The Cook Islands is an archipelago of fifteen little islands, situated in the South Pacific Ocean, between New Zealand and Hawaii. It is one of the members of the Commonwealth and it is freely connected with New Zealand. Cook Islands residents are likewise New Zealand natives.
The islands have a linked territory of 236 sq. km, yet the Exclusive Economic Zone possesses 1,800,000 square kilometres or more offshore.
It is populated by around 21,000 occupants. A large portion of them lives in Rarotonga Island, where is discovered its capital Avarua and its international airport. Cook Island remains a prevalent destination among people and organizations seeking for a tax-exempt condition in which to build up themselves through one of the different offshore packages offered to international clients. These include:
- Cook Islands Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- The Cook Islands International Asset Protection Trust
- Cook Islands International Company (IC)
The Cook Islands offshore formation offers probably the best advantages for protection of your assets, offshore banking and tax planning, making it a standout amongst the most looked for jurisdictions of the planet.
The Cook Islands have an Exclusive Economic Zone, which is a free zone territory covering every one of the islands and almost 2 million square kilometres of encompassing sea. The Cook Islands have been concentrated on a special area in assets protection trusts and offshore since 1989 and 1982 when legislation was passed respectively.
The legislation bypasses tax requisites and gives people and corporations the capacity of included layers of protection, privacy and confidentiality. The Cook Islands have solid asset protection legislation set up that keeps foreign authorities from getting to account data.
Contrary to that numerous foreign jurisdiction, the Cook Islands, by and large, dismiss foreign court requests, and gratitude to their optional laws make it unlawful to reveal any names of information identified with Cook trusts.
- There are no offshore profits taxes
- To form an IBC or LLC only a single director and shareholder is needed
- Corporate directors are permitted
- Meetings can occur at any place on the planet
- Accounts are not needed to be submitted
- Private, safe and confidential
- There is very strict legislation on the Cook Islands that prevents foreign authorities from accessing financial, tax or offshore account information
- Nominee account holders may be used for a further privacy and protection level
- There is no minimum requirement for share capital
- Shares may not have a par value
- Shares can be held in every currency forms
- No public registry of International Companies-Information must be acquired with consent from the Company itself (except if there is a criminal offence pending)
- There are no requirements for filing annual accounts
Type of Law
Cook Island law depends on English Common Law, which was built up when the Cook Islands were under British protection in 1888. The nation was annexed by New Zealand in 1901 and 1965 Zealand was granted the independent authority.
Primary Corporate Legislation
In the Cook Islands, there are three main pieces of legislation dealing with international offshore companies and services are:
- International Trusts Acts 1984
- International Companies Act 1982
- Limited Liability Company Act 2008
Several other pieces of legislation set out rules and procedures for international investors, for insurance offshore schemes and for the offshore banking sector, which are:
- Cook Islands Monetary Board Act 1981
- Offshore Banking Act of 1981
- Trustee Companies Act of 1981-82
- Offshore Insurance Act, 1981-82
- International Partnerships Act 1984
- International Partnerships Act 1984
The Cook Islands Banking System
The law detailing the Cook Islands Banking Act 1981 and the 2003 Bank Act provide for the enactment of a bank license and confidentiality of the banks.
Section 4 of the Bank Act 2003 stipulates three types of licences: domestic banking licences, international banking licenses and international restricted banking licences.
With a domestic banking permit, the licensee shall be entitled to conduct domestic banking activities on the Cook Islands, in any currency, with residents or visitors to the Cook Islands. This arrangement applies to the three local banks, which up to this point had been authorized under the Banking Act 1969, which is cancelled by the Act.
An international Cook Islands banking license will permit the licensee, under the International Company Act, the International Trusts Act or the International Partnership Act, to conduct business with individuals not resident in the Cook Islands or international companies, partnerships and trusts incorporated or registered on the Cook Islands. Until now, the Offshore Banking Act 1981- 1982 repealed by the Act had permitted these banking entities.
Another class accessible to foreign banks authorized in their home country wishing to continue banking through the cook islands is a confined international banking licence. Such licensees can just work in the Cook Islands through a trustee company authorized under the Trustee Companies Act.
All license applications are now before the FSC with the passage of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Act 2003. Every year, licensed banks are required to submit their audited accounts.
Tax collection – Cook Islands Tax
Except for paying stamp duties, each international entity is exempt from tax collection. Offshore entities are, to the extent of the companies involved, those enrolled under the 1981 – 2 International Company Act (as amended); This includes offshore banking and insurance agencies in this way. Solid defensive and protective measures have been approved by the Cook Islands to ensure the privacy of each international enterprise bypassing foreign authorities seeking duties or financial information.
Visit our Bank Account Opening section for opening a Cook Islands bank account.
For more information or to inquire about opening an offshore account in other jurisdictions on the Cook Islands, please feel free to contact us now.