An offshore company in Nevis: should you register an IBC or an LLC?

Nevis is one of the most popular tax havens in the world. The process of registering a company there is fast and it gives an opportunity to lessen your tax burden and protect your assets from lawsuits. The latter advantage makes Nevis especially attractive and the popularity of the jurisdiction in the international arena is growing contrary to the modern tendencies in the offshore world.

Photo - Company registration in Nevis

Basic facts about Nevis

Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea and together with St Kitts, it forms a tiny federation. The population of the island state is only 11,000 people. The official language there is English. The main sources of national income are the tourist industry and registration of offshore companies.

Why is registration of offshore companies in Nevis so popular?

The interest to Nevis on the part of international entrepreneurs is conditioned by the following factors:

  • There are no stamp duties, nor taxes on global income, nor inheritance tax, nor gift tax, nor dividend tax, nor wealth tax, nor capital gains tax in Nevis.
  • It is fast and simple to register an offshore company in Nevis – the whole process takes about a week.
  • There are no restrictions on the amount of invested and disinvested capital.
  • A single person or a single legal entity can act as the company founder in Nevis.
  • There are no restrictions as to the company founders, directors, nor managers.
  • Neither financial reports nor audits are required.
  • Nevis is off the FATF black and grey lists.
  • The company shareholders and directors’ registers are closed to the public; nominee services are allowed.
  • Bearer shares can be issued in Nevis.
  • There is no currency control in the country.
  • St Kitts and Nevis runs one of the most popular citizenship-by-investment programs.
  • The following treaties on avoidance of double taxation are available: with CARICOM states and also with Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the USA.
  • Courts of law in Nevis disregard court decisions made in other countries including the USA. Only the decisions made by local judges have legal effect in the country.
  • It is possible to re-domicile a company to Nevis from another jurisdiction while preserving the company name and the foundation date (there is even an express re-domiciliation procedure available through the Corporation Registrar).

Thanks to these factors, we are witnessing an increase in the number of offshore companies registered in Nevis. The jurisdiction is especially popular with small- and medium-size business owners. This business instrument does not only allow saving on taxes and protecting assets but it also requires very modest investments.

Registering an offshore company in Nevis: IBC vs. LLC

It is possible to set up two types of offshore companies in Nevis: an International Business Company (IBC) and a Limited Liability Company (LLC). In addition, three types of trusts can be established: a  Protective Trust, a Charitable Trust and a Purpose Trust plus various Funds.

The statistics of offshore company registration in Nevis for the first nine months of 2020 by the company type:

  • IBC – 614;
  • LLC – 358;
  • Trust – 72;
  • Fund – 10.

As you can see, IBCs outperform LLCs and all other types of business structures.

Offshore company in Nevis: the strong points of an IBC

Registering an offshore company in Nevis as an IBC, you can engage in any legal type of business activity. The procedure of establishing an IBC in Nevis can be divided into the following stages:

  1. Contact a licensed registration agent.
  2. Reserve the offshore company name via an online service.
  3. Compile Articles of Association and submit them to the Registrar of Corporations. The document shall contain the following information: the make of the company, the purpose of establishment, the name of the registration agent and his/ her address, the total number of ownership shares and their characteristics, the names and the addresses of the company founder and directors.
  4. Obtain the Certificate of Incorporation and the Endorsement Certificate).

Main advantages of registering an offshore company in Nevis in the form of an IBC

  • Very relaxed requirements to the company founders and officers: they can be private individuals or corporate entities, residents of Nevis or non-residents. Managers can be hired to run the company. No General Meetings of the Shareholders are required. The officers of the company can issue Powers of Attorney in handwriting.
  • There is no need to file financial reports nor have audits but the corporate financial documents must be kept and they must be submitted on the registration agent or the tax authorities’ request.  
  • The registered capital of a Nevis-based IBC can come in any national currency. Bearer shares can be issued but their register must be kept with the registration agent.  
  • Amendments to the Articles of Association of a Nevis-based IBC can be made at any time. The offshore company can also merge with local corporations of foreign companies.
  • Any foreign company can be reregistered as an offshore IBC in Nevis.
  • Treaties on avoidance of double taxation can be used in business operations.
  • On top of that, there is a wonderful bank in Nevis that will serve your corporate needs perfectly well. Please follow this link to read more about the bank.

Offshore company in Nevis in the form of an LLC

Registering an offshore company in Nevis in the form of an LLC will suit the purpose of asset protection, in the first place. Of course, a Limited Liability Company registered in Nevis can be used for any kind of legal business activities such as trade, estate management, service operations, and so on. Many LLCs in the country do business with US partners.

The procedure of LLC registration is almost the same as that of IBC registration in Nevis. The only difference is that the charter capital is formed by the founders’ contributions in the former case while it is formed by the issuance of shares in the latter case.

Main advantages of registering an offshore company in Nevis in the form of an LLC

An LLC has the same advantages as an IBC does but there are some specific features characteristic of LLCs only:

  • Pass-through taxation when the profits and the taxes are passed from the company to the owners;
  • A simpler registration procedure as fewer documents are required;
  • It is a bit cheaper to set up an LLC in Nevis;
  • The company founder can act as its director.

LLCs registered in Nevis often serve the interests of US corporations protecting them from lawsuits.

Differences and similarities between Nevis-registered IBCs and LLCs

 IBCLLC
Corporate legislationNevis Business Corporation Ordinance 2017Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance 2017
Capital formationIssuance of sharesMonetary and non-monetary contributions but the registered capital does not have to be deposited
Company officersRequired (managers, a secretary)Not required
Main registration documentArticles of IncorporationArticles of Organization, Operating Agreement (the latter not mandatory)
Name endIncorporated, IncLLC, L.L.C., LC, L.C.
Registration timeframeFrom 24 hours
Registration agentRequired + a registered legal address in Nevis
Re-domiciliation opportunityExists.
Reporting requirementsNo reporting requirements but the registration agent must have updated information about all the company officers and beneficiaries
Number of shareholders/ ownersPrivate – minimum 1, public – minimum 51
Minimum number of directorsprivate IBC – 1, public IBC – 31
Residence requirementsShareholders, directors and other company officers can reside anywhere in the world and be of any nationalityLLC founders and managers can reside anywhere in the world and be of any nationality
Double taxation avoidance agreementsApplicableNot applicable
Main purposesTo make an IPO, attract investmentsSmall- and medium-size business, holding companies

If you would like to register an offshore company in Nevis but you are unsure how you should structure your business, please apply for our assistance. InternationalWealth experts will help you with the following issues:

  • Choose the optimal business structure in accordance with your business objectives;
  • Compile the registration documents package to set up an offshore company in Nevis;
  • Register the company with the Registrar of Corporations in Nevis;
  • Set up an account with a bank in Nevis, with a bank in a different country, or with an international payment system.

Please drop us a line in the live chat or email us at the address found at the top of the page and apply for a consultation. We will be happy to assist you in registering an offshore company in Nevis within very reasonable timeframes.

What is the most popular company ownership form in Nevis?

According to the statistics for the first nine months of 2020, the most popular form of company ownership in Nevis is IBC.

What are the purposes of registering an offshore company in Nevis?

Most often, international entrepreneurs register offshore companies in Nevis to protect and/ or manage their assets, to save on taxes, to accumulate capital, to make an IPO, to attract investors, and to meet other business goals.

What are the main advantages of registering an offshore company in Nevis?

Nevis boasts a high level of information confidentiality, lack of taxes, secure protection of assets, low cost of company registration and maintenance.

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