Introduction to Cayman Islands Corporations
The Cayman Islands were once part of the British Empire as a colony and then became a British Overseas Territory. English is the primary language in the Caymans. English common law has always been the standard for its judicial system. The Cayman Islands are well known as a tax haven because it has no income taxes and has an easy process for offshore incorporation. The Cayman Exempted Company has become a very popular choice for foreign businesspeople to hold offshore bank accounts because of the privacy and Cayman tax-free benefits.
Cayman Islands corporations operate under the Companies Law of 1961. Their corporate laws attract international business and numerous offshore investors choose to incorporate in their jurisdiction. Incorporating in the Cayman Islands is attractive to many because it is a very developed and stable economy, including support from trust companies, lawyers, banks, insurance managers, accountants, administrators, and mutual fund managers. Furthermore, companies can find local support services to aid them.
Benefits of a Cayman Islands Company
Why do companies incorporate in Cayman Islands? There are many reasons why foreign investors choose the Cayman Islands for incorporation. Some of the benefits which Cayman corporations receive include:
The government has always been stable and the economy has remained strong due to its popular banking system, offshore corporations, and tourism.
Unlike many other so-called “tax havens”, the Cayman Islands follows international tax regulations, which has kept them from being under suspicion or black-listed by the international Financial Action Task Force, and by the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Incorporation process can only take one day. That’s because there is no requirement for government regulatory authority approval. In addition, their initial corporate registration and annual renewal fees are low when compared to other jurisdictions.
Forming a Cayman Islands corporation provides options for flexibility. For instance, corporate directors and officers do not have to be legal residents.
Corporate documents related to conducting business such as the register of shareholders or meeting minutes do not have to be registered with the Cayman Islands government and can be stored anywhere in the world. In addition, there is no requirement to have an annual shareholder meeting or an annual audit. The public is not allowed to view The Register of Directors and Officers or the Register of Shareholders. Furthermore, company accounts remain private in this jurisdiction.
No Upfront Capital
There is no requirement for depositing authorized capital in a bank or in escrow when incorporating in the Cayman Islands.
No Shares Transfer Tax
When the corporation transfers shares to third parties there are no taxes or duty stamps, unless the shares are related to real estate investments.
Mergers with other corporations either in the Cayman Islands or in other countries are allowed. The final merger can result in that corporation to exist in any jurisdiction. Merging corporations often choose to remain in the Cayman Islands jurisdiction doe to the many benefits offered.
A Cayman Islands corporation is allowed to have only one director and one shareholder who could be the same person or entity. No other directors (including a resident director), shareholders, or officers are required.
Cayman Corporate Name
Naming your Cayman Islands corporation requires being aware of the restrictions that come along with this process. Your corporation name needs to be unique and cannot be similar to the name of another corporation. Also, no wording that mentions royal patronage like “bank,” “insurance,” “trust,” “chartered,” “assurance,” “mutual fund,” “company management,” or “Chamber of Commerce” can be included in the name without a license to do so. Make sure to check if your name selections are both available and usable before starting your incorporation process.
Cayman Island Registered Agent and Registered Office
In order to form a corporation in the Cayman Islands, you need a Cayman Islands registered agent and registered office which is automatically included with the service of forming the company. This company has established tens of thousands of offshore companies since 1906. You can obtain information by using the telephone numbers or inquiry form on this page.
To incorporate in the Cayman Islands, a minimum of one shareholder is required.
Directors and Officers
At least one director is required for incorporation in the Cayman Islands. Resident directors and secretaries are not required for incorporation.
The Cayman Islands requires no minimum authorized capital shares.
Profits and distributions to shareholders along with exchanging shares are not taxable either to the corporation or the shareholder. There is no withholding of taxes. In addition, there are no estate, gift, or inheritance taxes levied on corporate share transfers.
Annual registration fees for Cayman Islands corporations according to the Cayman Islands registrar of companies fee schedule cost $750 USD as of this writing. There are additional fees for the registered agent that are required.
Public access to records in The Register of Directors and Officers or the Register of Shareholders is prohibited. Shareholder and director names remain private in the Cayman Islands.
Accounting and Audit Requirements
Annual returns must be filed yearly in the Cayman Islands. However, there is no requirement for corporations to submit financial records when filing annual returns.
Annual General Meeting
An annual general meeting is required for corporations operating in the Cayman Islands. These meetings do not need to be held locally, and companies may hold their meetings anywhere in the world.
Time Required for Incorporation
Once you have completed the process of registration, the turnaround time to receive a certificate of incorporation is anywhere from one to four days, depending on the documentation and registration turnaround time.
In the Cayman Islands, shelf companies are available to investors wishing to incorporate faster.