Top 5 Places to Incorporate Your Business
Starting and running a business in your home country is safe, but “safe” is never good enough for ambitious entrepreneurs. If you’re ambitious, penetrating new international markets has to be at the top of your agenda. You have to take risky gambles in order to succeed in business. Though risky to start, offshore incorporations open up new B2C marketing possibilities, a larger target audience, new business experiences, and more steady income streams.
What does it mean to “incorporate” a business entity? In a nutshell, business incorporation means registering a business as a legal entity separate from you, the owner. In the eyes of the law, the business is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Corporation that can legally transact business just like an individual citizen would. An LLC or corporation can initiate lawsuits, acquire & own property, and be sued. You are not liable for any losses the business might incur or lawsuits it may attract.
How to Choose the Right Place to Incorporate an Offshore Business
Here are a few considerations to make before deciding to incorporate a business in a country:
– Tax implications on the business, its investors, and employees. Which tax relief provisions exist in the country and how do they benefit investors? How do income tax liabilities affect your employees’ overall remuneration? Are there capital gains liabilities that might affect your business profitability?
– The amount of paperwork (licenses and other legal documents) involved.
– How rich is the local labor market? What’s the cost of hiring and retaining human capital? How easy is it to fire employees in case you need to downscale or get rid of deadwood?
– How easy is it for your foreign employees to get work permits?
– How stable is the country, politically and economically?
– Residency requirements- do the country’s business laws require you to relocate to the country before registering your business?
– How easy are mergers and acquisitions in the country? You might need to sell, merge, or float the business down the road.
– Availability of suppliers and customers.
– Laws surrounding corporate governance.
– Availability of recognized payment aggregators such as Square and PayPal. You don’t want to be forced to use unfavorable local payment processors that may not even inspire confidence in your business partners.
– Does the country have a Double-Tax Agreement (DTA) with your country? A DTA shields you from double taxation on your income.
Top 5 Places to Incorporate Your Business
- The United States
The US is the global leader on so many fronts. First, it is among the largest and most populous countries in the world. Second, its citizens have a higher-than-average purchasing power. Thirdly, on top of having a stable economy, the country has limitless commercial potential in terms of tech adoption. Fourth, being the biggest democracy in the world, the country is more politically stable and progressive. Lastly, although the country is far from perfect, it is made up of people of all kinds of races, religions, and sexual orientations. That gives you access to a culturally-rich labor market.
All the factors above combine to create a thriving environment that supports business growth. However, the United States has 50 states that operate almost like distinct countries. Each state has its own policies and regulations for foreign investors, particularly with regard to tax incentives. You may need a little bit of time to sample different states before picking the most favorable for your business goals.
Switzerland is very stable economically and politically. The country is also very accommodating, which is why it hosts many refugees from across Eastern Europe. It provides the ideal environment for business sustained growth and development.
It is worth noting that Switzerland is a small landlocked country. To encourage foreign trade, therefore, the country has put in place policies that promote foreign free trade. Import duties here are low and import quotas are few. The country is also known for favorable corporate banking facilities & services as well as impressive grants and tax incentives. Capital gain taxes, value-added taxes, and corporation taxes are all below 8%, which is significantly lower than in most western countries. What’s more, incorporation in Switzerland is so seamless that you can have everything done and dusted within a week!
The entire Southeast Asian region is prime for international business. The region’s economy is growing steadily thanks to decades of peace and political stability. Singapore is at the heart of this economic growth.
If you want to set a base in the fastest-growing economic bloc in the world right now, Singapore has to be your starting point. For starters, the country has DTA agreements with more than 50 western countries. That makes it the perfect getaway for western businesses. Secondly, the country operates under strict and comprehensive business laws that foster an ideal business environment for foreign businesses to thrive. Thirdly, incorporating a company in Singapore is a breeze considering that there are locally-based companies that specialize in incorporation paperwork. You can conduct the entire process online without ever setting foot in Singapore.
There are no capital gain taxes in Singapore, on top of there being a ton of tax incentives for foreign businesses. Singapore is also quite developed in terms of communication and transport infrastructure, creating a solid foundation for businesses to grow and prosper. The country is home to the region’s best seaport and container ports. Lastly, everyone in Singapore is connected to high-speed internet, which makes it easy for you to manage your business remotely and hire a remote workforce.
4. Hong Kong
Incorporating a business in Hong Kong is effortless, not to mention the unlimited business perks that the city has to offer. For starters, Hong Kong presents you with a ready market of almost 7.5 million people. Most of these people are in the upper middle class and have expensive tastes. Secondly, Hong Kong allows foreign business entities to register through e-registration, making the process seamless and convenient. Thirdly, compared to the rest of China, Hong Kong has much fewer restrictions on foreign businesses. The tax regime in Hong Kong is reasonably favorable- you won’t have to worry about sales tax and capital gains taxes, for example. Lastly, Hong Kong has allowed payment aggregators such as Stripe and PayPal, which makes international payments convenient and safe.
Panama is home to over 70 international banks that allow foreign investors to move money around the world without being watched by prying eyes. Panama guarantees you and your business partners maximum confidentiality and anonymity in all your business deals. The country is also economically and politically stable and safe. What’s more, Panama doesn’t charge foreign businesses any corporation tax for transactions made outside the country.
Incorporating a company overseas can be tedious, but it can also be highly rewarding. The trick is in finding the best available country to set up a shop. We hope that the article has opened your eyes to the endless business possibilities beyond your country’s borders.