[The advantages of Denmark outlined by Mr. van Rosen have since been eliminated.]
Despite the current dispute with Spain, Gibraltar offers excellent facilities for offshore business, in the form of an Exempt Company, which enjoys exemption from taxes of all kinds.
The country is well-known for its Anstalt, which may be formed like a company or like a trust. There are also companies, foundations, trusts and trust enterprises.
Luxembourg is a location for holding companies and has the further advantage that interest (but not a royalty) is payable to non-residents without withholding tax, while at the same time benefiting from the tax treaties on the incoming interest. Most developed countries nowadays, however, may be expected to display an antagonism to structures created simply for tax purpose, and this is expressly stated in some tax treaties e.g. that with the United Kingdom.
|This is a high-tax country, but the Tax Department is well accustomed to international transactions. A holding company enjoys a participation privilege, which exempts the incoming dividends from tax. Outgoing dividends are subject to withholding tax, but interest and dividends are not, and a ruling can be obtained.|
Sometimes relief may be obtained in the source country without giving rise to a liability in the base country. Examples are to be found in the Swiss Partnership, in the remittance basis in the United Kingdom and in the Stepping Stone.
The Domiciliary Company is specially useful in patent licensing. The Société simple is a form of partnership which may have no Swiss tax liability but nevertheless enjoy the benefit of the Swiss treaties.
There are many reasons for choosing a low-tax country: tax may be avoided, or postponed, or limited to the share of each of the parties. It may be desirable to appoint an agent in a high-tax country to act on behalf of a zero-tax entity. This is an example of a Stepping Stone but this is also used to benefit from tax treaties, e.g. where a Cayman company dealing in commodities incorporates a Swiss subsidiary to make sales in the United Kingdom. This kind of Stepping Stone may operate to shift the profit back to the zero-tax company, but it may nevertheless be wise to utilise a tax treaty stepping-stone, simply to shut the door to all enquiry in the country of purchase into the overall profit of the transaction. The best Stepping Stone is one which is at arms length to both parties: a bank is commonly used in this way interest is deductible in the high-tax country, but received by an entity in a zero-tax jurisdiction. Two branches of the same bank may be used, but two banks may be better. It can be desirable to base in a high-tax country a transaction which is expected to run at a deficit, or where a tax treaty may move profits out of a country with a higher tax rate.A change of residence may be advantageous not only to individuals (see below), but also to companies and trusts.
This is typically an offshore accumulating trust with power to trade. One advantage over an offshore company is that it can be easier to show management and control in the offshore location.
Their legal systems are similar, but not identical. Barbados is not a tax haven, but has its International Business Company (as do Antigua, Grenada and St. Vincent); it does not carry the tax haven image, and offers treaty advantages. Cayman has its Exempted Trust, which features (among other things) or 100-year perpetuity period; the law takes away from the beneficiaries all rights to enforce the trust and transfers those to the Registrar.
Monaco has a business tax but no personal income tax. Few civil law countries have a trust law, but Monaco recognises trusts made under foreign law. Tax authorities will agree to an administrative office of a foreign company and will tax it on 8% of its outgoings.