Offshore Companies Owned by a Trust

Offshore trusts are often used together with offshore companies for enhanced confidentiality. offshore company

There are different types of trusts, however you would usually use a discretionary trust for this type of arrangement. With a discretionary trust the trustees are able to use their ‘discretion’ as to who benefits and by how much.

Often such trusts are formed to guarantee privacy over your assets. You may not need to be a named beneficiary of this type of trust – or named in any other way.

To make this work, the trustee and the settlor would usually all be residents of a country other than your own.

The discretionary trust would then own the offshore company which itself would own various assets such as property.

The offshore company can have a nominee director and secretary or alternatively you could use bearer shares if you use an International Business Company (IBC) incorporated in a suitable jurisdiction (for example, a Cayman exempt company).

With bearer shares the person who holds the share certificates is the person who owns the company. Ownership is transferred simply by handing over the share certificates to someone else.

They’re available in a number of offshore tax havens specializing in privacy protection. In many jurisdictions, using an offshore trust and company structure would allow you to legally absolve yourself of ownership of the offshore company and its assets, which would instead be owned by the trust.

For UK individuals, using the offshore trust/company structure is often beneficial as it would make it easier to argue that the company itself is not UK resident.

An offshore company could still be UK resident (and therefore subject to UK taxes on worldwide income and gains) if it is controlled and managed from the UK.

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