The Republic of Seychelles is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. Mahe is the largest island and the the capital called Victoria is located here. The Seychelles gained independence from Britain in 1976 and now has a stable, democratic government. The official languages are English, French and Seychellois Creole, however English remains the language of the government and busines.
The most important industries in the Seychelles are tourism and the financial services sector. Since the introduction of the International Business Companies Act in 1994 the Seychelles has grown into a competitive location for offshore company incorporations. This has made the offshore financial and corporate sector a rapidly developing part of the Seychelles economy.
The advantages that are offered by the formation of a Seychelles International Business Company’s are renowned. They offer:
- excellent tax benefits
- asset protection
- high confidentiality
The Seychelles has a good infrastructure with an international airport and exceptional telecommunications services. The main airport in Victoria is linked to a number of major European, Africa and Middle Eastern airports and with over 100 flights per week the Seychelles is very accessible. There are numerous international banks, and the local currency is the Seychelles Rupee however the official currency used in the offshore services sector is the US dollar.
As one of the most stable socio-economic regions in the world the Seychelles is a highly regarded jurisdiction in which to conduct international business activities.
Key Benefites of Seychelles Companies
- Seychelles International Business Companies have no tax liabilities.
- There is no minimum share capital requirement.
- No nationality restrictions on Directors or Shareholders and 100% foreign ownership is permitted.
- Only one Director and one Shareholder is required and these can be the same person.
- Minimal reporting requirements; no audit or tax returns are required.
- Cost effective ongoing maintenance.
- No requirement for a company Secretary.
- High degree of confidentiality with no public register of Shareholders or Directors and nominees can be used if required.
- No requirement for annual meeting to be held in the Seychelles, can be held anywhere in the world.
- There are no foreign exchange controls and funds can be freely in an out of the country.
Procedure of company registration
Seychelle IBC’s are incorporated under the regulations laid down by the 1994 International Business Companies Act. All IBC’s that conduct their business outside the Seychelles are allowed providing that their business is not banking, insurance or trust services. IBC’s must be registered through a locally registered agent.
The procedure for the formation of a Seychelles offshore company is fast and efficient.
The general process is as follows:
- An application form is completed with details of preferred name and details of beneficial directors and shareholders (nationality, country of residence, address, profession etc).
- A scanned and notarised copy of the passport of the beneficial Directors and Shareholders is required.
- An original proof of residence showing the name and address of the individual. This can be in the form of a utility bill or bank statement and must not be older than 3 months.
- A certificate of good standing is required.
- At this point Service Pro will issue an invoice for a Seychelles Company Formation. Upon receipt of payment we start the incorporation process.
- The application form, associated required personal documents and preferred company name is submitted to the Registrar. The Registrar will reserve and issue a unique company number of the proposed IBC upon which time the company’s Memorandum of Association is prepared and submitted.
- Upon acceptance of the Memorandum, the Registrar will incorporate and issue the Company’s certificate of incorporation. The Articles of Association must be submitted within 30 days of the date of incorporation.
Company administration guidelines
There are no minimum capital requirements. The following shares are permitted:
- Bearer shares
- Registered shares
- Redeemable shares
- Shares of no par value
- Preference shares
- Shares with or without voting rights
Shares can be denominated in any currency and can be held by residents of the Seychelles.
- Only one shareholder required for incorporation, this can be an individual or corporate body.
- The sole shareholder can act as the director
- Nominee shareholders are permitted
- Only one director is required for incorporation, can be an individual or corporate body
- No nationality or residency restrictions exist
- The sole director can act as a sole shareholder
- Nominee shareholders are permitted
Restrictions on Name & Activity:
- It is prohibited to use a name that is identical or similar to an existing name.
- There is no requirement for a registered office to be kept in the Seychelles although registered agents must be used to incorporate the company. Appointing a company secretary is not a mandatory requirement
- There is a high level of confidentiality with nominees permitted. The Registrar retains copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in addition to the Certificate of Good Standing and other certificates. These documents however are not placed on public record.
Tax and accounting regulations
A coherent offshore planning tax strategy is essential to maximise the effectiveness of offshore companies. Service Pro can assist by structuring the most tax efficient strategy to satisfy your requirements. We can provide guidance as to which jurisdictions offer the best tax structure by identifying the types of tax payable as well as applicable exemptions and incentives. Service Pro gives impartial tax planning advice that will identify which is the most favourable tax efficient jurisdiction in which to incorporate.
All IBC’s in the Seychelles are subject to zero taxation. Below is an overview of the tax and accounting regulations:
Seychelles IBC’s have no tax liabilities; there is a 0% tax rate. The following are tax free:
- Capital gains.
International aspects of taxation:
Double taxation treaties: The Seychelles has double taxation treaties with the following countries; Barbados, Botswana, China, Cyprus, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Oman, Qatar, South Africa, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam. DTA Agreements have been signed but not ratified with Belgium, Monaco and Zimbabwe.
Annual reporting requirements:
- No annual returns are required to be filed.
- No company reports are required to be submitted to any authority.
- Offshore company accounts are not required to be audited.
- Records of offshore companies can be kept anywhere in the world, there is no requirement that they be stored in the Seychelles.
Shelf companies are ready made companies whose primary purpose is to bypass the lengthy registration or incorporation process that can be required when forming a business.
Certain jurisdictions may take from 3 business days up to 3 weeks for the whole incorporation process to be completed. Shelf companies can be up and running within 4 business days. In some cases banks, government projects and investors will not provide credit ratings, projects or be interested to invest in newly formed companies. This is where shelf companies offer invaluable creditworthiness as they are able to show company history.
Benefits of a shelf company include:
- Saving time involved in taking the steps to create a new company (such as filing corporate documentation).
- Shelf companies gain the opportunity to bid on contracts. Some jurisdictions require that a company has been trading for a certain length of time to have this ability.
- To show that the company has been up and running for some time in order to attract consumers or investors.
- Shelf companies can gain access to corporate credit.
- Clients generally trust companies that have been trading for a number of years.
- Usually, the older the company, the higher it's standing in the business community.
- Opening a bank account for a shelf company is generally a faster process.