Our Frequently Asked Questions
The formation of an offshore company can raise many questions, the ones that are most commonly asked have been grouped here to allow you find the answers you need. We have taken care to respond as clearly and accurately as possible to demonstrate the high quality of our support and technical knowledge.
What is an offshore company?
An offshore company is a company based in a country other than the one where it operates. The purpose of setting up an offshore company is to benefit from its host country’s tax advantages, while continuing to do business in other countries. Generally offshore companies cannot operate in their own country without risking becoming a “resident corporation” and being subject to local taxation.
What are the benefits of an offshore company?
An offshore company can increase your profits because it is subject to lower (or even zero) taxation. In addition, administrative procedures, including accounting, are often more flexible and light-touch. The offshore solution also offers a high level of data confidentiality and anonymity of company management and ownership.
Why use FiduSuisse Offshore?
Using FiduSuisse Offshore for the formation of your offshore company gives you the guarantee of high-quality assistance and the professional expertise that comes from 15 years’ experience. It also ensures there will be no nasty surprises: with FiduSuisse Offshore, there are no hidden fees and the prices displayed on our website are the only ones we apply.
Which is the best destination for an offshore company?
There is no single answer to this question since the choice of jurisdiction depends on many factors, in particular the activity that will be carried out there. Our country fact sheets provide the advantages and disadvantages of each offshore and onshore destination.
As a general rule it is advisable to settle in a jurisdiction with good infrastructure, a stable economy and political system, a favourable tax system for the company’s activities, a good relationship with your own country and a good reputation internationally.
Is it mandatory to keep accounts for an offshore company?
In general, yes. Very many jurisdictions require offshore companies to keep their accounts in accordance with specific standards which may also need to be audited. Nevertheless, some countries, such as Belize, the Seychelles and Mauritius have no such formal accounting requirements and merely require the directors to maintain records sufficient to understand the financial position of the company.
How long does it take to form the company?
The timescale depends on the jurisdiction. Some have extremely short formation times (around 24-48 hours) while others may take a month. The number of documents required and formalities also vary from one jurisdiction to the other. The time required to create a company is specified in each of our country fact sheets. However, it is also possible to obtain a pre-established company very quickly and simplify the steps required to acquire it through our ready-made company service.
What is a ready-made (or shelf) company ?
A ready-made or shelf company is a dormant company purchased by a client who then becomes the owner. An investor may then decide to buy it: he takes over ownership of the company and can do business using the company name already established or he may wish to change the company name. This method avoids having to create the company from scratch and shows some company history, which is often advantageous.
What is a UK Agency Company?
A UK agency company is a reputable offshore structure which facilitates business activities and enables a company to benefit from low taxation. The principle is simple: An offshore company creates an entity in the United Kingdom which acts as an agent to do business on your behalf. This allows you to benefit from the country’s good reputation and income made by this British company is ‘passed on’ to an offshore entity, which applies its low (or zero) tax rate. Please consult our special page on the UK Agency for all the details.
What is the difference between a director and a shareholder?
While both positions are important in a company, they are quite different. A director runs the company, makes decisions and signs contracts. It is possible to have several directors who may be individuals or even companies and who are generally appointed by the shareholders. Shareholders, by comparison, own the company but do not manage it on a day to day basis. There may be a single shareholder or several. Shareholders may also be either natural or legal persons.
Can the same person be director and shareholder?
Yes, almost all locations accept this. It is commonplace to have a company with a sole shareholder who is also the director.
Does an offshore company mean an absence of taxes?
No: the creation of an offshore jurisdiction does not necessarily mean the absence of taxation for companies. Although many countries indeed offer 0% tax others just offer lower taxation. Others may also require setting-up fees or other charges. Examine the specific taxation system of the country you have selected by visiting the relevant country page on our website.
Do I have to be present for the opening of a bank account?
No. An offshore bank account can be opened remotely and does not require you to visit the Bank in question. However, if you prefer, we can also easily arrange appointments with our banking partners.
Do all offshore companies come with a bank account?
We will open a bank account only if you ask for this when placing your order for a company. If this is not the case then we will not open any account on behalf of your company. However, be advised that opening a bank account depends ultimately on the bank’s discretion. If your bank does not have an appetite for your type of business it may refuse to open an account for you. Dealing through us ensures the opening of an account with our network of banking partners whereas approaching the bank directly is more uncertain..
Is it possible to open a personal account in addition to the offshore company's account?
Of course, we can open a second account for your personal use if you wish.
What are the fees for maintaining a bank account?
The fees are set and charged by the banks, they usually vary between €50 and €100 per year.
Is it possible for multiple currencies to be handled in a single account?
Yes, the bank can set up a multi-currency account at your request. All the banks we work with offer this service – it is part and parcel of our partnership.
How can funds held in the offshore account be used?
As with any bank account, it is possible to use an offshore account with a credit card, online payment or by directly withdrawing money at the bank.
What is an Anonymous Credit Card?
This is an anonymous credit card only distributed by Swiss banks. No name is printed on it (neither your name nor your company name) and this allows you to make withdrawals and purchases without leaving an audit trail. Any offshore company with an account in Switzerland may obtain this kind of card.
What is a nominee director?
This is a service used to preserve the privacy of the management of the company. A contract is signed between the ultimate beneficiary (the client) and the person who will assume the role of nominee director. The latter can sign all the administrative and official documents, thus protecting the director’s true identity. For an optimal level of protection the nominee director cannot sign documents unless they are referred to him by the customer under the Power of Attorney (POA) contract.
What does the administration of the company consist of?
The company administration services we offer take care of all of the administrative steps you might need to perform including bank account opening, administration of the company on a daily basis, appointment of the director and shareholders, accounting, etc. At Fidusuisse we offer you all the benefits of going offshore without making you waste your time with administrative procedures.
How is the name of the company chosen?
You are free to choose the name that seems the most appropriate for your offshore company and we will check its availability in your chosen country. Alternatively, we can offer you a list of available names that you can choose from, or we can offer a ready-made (or shelf) company.
When do the company's annual fees have to be paid?
Fees must be paid on the company anniversary rather than at the end of each calendar year. To give you reasonable room for us to receive fees and make disbursements our invoice will be sent to you two months prior to the date of renewal.
What is notarization and what is an 'apostille'?
Notarization is the verification by a notary public of all your company’s documents, verifying their full legality. An apostille is the next level of certification in which a Government in a country which has signed The Hague Convention on the Legalisation of Documents verifies the document.
What is a Declaration of Trust?
A Declaration of Trust (DOT) is a document that specifies that the nominee shareholder holds shares on behalf of a client and also specifies the percentage of the holding.