cook islands ibc

Background Information about the Cook Islands

Locationcook islands ibc

The Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific, northeast of New Zealand and between American Samoa and French Polynesia. There are a total of fifteen islands split into the more populated Southern Cook Islands formed by volcanic activity and the Northern Cook Islands which compromise of mainly coral atolls, which are scattered over 770,000 square miles of ocean.

Political Structure

The Cook Islands are named after Captain Cook, who explored them in 1773. Great Britain proclaimed the Cook Islands to be a protectorate in 1888, however in 1901 they were ceded to New Zealand and were finally given self-governing status in 1965. The Islands are under ‘free association’ with New Zealand, that is, they are under the protection and jurisdiction of New Zealand, though are independently governed; however, the Islands remain part of the British Commonwealth.

The Cook Island is a parliamentary system with a representative democracy and Common Law system; a Prime Minister exercises executive power and the Queen of New Zealand is the head of state, while legislative authority is held by the Parliament.

There are two main political parties, which are the Democratic Alliance Party and the Cook Islands Party that are represented in Parliament, with both parties supporting the island being an offshore financial jurisdiction. Though the Cook Islands political structure remains centralized they still seek advice on some matters from a council of hereditary leaders known as the House of Ariki.

The Cook Islands, in hoping to propel itself into the international arena, have been pursuing global recognition and is now a member of the South Pacific Forum and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Economy and Infrastructure

The economy of the Cook Islands in highly influenced by the geography of the area. The islands are isolated and lack the capacity and infrastructure of more formal economic activities. Tourism remains the basis of the economy, which makes up 67.5% of its GDP, while its offshore sector accounts for 8%, followed by fishing and local manufacturing industry, which includes black pearls, fruit processing, clothing and handicrafts.

In recent years the Cook Islands offshore industry has expanded significantly due to the signing of several pieces of progressive legislation. The Cook Islands GDP is estimated to be at USD$183.2 million (2005) with a per capita GDP of USD$9,100, while the workforce is divided along three main sectors: services 56%, agriculture 29%, and, industry 15% (1995).

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Population, Language and Culture

The Cook Islands are estimated to have a total population of 13,000 inhabitants, the main population living on the island or Rarotonga, however it was estimated that nearly 60,000 individuals are living in New Zealand who identified themselves as being of Cook Island Maori descent.

Cook Islanders are entitled to New Zealand citizenship, which has led many people to migrate to look for better economic opportunities. Although the government has encouraged islanders to return, often giving individuals incentives to due so, it has had little effect and local population has continued to fall.

The cultural and ethnic makeup of the Cook Islands was estimated to compromise of: 81.3% Cook Island Maori (Polynesian heritage), 6.7% part Cook Island Maori, and 11.9% were labeled as ‘other’ (2011).

English is widely spoken and is the official language of the Cook Islands, spoken by 86.4% of the population, along with Rarotongan (Cook Islands Maori), which was spoken by 76.2%, while 8.3% of the population was seen as being mixture of local tribal languages. There are a number of dialects in Rarotonga, which reflect the distinct cultural and linguistic makeup of the region and the islands, reflecting variations of Samoan, Tahitian and to New Zealand Maori.

Culturally, the Cook Islands reflect many aspects of the South Pacific Islander culture, though with some distinct Cook Islander flavors especially within the traditional arts of woodcarving, weaving and quilt making. Similarly, Polynesian culture has had a big influence of the development of Cook Islander performing arts, with much of the music and dance originating from the Polynesian Islands.

Exchange Control

The Cook Islands currency is in New Zealand dollars, which currently trades at NZD 1.15 = USD 1.0 (2014). There are no local restrictions on the movement of funds to or from the Cook Islands and funds may be held and transacted in the Cook Islands in any currency.

Type of Law

Cook Island law is based off of English Common Law, which was established when the Cook Islands were under British protection in 1888. The country was annexed by New Zealand in 1901 and received self-governing authority Zealand in 1965.

