Offshore Business Formation: Three Critical Considerations

April 4, 2019

You’re in startup mode and contemplating offshore incorporation. What should you consider? Let’s take a look.

Why Offshore?

Before you commit to moving your company to another country — if only on paper — ask yourself why. Is it solely for tax purposes? Do you want to attract top talent from another region? Do you want to position yourself near international manufacturing or technology hubs? Are most of your potential clients located outside of the United States?

Take a 360-degree look at the situation and then bring in a consultant who can provide insight about the hurdles your specific business may face in a given jurisdiction. He or she will also be able to give a list of options based on your needs.

Reputation Matters

Basing your business overseas has benefits and drawbacks. And those drawbacks can be greatly exacerbated if you chose a country saddled with a reputation problem. For better or worse, international politics hugely affect market conditions, and moving your company to a nation currently in the crosshairs is not always a prudent move. In the end, it could cost you dearly.

Hunting for a Tax Haven?

If you’re considering moving your business offshore for taxes purposes only, speak with an attorney first. Though tax schedules for some countries may seem attractive, the reality is a lot less rosy. In some instances, incorporating in a notorious tax shelter country may block you from securing merchant accounts with respectable banks.

Additionally, recent tax changes have made the taxation of foreign entities even less desirable.  In many cases,  the IRS taxes offshore businesses as much or more than stateside ones.

That said, Hong Kong is an attractive option for many tech startups because businesses are exempted from local levies as long as their workforce is located elsewhere.

Legal Requirements

You find a well-regarded jurisdiction with super tax laws and provides sufficient asset protection. Great, right!? Not so fast. You also need to look into issues like insurance, intellectual property, and other international business penalties. Moreover, if you don’t plan to live there, do you have a representative in the region? Do you need one?

Consultations for Offshore Business Formation

The Gordon Law Group has long worked with startups and established businesses looking to maximize their opportunities overseas. We consult on everything from tax positioning to promotional compliance. Our team is built for today’s market; we’re flexible, multi-disciplined, and maintain a valuable network of international connections.

Let’s talk about how we can get you where you want to be. Get in touch today to begin the conversation.

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