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Anyone who wants to open a business venture minus a physical office and with exemptions on taxes and duties, less or no capital requirement and reduced overhead costs may choose to set up an offshore company. An offshore company is any entity established outside the country of its main operations or outside where its owners/shareholders reside.
The UAE continues to be the preferred investment destination for many because of its world-class business infrastructure including best offshore setup facilities, transparency and ease of doing business.
Here, businessmen can only set up offshore companies in free zones, i.e., Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) Offshore and RAK Offshore. They are required to hire an accredited agent (can be a legal, consultancy or accounting firm) registered with the free zone where they plan to set up. The agent is the only authority that can form the offshore company, which is required to have at least one shareholder or director. Setup fees may vary.
Although offshore firms enjoy tax advantages and 100% ownership, those incorporated in Dubai are not allowed to rent office space, and conduct trading and financial activities in the country, but are mandated to furnish the Dubai Government with audited financial statements every year. In Ras Al Khaimah, offshore companies are not permitted to carry out media and financial transactions.
Offshore company formation is ideal for multinational establishments, HNWIs and even SMEs.
• JAFZA, RAK two offshore firm setup destinations
• Businessmen required to hire a registered agent
• Setup fees vary depending on services required
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Classifeds