When answering the questions on what is the most popular offshore jurisdiction we need to first define some certain evaluation criteria.
If we would proceed with the assessment from the point of the beforehand most commonly used companies, these would be such well known jurisdictions as Belize, Seychelles, Panama and BVI. The number of companies registered in these jurisdictions is very high whereby most of the companies in these countries are registered in the previous years. The current trend in respect of these jurisdiction is that, when forming a new offshore company, these specific jurisdictions are becoming not so popular due to the strong association with the offshore world.
Moreover it becomes more and more complicated to open bank accounts for such companies in reliable international banks as banks regulations are became much more stringent for such companies. When opening an account for these companies, nowadays banks require the extensive volume of information and documents.
For your international partners, such companies also became much harder to use, whereby some legal entities, for example, onshore companies in Europe, can barely work with such typical offshore companies as there are enormous limitations from the respective tax authorities of European countries for working with such offshore legal bodies.
Thus, these offshore companies (Belize, Seychelles, Panama and BVI) are still very often used and are considered highly popular offshore jurisdictions, however the trend of using such companies indicates clear down movement.
When considering another highly central aspect – reputability of your company, unfortunately most of the typical offshore jurisdictions do not provide the needed level of such reputation. Thus these companies gradually become niche companies which can be used only for rather limited number of purposes.
Within the evaluation of various, jurisdictions in order to answer the questions what are the most popular offshore jurisdictions at the present times, it is crucial to consider a number of elements: country stability, country image and reputation, acceptance of companies from a country by different banks, absence of clear offshore image, etc.
Bearing in mind all the above, and the current development trends, one can still use the Belize, Seychelles, Panama and BVI companies, though we would strongly suggest to take a closer look at the UAE. The UAE does not have different rules for onshore and offshore companies in terms of taxation regulations means there is no harmful tax practice being criticized in other jurisdictions. Such company in UAE is very similar to the other commonly used offshore companies in terms of applicable legislation whereby does not have an image and indication of an offshore status.
Another highly useful aspect of the UAE – once you set up your offshore company in the UAE and become to appreciate all the advantages of it, you always retain the option to upgrade the offshore company in UAE and register an onshore company in this country which would also enjoy complete absence of taxation, and be entirely country-resident.
Both UAE company types – offshore and onshore – can open accounts in UAE banks which gives another very important benefit. All the factors above make the UAE as the offshore jurisdiction which intensively increases its attractiveness with the potential to become of the most popular ones. This is especially due to the fact that the world is actively changing its anti-offshore legislation.
Once such legal framework is fully implemented, there would be only a couple of places in the world available, which would provide tax incentives and be fully compliant with international tax regulations. And one of such countries is, evidently, the United Arab Emirates.