Cook Islands International Company (IC)
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 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 structures. The last few years the Cook Islands, in order to comply with new international standards by the OECD and anti money laundering directives, have had to institute several automatic tax agreements and reporting requirements.
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.
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. The Cook Islands also offers two other widely-used offshore formation products for their strong asset protection and security measures.
For more information on the Advantages of Cook Islands as an Offshore Financial Center, click here.
Table of Contents:
A Cook Islands IC enables companies and individuals to benefit from a number advantages including, but not limited to:
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
Maintained via provisions that restrict seizure, expropriation or confiscation of assets by foreign authorities or creditors
There is no public registry of International Companies, and information can only be obtained with permission from the company itself.
The Cook Island requirements can be bypassed through a company resolution
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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:
|Cook Islands Company||Corporate Details|
|Type of Entity||International|
|Type of Law||Common Law|
|Governed by||The International Companies Act 1981-1982
Limited Liability Company Act 2008
|Registered Office in Cook Islands||Yes|
|Shelf company availability||Yes|
|Our time to establish a new company||3 days|
|Minimum government fees (excluding taxation)||USD $300.00|
|Access to Double Taxation Treaties||No|
|Share capital or equivalent|
|Standard currency||NZD New Zealand Dollar (NZD 1.15 = USD 1.0)|
|Minimum paid up||No minimum|
|Usual authorized||USD $5,000|
|Bearer shares allowed||Yes|
|No par value shares allowed||Yes|
|Publicly accessible records||No|
|Location of meetings||Anywhere|
|Corporate directorship allowed||Yes|
|Publicly accessible records||No|
|Corporate shareholder allowed||Yes|
|Location of meetings||Anywhere|
|Local or qualified||Yes|
|Requirements to prepare||Yes|
|Audit requirements||No (by resolution)|
|Requirements to file accounts||No (by resolution)|
|Publicly accessible accounts||No|
|Recurring Government Costs|
|Minimum Annual Tax||USD $300|
|Annual Return Filing Fee||None|
|Requirement to file annual return||Yes|
|Migration of domicile permitted||Yes|
The requirements to register a Cook Island IC are straightforward. A registered agent, acting through a Cook Islands trustee company will submit the necessary documents needed to the Registrar, including:
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A Cook Islands offshore International Company is exempt from all taxes. This includes, but is not limited to:
The official language is English although Cook Islands Maori is spoken amongst the local population.
A Cool Islands International Company may be in any language however it must be accompanied by an English translation
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
English Common Law
The International Companies Act 1981-1982 outlines the details for all International Business Companies (IBCs)
Other Offshore corporate legislations dealing with companies and services include:
And other corporate legislation dealing with banking, insurance and investing:
A company cannot use an identical or similar name of a company that is already incorporated
A Cook Islands International Company must use Limited or Ltd to denote liability
Preference shares, redeemable shares, shares with or without voting rights and shares of no par value are all permitted
Any International Company incorporated in the Cook Islands is exempt from all local taxation.
Nominee services are allowed which ensures confidentiality
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.
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.
A Cook Islands local qualified secretary must be appointed
There must be one shareholder, either and individual or a corporate body
Meetings can take place anywhere in the world
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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*Note for U.S. citizens: US citizens are limited in their tax reduction possibilities due to FATCA and CFC laws. Opening an offshore company can increase privacy and asset protection, but you can not eliminate your taxes without giving up your citizenship. If you are a US citizen you are obligated to pay taxes on all worldwide income. Read more here about FATCA and CFC laws.
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