Principal Corporate Legislation

There are three main pieces of legislation in the Cook Islands dealing with international offshore companies and services that are:

– Limited Liability Company Act 2008

– International Companies Act 1982

– International Trusts Acts 1984

There are several other pieces of legislation that establish the rules and procedures for international investors, offshore insurance schemes, as well as the offshore banking sector, which are:

– Trustee Companies Act of 1981-82

– Offshore Banking Act 1981

– Offshore Insurance Act, 1981-82

– Cook Islands Monetary Board Act 1981

– International Partnerships Act 1984

– The Development Investment Act 1977

Taxation – Cook Islands Tax

All international entities are exempt from taxation. The Cook Islands have enacted strong protective measures ensuring the confidentiality and secrecy of all international companies, bypassing foreign authorities seeking tax or financial information.

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Benefits of Setting up a Cook Islands Offshore Entitycook islands ibc

– There are no taxes on offshore profits

– Only one director and shareholder needed to form an IBC or LLC

– Corporate directors are allowed

– Meetings can take place anywhere in the world

– Do not need to submit accounts

– Confidential, secure and private

– Reasonable annual license fee USD$300

– The Cook Islands have very strict legislation that keeps foreign authorities from getting access to financial, tax or an any offshore account information

– Nominee account holders may be used for an additional level of privacy

– No minimum share capital requirement.

– Shares may be of no par value

– Shares may be in all currencies

– No public registry of International Companies Information can only be obtained with permission from the Company itself (unless there is a criminal offences pending)

– There are no requirement to file annual accounts

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Why Choose Cook Islands as an Offshore Tax Havencook islands ibc

The Cook Islands remain a popular destination among individuals and businesses seeking a tax-free environment in which to establish themselves through one of the various offshore packages offered to international clients. These include:

– Cook Islands International Company (IC)

– Cook Islands Limited Liability Company (LLC)

– Cook Islands International Asset Protection Trust

The Cook Islands offshore structures offer some of the best advantages for asset protection, tax planning and offshore banking, making it one of the most sought-after jurisdictions in the world.

The Cook Islands have an Exclusive Economic Zone, which is a free zone area covering all the islands and nearly 2 million square kilometers of surrounding ocean. The Cook Islands have been specializing in asset protection trusts and offshore services since legislation passed in 1989 and 1982 respectively.

The legislation circumvents tax requirements and gives individuals and corporations the ability of added layers of privacy and confidentiality. The Cook Islands have very strong asset protection legislation in place that prevents foreign authorities from accessing account information.

Unlike many other foreign jurisdictions, the Cook Islands generally disregard foreign court orders, and thanks to their discretionary laws makes it illegal to disclose any names of information related to Cook trusts.

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Cook Islands IC Company Formation

(Cook Islands International Company/IBC/Corporation)

A Cook Islands International Company (IC) or International Business Company (IBC) as it is refereed to in other jurisdictions, is an offshore entity giving individuals and corporations numerous advantages such as security, anonymity, and tax planning benefits. The Cook Islands are a total of fifteen islands located in the South Pacific, northeast of New Zealand and between American Samoa and French Polynesia.

The Cook Islands offshore financial sector emerged in 1982 with the passing of the Cook Islands International Companies Act, which was later accompanied by an amending piece of asset protection legislation that is regarded as the most comprehensive and secure pieces of legislation in the world, firmly ensuring the assets of foreign Cook Island investors.

Over the years, the Cook Islands government has, time and time again, supported its position as an offshore financial center, refusing to comply with foreign directives and court orders seeking to strong arm the local government and breech the impenetrable Cook Islands offshore sector. While many other jurisdictions have come under the scrutiny of foreign governments, the Cook Islands have been able to escape such investigative processes.

Companies incorporated in the Cook Islands enjoy structural flexibility and simple administrative procedures in a highly secure and confidential location. There are minimal reporting and regulating restrictions with comprehensive protective offshore laws that ensure client security and confidentiality. There are no other offshore jurisdictions that can boast of such extensive asset protection measures—the Cook Islands are truly the safest place in the world.

cook islands ibc

Advantages & Top Uses of a Cook Island IBC

Advantages of a Cook Islands IC

A Cook Islands IC enables companies and individuals to benefit from a number advantages including, but not limited to:

– Zero tax

– Political and economic stability

– Strict enforcement of legislation

– The worlds most secure asset protection trust legislation

– An English Common Law System

– English speaking country

– Minimum disclosure requirements

– Currency diversification

– Limiting personal liability

– Flexible requirements

– Minimum financial reporting requirements

– Strict Privacy Laws

Efficient business regulations

– Fast incorporation

– Straightforward registration procedures

– No limitations to the share capital value and currency

– No requirements of minimum paid-up capital

Confidentiality and Privacy

Benefits from a closed registry
Names of directors and shareholders are not made public
Nominee shareholders and directors are also available, providing another layer of privacy

Asset security and protection

Maintained via provisions that restrict seizure, expropriation or confiscation of assets by foreign authorities or creditors

Enhanced Privacy Law

There is no public registry of International Companies, and information can only be obtained with permission from the company itself.

