Isle of Man in Offshore
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Isle of Man Company Formation
Establishing a business in the Isle of Man is very similar to proceedings in the UK. The principal forms of business organisation in the Isle of Man are unincorporated ventures such as sole traders and partnerships, joint ventures and branches, and corporate bodies. Trusts are also common.
Types of company
The most common structure is the Limited Liability Company as it is straightforward to establish, it requires minimum share capital, members can manage the company and there are no directors.
Other types of companies include:
- Public Companies: Must file accounts
- Private Companies: Cannot offer shares to the public
- Companies limited by guarantee: limited by the guarantee of members rather than by shares.
- Unlimited companies: Not usually used for commercial ventures
Companies are registered under the Companies Act 2006 or under the Companies Acts 1931-2004; the different Acts have different legislation for subsidiaries of foreign corporations and branches of foreign corporations. Each company must have a memorandum and an Articles of Association which sets out its constitution and rules for management and administration.
By choosing to incorporate an offshore company, business owners and investors can set-up a business outside the jurisdiction of its operations. Offshore companies are traditionally, but not exclusively, incorporated for lower fees and taxes. Business owners must abide the regulations of the offshore jurisdiction, and must not trade within the jurisdiction.
The benefits are vast. As aforesaid, reduced tax and fees are often big factors when considering offshore incorporation. A company may also choose and offshore location to:
- Simplify set-up and maintenance - entrepreneurs may find bureaucracy and red tape less of an obstacle in offshore jurisdictions
- Assume anonymity - the names of owners and directors are not for public record, and references to the company may only be made in its registered agent
- Ensure legal protection - for instance, some jurisdictions favour corporate governance, meaning a company is only liable to offshore laws as opposed to those in its areas of operation
- Protect assets - business owners may opt to arrange their assets and transactions in such a way that protects them from liability
Characteristics of an offshore company:
- Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Registered Office/Agent
- Shareholders / Members
- Directors / Managers
- Company secretary
- Statutory Register
Traditional locations for offshore incorporation are tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Monaco. Other favoured areas include India, the Bahamas, Dubai, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Seychelles, Marshall islands, Delaware, Turks & Caicos Islands, Hong Kong, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.