorporating and managing companies in other jurisdictions such as Jersey or the British Virgin Islands.