Anonymous Ownership

Cook Island corporations share certificates can be issued in Nominative or Bearer form with or without par value.

No Auditing Requirements

The Cook Island requirements can be bypassed through a company resolution

Top Uses of a Cook Islands IC

There are no restrictions from doing business anywhere outside of the Cook Islands, except where activities are deemed as being illegal or require a license to legally conduct such business.

The only limitations are in conducting business within the Cook Islands and when such activities are in banking, insurance or real estate, which require an appropriate license.

The formation of an IC can be used for, including but not limited to:

– Offshore savings and investments

– Manufacturing

– Transportation

– Trade and distribution

– Forex and stock trading

– E-commerce

– Professional service company

– Confidentiality

– International trading

– Financial management


KEY CORPORATE FEATURES
General
Type of Company International
Political Stability Good
Common or Civil Law Common
Disclosure of Beneficial Owner No
Migration of Domicile Permitted Yes
Tax on Offshore Profits Nil
Language of Name Latin and other alphabets
Corporate Requirements
Minimum Number of Shareholders / Members One
Minimum Number of Directors / Managers One
Corporate Directors / Managers Permitted Yes
Company Secretary Required Yes
Usual Authorised Capital US$5,000
Local Requirements
Registered Office/Agent Yes
Company Secretary Yes
Local Directors No
Local Meetings No
Government Register of Directors / Managers Yes
Government Register of Shareholders / Members No
Annual Requirements
Annual Return Yes
Submit Accounts No (by resolution)
Recurring Government Costs
Minimum Annual Tax / Licence Fee US$300
Annual Return Filing Fee Nil
Other
Requirement to file annual return Yes

cook islands ibc

Taxation of a Cook Islands International Company

A Cook Islands offshore International Company is exempt from all taxes. This includes, but is not limited to:

– No income tax

– No capital gains tax

– No sales tax

– No stock sale or transfer tax

– No capital stock tax

– No property tax

– No estate tax

– No gift tax

– No stamp tax

– No succession tax

– No inventory tax

Corporate Details of a Cook Islands International Company

Official Language

The official language is English although Cook Islands Maori is spoken amongst the local population.

Language of Company Name

A Cool Islands International Company may be in any language however it must be accompanied by an English translation

Exchange Controls

There are a few restrictions when dealing in New Zealand Dollars; however there are no restrictions on the movement of funds in any other currency

Type of Law

English Common Law

Principal Corporate Legislation

The International Companies Act 1981-1982

Restrictions to Company Name

A company cannot use an identical or similar name of a company that is already incorporated

Suffixes of Limited Liability

A Cook Islands International Company must use Limited or Ltd to denote liability

Classes of Shares Permitted

Preference shares, redeemable shares, shares with or without voting rights and shares of no par value are all permitted

Taxation

Any International Company incorporated in the Cook Islands is exempt from all local taxation.

Confidentiality and Anonymity

Nominee services are allowed which ensures confidentiality

Restrictions

An International Company is restricted from conducting business within the Cook Islands, as well as holding any business in real estate, insurance, or banking without the proper license.

Directors

The minimum number of directors is one. Directors may be either a body corporate or a natural person. They may of any nationality and need not be resident in the Cook Islands.

Secretary

A Cook Islands local qualified secretary must be appointed

Shareholders

There must be one shareholder, either and individual or a corporate body

Corporate Meetings

Meetings can take place anywhere in the world

Double Tax Treaties

There are no Double Tax Treaties although the Cook Islands have signed sixteen different Tax Information Exchange Agreements with other countries. However, this provision is only related to criminal matters as the Cook Island authorities never respond to foreign court orders or tax information related requests.

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Overview of a Cook Islands LLC Formationcook islands llc

A Cook Islands LLC (Limited Liability Company) formation is a flexible, offshore, international LLC company model that gives a broad foundation, allowing the company to form its structure according to its own rules, rather than through a rigid mandate.  company model that gives a broad foundation for overseas business operations.

