COUNTRY

Cook Islands

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    COOK ISLANDS OFFSHORE COMPANY FORMATION

    Cook Islands company formation is becoming popular among investors. Oceania is home to the archipelago known as The Cook Islands. More specifically, the islands are located in the southern section of the huge Pacific Ocean, halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.

    The Cook Islands’ capital is Avarua. The local Maori language is also widely spoken, while English is the official language.

    The local currency is the New Zealand dollar. 

    The local legal system is based on English law. The Hague Convention was ratified by the nation.

    The main industries in the islands’ economies are tourism, agriculture, and fishing. The state’s natural resources are scarce. As a result, New Zealand frequently provides financial support to it.

    The International Company is the option that is most practical for conducting business in the Cook Islands.

    KEY REQUIREMENTS FOR COOK ISLANDS COMPANY REGISTRATION

    cook islands company formation

    TIMELINE OF COOK ISLANDS COMPANY REGISTRATION

    Company incorporation
    3 to 5 days
    Corporate Bank Account Opening

    4 to 6 weeks

    Registered Agent 

    All companies registered in the Cook Islands must have a registered agent who is authorised to receive legal documents on behalf of the company.

    Shareholders 

    The company must have at least one shareholder to register a company in the Cook Islands. The shareholder(s) can be individuals or other legal entities.

    Directors

    The company must have at least one director who is a natural person and at least 18 years of age.

    Registered office 

    The company must have a registered office address in the Cook Islands where official documents can be delivered.

    Share Capital

    There are no minimum share capital requirements. 

    TYPES OF BUSINESS TYPES IN THE COOK ISLANDS

    There are several types of business entities available for Cook Islands company incorporation, including:

    • International Company – An international company is a type of entity that can be used for a wide range of purposes, including asset protection, wealth management, and international trade. It is exempt from most local taxes and regulations and is often used as a holding company for overseas investments.
    • Cook Islands Trust – High-net-worth individuals appreciate the Cook Islands Trust, an international asset protection vehicle. A Cook Islands Trustee Company oversees the administration of the trust, which is governed by the International Companies Act of 1981. The trust and its assets must be managed by a licensed trustee.

    A few advantages of the Cook Islands Trust include asset protection, reduced tax liability, and inheritance planning. A variety of assets, including money, real estate, stocks, and other investments, can be held in the trust. The trustee has a responsibility to operate the trust in the beneficiaries’ best interests. The Cook Islands Trust is a versatile and effective vehicle that can be applied to accomplish a range of financial goals.

    • Cook Islands LLC – When choosing a location for an offshore presence, multinational corporations frequently choose The Cook Islands LLC. Numerous advantages are offered under the Cook Islands Offshore Company Act, including tax exemption and restricted liability. 

    The legislative framework on the Cook Islands is mainly the following. 

    COOK ISLANDS INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES ACT 1981-82;

    Law on Limited Liability Companies (2008).

    CHARACTERISTICS OF COOK ISLANDS OFFSHORE COMPANY

    The corporation is allowed to engage in any legal operations; The firm must have a registered office and a registered agent on the island territory.

    The word Limited or the abbreviation Ltd should appear in the company name on the Cook Islands;

    There are no minimum paid-up capital requirements. 

    The bearer share issuance is prohibited;

    Shares may be issued without a declared par value;

    There must be a minimum of one shareholder and director (natural or legal person);

    It is acceptable to serve as a nominee (including for directors and shareholders);

    Third parties do not have access to information about Cook Islands’ offshore financial activities or the company’s owners. Only the local court’s ruling may result in its disclosure;

    • Anywhere in the world can have shareholder and director meetings;
    • The location of document storage will be decided by the company’s owners;
    • The terms of registration for an offshore corporation on the Cook Islands are two weeks after filing all required paperwork; 
    • There is no currency restriction.

    TAXES IN COOK ISLANDS

    CORPORATE INCOME TAX IN COOK ISLANDS

    Companies formed in accordance with the International Companies Act are not subject to any taxes. The following are free from taxation: trading income, investment income, capital gains, compensations, rents, and royalties generated from outside the jurisdiction.

    Dividend, interest, and royalty payments made to non-residents are exempt from withholding taxes.

