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Samoa International Company (IC): Overview.

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Samoa International Company (IC): Overview

A Samoa International Company is a compelling option for those seeking offshore business opportunities. This article delves into the key aspects of Samoa ICs, shedding light on their unique features and advantages to international businesses and professionals.

Key takeaways

  • Privacy and confidentiality are significant advantages, as information about owners and directors remains shielded from public scrutiny, providing maximum discretion.
  • Operational flexibility is evident in the absence of minimum capital requirements, swift incorporation processes, and the option for a single director, promoting remarkable agility for business formation.
  • Restrictions on trading include prohibitions on engaging in certain activities such as trading with Samoans, owning local real estate, and involvement in banking or insurance without the appropriate license.

Samoa International Company entity overview

A Samoa International Company, also known as an International Business Company (IBC), is a type of offshore company registered in Samoa. It is similar to IBCs in other offshore jurisdictions but has unique features, such as solid asset protection laws and strict privacy.

Benefits of a Samoa IC

  • Tax haven status: Samoa ICs are exempt from corporate income tax, capital gains tax, and withholding taxes, making them attractive for profit-focused ventures.
  • Privacy and confidentiality: Information about owners and directors remains shielded from public scrutiny, ensuring maximum discretion.
  • Asset protection: Samoa’s unique laws offer robust safeguards against creditors and potential lawsuits, shielding your assets from undue claims.
  • Operational flexibility: No minimum capital requirements, swift incorporation processes, and a single director option provide remarkable agility for business formation.
  • No financial reporting: ICs are exempt from filing financial statements, streamlining administrative burdens.

To establish a Samoa IC, navigating and adhering to the specific regulatory and operational aspects governing these entities is essential. The following are crucial considerations:

Capital and currency restrictions

The usual authorised share capital is USD 1,000,000, expressed in any currency. The minimum issued capital is one share of no par value or one share of par value.

Restriction on trading

An International Company is prohibited from trading with Samoans or owning local real estate. Additionally, it cannot engage in banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, collective investment schemes, trust management, trusteeship, or any activity associated with the banking or insurance industries without obtaining the appropriate license.

Foreign ownership

Samoa ICs require 100% foreign ownership.

Requirements for setting up a Samoa IC

  1. Name and activity restrictions – Name restrictions include avoiding identical or similar names to existing ones, names deemed undesirable or offensive by the Registrar, those suggesting royal or government patronage, and names indicating an association with banking or insurance industries.
  2. Local requirements (registered office and agent) – A registered office must be maintained in Samoa at the address of a licensed trust and management company.
  3. Shareholder requirements – An IC must have a minimum of one shareholder unless a specific debenture is outstanding. Shareholder details are not publicly disclosed.
  4. Director obligations – At least one director is required, with no residency restrictions. Directors may be natural persons or corporate bodies.
  5. Secretary role – An IC must must either have a resident secretary or resident agent, either of whom must be a registered trustee company or its related authorised entity/officer.

Incorporation process

To initiate the incorporation process, a signed memorandum of association and articles, along with appropriate fees and a signed declaration, must be submitted to the registrar of Samoa International Finance Authority. Standard registration takes one day, although this process can be subject to the applicant’s time zone.

Compliance requirements

Records and documentation

While public filing is minimal, maintaining accurate internal records for financial transactions and company activities is crucial for future reference and potential audits.

Annual return filing

Annual returns are not required to be submitted to the Registrar unless the IC is a licensed bank or insurance entity.

Beneficial ownership

No disclosure of beneficial ownership to authorities is required.

Licence fees

An IC pays an annual licence fee of USD 300, unless, at the time of incorporation, it elects to pay a licence fee to cover the following periods:

DurationCost
5 yearsUSD 1,000
10 yearsUSD 1,500
20 yearsUSD 2,000

However, if a company is redomiciled to Samoa, its annual licence fee for redomiciliation is reduced to USD 100 instead of USD 300, irrespective of the company’s authorised capital.

Licences and operations

While 100% foreign-owned, Samoa ICs need a business license for operation, depending on specific activities. They are restricted from conducting business within Samoa or engaging in banking, insurance, or other regulated activities without specific licenses.

Annual accounting requirements and taxation

No requirement exists under the International Companies Act of 1988 to file accounts. However, financial records reflecting the company’s position must be kept for seven years. Samoa ICs are not liable for income or corporation tax and are not a party to any double tax agreement.

Conclusion

A Samoa IC emerges as an attractive offshore business entity, presenting many benefits for entrepreneurs and investors. From tax haven status to robust privacy protection and operational flexibility, Samoa ICs facilitate a conducive environment for profit-driven ventures. However, navigating the specific regulatory and operational intricacies is essential for establishing and managing an IC successfully.

Set up a Samoa International Company with Acclime

Partnering with Acclime enhances this process, offering a comprehensive understanding of legal, financial, and regulatory aspects. Acclime provides tailored solutions, ensuring a seamless establishment and management of International Companies in Samoa. To learn more about how Acclime can empower your business through the strategic establishment of ICs, we invite you to connect with our experienced team.