With about 50 countries in the world offering tax benefits to offshore business, it is quite reasonable to ask which offshore country is the best to incorporate in. Some of those countries are very popular and have a natural image of offshore tax havens - like British Virgin Islands, Panama or Belize. It is less known that some attractive tax benefits are on offer to some types of non-resident businesses in countries that do not ring the bell as "tax-havens" - for example, UK, US, Holland, Iceland or Denmark.

There can be no standard reply as to which is the best offshore jurisdiction. That answer actually depends upon the anticipated use of the offshore company, upon the personal and business circumstances of its owners and upon variety of tax regulations in force in the countries where the offshore company will engage in business.

Before going into the particular detail, it would yet be useful to define what is a tax haven, anyway?


The infrastructure of an offshore jurisdiction is important. You would not like to place your corporate nest-egg in a country which takes ages to get through by telephone. Factors such as quality of telecommunications and internet, physical access to the country, business language, work ethics, legal system, confidentiality culture, exchange controls, quickness and variety of administrative and financial services obtainable all can influence the smooth running of your business. You should be able to travel to the particular offshore jurisdiction easily, safely and without visa.

Take time zone into account - dealing with a jurisdiction on the other side of the world may regularly make you lose a day while communicating via email, or to make calls in the middle of the night.

Work ethics is an significant factor. Some regions of the world tend to be more laid back and relaxed than others - not useful if You need something done fast. Some countries are historically blessed with diligence, confidentiality and prudence. Some are less so.