Gibraltar, is a jurisdiction often overlooked in the offshore world. However, several factors render it a superb place to incorporate an offshore company. Together with other highly-reputed British territories such as the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey, Gibraltar is included within the High Disclosure Offshore Centers. Nevertheless, Gibraltar is only one part of the European Union and the only one able to provide financial institutions with passporting rights and access to the single European financial market.
Furthermore, it has an excellent international reputation, a stable government, and a ‘special’ status within the EU: Foreign companies in Gibraltar do not require a physical presence, meaning that they can be controlled and managed from almost anywhere in the world.
It also implies that corporate meetings are not expected to be held in Gibraltar. Secondly, it has an attractive fiscal regime for offshore investors and offers a favourable tax status for foreign banks, as well as no exchange controls.
Likewise, as long as the company does not conduct any business in Gibraltar and non-residents own it, it has a tax-exempt status issued by Gibraltar’s Companies Taxation and Concessions Ordinance. Gibraltar is also the only jurisdiction that offers a flexible tax regime, with 25-year-long certificates as well as a specific exclusion from the EU that implies the levy of a VAT.
Choosing the Offshore Company Name
While this may be considered the simplest and most enjoyable part of the procedure, there are some things that you may need to take into account: The name you choose needs to be unique. Luckily, however, the government publishes a list containing all the names that can be considered similar to already-existing companies. New companies can neither use any of the names presented on that list nor one that can be considered as offensive. Likewise, they cannot use names that are similar to governmental or royal institutions, as well as those that may imply some banking activity. Also, certain words such as Assurance, Association, Royal, International, Trust, etc., require special permission.
Offshore companies that operate outside of Gibraltar need to have a license if their business involves insurance, banking, trust, investment or company management.
Regardless of its activities, an offshore company will always need to maintain a local office address. Also, the company needs to appoint a local corporate secretary and a local registered agent who can provide nominee services for shareholders and directors.
Every year, the company needs to file a report with the Gibraltar registered office. Offshore companies also need to fill out annual audited accounts and submit them to the Financial Service Commission.
Regarding taxation, it's important to remember that small Gibraltar offshore companies pay a 20% corporate tax rate while standard foreign companies pay 30%.
In the field of advertising and all forms of correspondence issued by the company, they must all include the company's license number. Since these types of communication are part of the Financial Service Commission jurisdiction, they need to ensure that all offshore companies are following the laws put in place by the Financial Service Ordinances.
Every offshore company is required to provide a share capital guarantee by depositing it into a bank account.
Prior to incorporation, Gibraltar offshore companies that have local management offices and resident employees, need to apply with the Tax Office as well as the Employment and Training Board.
In short, Gibraltar is no doubt an excellent location for the incorporation of your offshore companies. Aside from the fact that it provides EU membership, a tax-free income, as well as the possibility to conduct business anywhere on the globe, Gibraltar also offers a vast infrastructure and communications, as well as a bilingual environment (English and Spanish).