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UAE Offshore Companies: What are They and Why May Be of Your Choice

“Offshore Company” is the term used for companies established under jurisdictions that allow them to operate anywhere other than in the specific jurisdiction they are regulated in. Therefore, “Offshore” Companies, also known as International Business Companies (IBC), are considered as “overseas” entities both in the area they are formed and elsewhere – eternally offshore or overseas. This arrangement implies an entity operating in a zero-tax environment.

“Offshore” companies are usually deployed in relation to international trade, holding companies, tax efficient structures and wealth management. Trust structures and other fiduciary arrangements are also users of offshore jurisdictions.  

Historically, offshore jurisdictions were dominated by Caribbean Islands such as Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, etc. and certain small states around the European Mediterranean. Today, the UAE is leading the innovation in offshore jurisdictions offering a number of options across different Emirates and Authorities.
Why UAE International Business Company (IBC) may be your choice
The UAE is a very progressive and stable country. It has a very functional governing system and is a very safe country to visit and reside. It has strong financial institutions, and is easy to get into it. This has led to its acceptance as a regional hub in pursuit of innovation and excellence. 
As an independent country, UAE is not subject to the rules found in Europe or in the US. To this turn, it allows for more latitude in the structuring and disclosing of, one’s assets.   
An International Business Company (IBC) may be an ideal solution for foreign investors and business owners. An IBC can be owned by a physical person (individuals) or a corporate body (another company). An “offshore” company in any of the UAE jurisdictions, cannot operate within the UAE or hold office. 
In addition, the UAE is clear of the FATF blacklist or OECD 'blacklist' of tax heavens. 
Taking a snapshot of the existing users of UAE “Offshore” entities, anyone can find group holding companies with assets in other jurisdictions, holding companies which hold licenses of franchises and copyrights as well as companies that trade across borders.
Advantages of Setting up an “Offshore” Company in UAE: 

  • 100% foreign ownership without requirement of the involvement of any UAE national as a shareholder or sponsor
  • 100% import and export tax exemption
  • 100% income tax, personal tax, and corporate tax exemption
  • 100% repatriation on capital and profit
  • Asset protection and investment diversification, protection of Legal Asset and Investments
  • Confidentiality and privacy in operations
  • Ease of international operations
  • Income from taxable jurisdiction of an offshore or holding company is not taxable
  • Low operational costs, with world class banking and investment management services
  • Minimum requirement of one Director or Shareholder
  • No foreign currency restrictions
  • No minimum capital requirement
  • No office space requirements and lesser infrastructural costs
  • Quick incorporation procedure

“Offshore” companies are mostly used in:

  • Commercial trading
  • Provision of consultancy and other services            
  • Ship management
  • Investment vehicles
  • Asset holding
  • Intellectual property management            
  • Franchise management
  • Financing
  • Tax planning    

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Maria Evangelou's picture

Maria Evangelou received her education at Birmingham City University in Birmingham, United Kingdom, where she received a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance and later completed her Master Degree in Financial Management at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Her professional career started in 2014 as an Associate in the Audit and Assurance services department at PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. In 2017, she joined the Infocredit Group as a Business Advisory Consultant and in March 2017 joined The CORPRO Ltd as a Corporate Services Manager.

Maria is also member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.

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