As the demand for flexible offshore company structures became apparent within the offshore market, The Cook Islands International Limited Liability Companies Act 2008 was passed, echoing the continuing growth of the Cook Islands offshore sector. The passing of this piece of legislation makes the Cook Islands one of the most strategic jurisdictions to form an international LLC.

An LLC is a blend of both partnership and corporate structures by providing a layer of limited liability, protecting owners from the debts incurred by the LLC. A Cook Islands LLC offers further protection from the strong arm of foreign governments and creditors, by separating the rights of its members and that of the overseas LLC. A Cook Islands LLC coupled with an International Trust is the strongest, single-jurisdiction offshore asset protection product currently available.

The Cook Islands continue to grow as an offshore financial destination, while at the same time frequently amending their offshore protection laws, ensuring the security of investors. A Cook Islands LLC enjoys structural flexibility, complete confidentiality, as well as minimal reporting and regulating procedures. It is no wonder why today the Cook Islands is the most exciting place in the world to establish an offshore presence.

Key Corporate Features of a Cook Island LLC

Cook Islands LLC Corporate Details
General
Type of Entity Limited Liability
Type of Law English Common Law
Governed by Limited Liability Companies Act 2008
Registered Office in Cook Islands No (but must have a registered local agent)
Our time to establish a new company 3 days
Minimum government fees (excluding taxation) USD $200
Corporate Taxation No
Access to Double Taxation Treaties No
Managers
Minimum number One
Local required No
Publicly accessible records No
Location of meetings Anywhere
Corporate directorship allowed Yes
Members
Minimum number One
Publicly accessible records No
Corporate shareholder allowed Yes
Location of meetings Anywhere
Company Secretary
Required No
Local or qualified No
Accounts
Requirements to prepare No
Audit requirements No
Requirements to file accounts No
Publicly accessible accounts No
Recurring Government Costs
Minimum Annual Tax / License Fee USD $200
Annual Return Filing Fee USD $200
Other
Requirement to file annual return Yes
Migration of domicile permitted Yes

Top Uses & Advantages of a Cook Islands LLC

Top Uses

The operating agreement of a Cook Islands LLC may contain provisions for the conduct of any type of business as long as it is lawful. This includes, but is not limited to businesses dealing in:

– Real estate

– Estate planning

– Tax structuring flexibility

– Asset protection*

– Confidentiality of assets

* Used in conjunction with a Cook Islands International Trust, provides the most secure form of asset protection available.

Advantages

A Cook Islands LLC has a number of advantages that individuals and investors may benefit from, including but not limited to:

– Annual filing of accounts are not required

– Shareholders and Directors is known only by the trustee company

– Foreign creditors are limited in their capacity

– Foreign court orders are not recognized by the Cook Islands

– Members and Managers cannot be held liable for the debts of the LLC

– Flexibility of LLC structure as defined by the LLC rather than a restricting legislative mandate

– The LLC can be managed by the members or by managers independent of the members

– Complete confidentiality

– Less administrative processes than most corporations

– Asset protection benefits are not found anywhere else in the world

– Anonymity

– Flexibility

– Single Member LLCs are permitted

– No requirement for local presence

– Transfer of existing LLCs to the Cook Islands is possible

– Supportive and strong asset protection and privacy legislation

Enhanced Privacy Law

No public LLC Registry—information may only be obtained from the Company itself

Confidentiality

No requirement to prepare annual accounts, appoint auditor or disclose any information to any Cook Islands authority. The only information that is given is through an annual return with the Registrar, giving the name of the LLC and address of the Registered Agent.

Enhanced Creditor Protection

A creditor cannot issue a charging order or interfere with the operations of the company nor seize, liquidate or force the dissolution of the company, however a Cook Islands LLC is not a substitute for an International Trust—the Cook Islands flagship asset protection product.

Requirements for a Cook Islands LLC

The requirements to register a Cook Island LLC are straightforward. A registered agent, acting through a Cook Islands trustee company will submit the necessary documents needed to the Registrar, including:

– Name of the LLC

– Registered address of the LLC

– Name and address of the registered agent

Taxation of a Cook Islands LLC

A Cook Islands LLC is exempt from all taxes.

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