What is an offshore company

A “company” or a “corporation” is what’s called in legal-speak a juridical person, or a corporate body. A corporation can have and do much of the same as any private individual – it can own assets in its own name, enter into contracts, acquire rights and obligations, be liable for its actions. So, same like an adult human being, a corporation normally has it’s own legal personality. Even a corporations’ life is somewhat similar to that of a human being – a corporation is “born” (by a fact of registration in an official Registrar) and it can “die” (by being dissolved or liquidated).


There are several components in every corporation, each with its own purpose. As this article primarily deals with what is popularly known as “offshore company”, a question may arise: what is the difference between an offshore company and an “ordinary” company? Structurally – there is no substantial difference! An offshore company will quite simply be the same sort of corporation, just created outside the usual domicile country of its owner(s). So, as far as semantics go, “offshore” for an American can be Canada, or Russia … or British Virgin Islands. Quite simply, offshore is something that is NOT onshore. However, for quite some time, the term “offshore” has been used in a much narrower sense – pointing to a company, which is not only formed outside the normal domicile of its actual owner but is also enjoying a number of cool extra benefits. For instance, it can be free of taxation. Free from onerous reporting and book-keeping requirements. Free from burdensome capitalization rules. Free from the necessity to register its owners on a public file. Fast and easy to register. Simple to maintain and operate. That’s what most people would deem as an “offshore company”. However, structurally, this offshore company still retains most of the components of a “regular” company.


Following is a description of the main elements and components of an offshore company, in particular, as applicable to a British Virgin Islands Business Company.


Memorandum and Articles of Association

Shareholding Structure of an Offshore Company

Directors and Officers of an Offshore Company

Registered Agent and Registered Address of an Offshore Company

First Minutes or First Resolutions of an Offshore Company