    OTHER TAXES IN COOK ISLANDS

    There are no capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, estate duties, capital transfer taxes, gifts taxes, or wealth taxes in the Cook Islands. The primary tax on residents is income tax, which has a maximum rate of 30% on income over NZD 24,000 per year.

    On some official transactions, there is a stamp duty in addition to VAT at 12.5%. On the CIF value of all imported items, there are import tariffs ranging from 0% to 150%, with an average effective rate of just over 10%.

    DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR COOK ISLANDS COMPANY FORMATION

    • Memorandum and Articles of Association
    • Application form
    • Proof of identity for all directors and shareholders, such as a passport or national ID card.
    • Proof of address for all directors and shareholders, such as a utility bill or bank statement.
    • Certificate of incorporation

    PROCESS OF REGISTERING A BUSINESS IN THE COOK ISLANDS

    • Choose a name – The applicant must choose a unique and unused name for their business. They can find out if the name is accessible by conducting a search on the Cook Islands Registrar of Companies’ online database.
    • Select a corporate organization – They must choose the legal structure that best serves their needs and objectives. It can’t be a limited liability company, international company, limited partnership, or trust.
    • Prepare the required documents – The applicant must prepare the required documentation and submit it to the Cook Islands Registrar of Companies. The memorandum and articles of association of an organization, which set forth the objectives of the organization, its organizational structure, and the responsibilities of its shareholders and directors, are essential. The company must send the Registrar of International Companies (RIC) an application form and other required documents. With the documents, the applicant will be required to pay a registration fee, which varies depending on the type of business structure they choose.
    • Get the necessary licenses –

      Depending on the nature of the company, the applicant may need to submit additional licensing and permission applications to the appropriate government departments.

    PROS AND CONS OF REGISTERING A BUSINESS IN COOK ISLANDS

    PROS

    No Minimum Capital

    Friendly Government

    The Cook Islands government is quite welcoming to foreign investors. By shielding its foreign investors from directives and court rulings from other countries trying to force the government to violate its confidentiality agreements with international investors, the government has repeatedly demonstrated its power as an offshore financial center.

    Bearer Shares

    Privacy

    A Cook Islands Corporation, sometimes referred to as an International Company (IC) or International Business Company (IBC), offers owners, shareholders, and directors a high level of privacy and secrecy.

    less bureaucracy

    Less reporting requirements

    The Cook Islands government places few reporting and regulatory requirements on its corporations.

    privacy

    Low Renewal Fee

    In comparison to other countries, the Cook Islands corporation’s $200 USD annual renewal price is relatively reasonable.

    CONS

    Registered agent and registered office required

    Limited Economic Activities

    The Cook Islands has a small and relatively undeveloped economy, which may limit business opportunities in certain sectors.

    It's hard to raise capital

    Dependence on Tourism

    Cook Islands’ economy is heavily dependent on tourism, making it vulnerable to changes in the tourism industry.

    Reach out to us at Relin Consultants for our Cook Islands company incorporation services.

    FAQs

    What laws apply to foreign businesses in Cook Islands?

    The International Companies Act of 1981’s rules and regulations apply to all foreign corporations registered in the Cook Islands. The creation, filing, operation, and dissolution of these companies are all governed by this statute.

    Are businesses in the Cook Islands governed by privacy laws?

    International businesses and asset protection trusts are well-known to find safety in the Cook Islands. However the Cook Islands has a privacy law that is much stricter than the regulations of the majority of industrialized nations.

    All Cook Islands firms must keep a register of their shareholders, directors, and officials in accordance with the Cook Islands Firms Act.

    How is corporate taxation handled in the Cook Islands?

    When it comes to taxation, the Cook Islands operate on a territorial basis, which means that only income produced within the nation is subject to taxation. The Cook Islands impose income tax and capital gains tax as their two main types of taxes.

    Only when a company is a tax resident in a country are they subject to capital gains tax. 10% income tax is charged to both individuals and enterprises.

    Are there any insurance rules in the Cook Islands for a foreign business?

    Foreign businesses aren’t allowed to operate in the offshore insurance market unless they are offshore firms, according to the Cook Islands’ Offshore Insurance Act.

    However, insurance firms that are registered in the Cook Islands and have their main office there are exempt from this restriction. To conduct business in the nation, offshore businesses must keep their offshore insurance license valid. These rules help ensure that offshore insurance providers are lawfully governed and offer sufficient protection for their clients.

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