The growth of the offshore industry on the island of Anguilla has not been simply because of the advantageous tax treatment that Anguilla gives to foreign companies, but the fruit of an ever evolving legislative framework, a stable political environment and developing economy. Anguilla has prided itself as a progressive and expanding business center, and thus, has ensured the establishment of the necessary policies and mechanisms that promote growth within the offshore sector.

International Business Companies legally exist and so, have been used for the many financial benefits that they provide. International Business Companies are simply referred to as IBC’s, but are most commonly identified as offshore companies, though within the realm of “offshoring”, offshore companies may take several forms such as International (Exempt) Trusts, Trademarks, Patents, International (Exempt) Insurance, Offshore Banks, Intellectual Property and Limited Liability Companies / United States LLCs and Mutual Funds.

While these entities serve specific purposes, International Business Companies, as well Offshore LLCs, are very versatile structures that are used for conducting an array of commercial activities and are instrumental in tax planning. Hence, while an offshore bank limits its services to banking and insurance to insuring, an IBC may be involved in professional consultancy, shipping, mining, trade, marketing, or serve as a holding or investment company. In offshore literature, International Business Companies often carry the name of the jurisdiction in which they are formed; so an IBC incorporated or registered in Anguilla will be invariably called an Anguilla International Business Company, Anguilla IBC, Anguilla Offshore Company, Anguilla Company or ABC – Anguilla Business Company.

An Anguillan IBC may conduct effective and profitable trade by buying its goods directly from the country in which the company’s members are based or an overseas wholesaler or manufacturer, then delivering the goods to customers. In this way, the Anguilla company acts as an intermediary for the import and export, sales and distribution of goods. Being registered as a tax free entity in Anguilla, the company is also able to freely conduct its business without bearing the burden of corporate and capital gains taxes, thereby allowing increased and maximized earnings. The revenue earned by the Anguilla company does not have to be immediately used up or reinvested in other business ventures. It may be left to accumulate until retirement for self and family support.

In November 1998, Anguilla’s enterprise construction, similar to Panama company incorporation, capacity and technology were boosted with the creation of ACORN – Anguilla’s Commercial Online Registration Network, a highly specialized Electronic Companies Registry whereby offshore service providers in Anguilla and their overseas approved agents are able to instantly register offshore companies at any time and on any day via the internet. ACORN’s features include annual fee payment and corporate document filing, among others, and are designed to give guidance to users. The system’s foreign language facility allows new Anguilla companies to be registered in French, Russian (Cyrillic), Spanish, and in 2000 – Chinese, with no need to further verify the English equivalent of the Chinese symbols since the program’s Register reviews all Chinese names in order to ensure that there is no duplication of any already existing English name. 95% of all documents and new incorporations are electronically filed.

In 2003, a new Financial Services Commission Act sought to make the Anguillan Financial Services Commission an operationally independent body while defining the Commission’s functions. In keeping with Anguilla’s offshore legislation for regulating the way in which offshore companies operate and preventing illegal financial activities, the Financial Services Commission was mandated to:

  • establish codes of conduct that would foster the development of exemplary professional standards within the offshore industry;
  • maintain relations with appropriate international regulatory authorities and associations through memoranda of understanding;
  • present recommendations for new legislation and review existing financial services laws;
  • provide the industry and public with information that is pertinent to financial services;
  • monitor all financial services and;
  • comply with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering legislation;

Some of the highlights of Anguilla IBCs include:

  1. I. Company name
    • An Anguilla IBC is unable to have a similar or the same name with an already existing Anguilla IBC
    • Within 6 months of incorporating and filing the articles of an Anguilla IBC, the company can request a name change
    • The name chosen for the Anguilla IBC must comply with the name requirements of Anguilla IBC Legislation: An Anguilla IBC laws of Anguilla should not give any implication of the Royal Family, Her Majesty or Her Majesty’s Government patronage, suggest any political affiliation to a party or its leader or be used without written consent of a professional body or university that exists under the laws of Anguilla
    • The Anguillan Registrar reserves the right to request a name change for any given company
    • The name of an IBC that has been dissolved for three (3) years may be used by a new Anguilla IBC
  2. II. Corporate Documents
    • The Articles of Incorporation of an Anguilla IBC must include:
    • The IBC’s name
    • Classes and maximum number of authorized shares
    • First registered office’s address
    • First registered agent’s name and address
    • Certificate of Incorporation
    • Is issued upon the Registrar’s satisfaction that the requirements for Anguilla company (IBC) formation are met
    • Is evidence of the IBC’s legal existence
    • Bears the Anguillan company’s registered name
    • Classes of shares and securities may be
    • With conditional, special, limited or no voting rights
    • Rights, options, warrants or instruments of a similar nature, to acquire securities of the company
    • Registered, bearer, common, preference, limited, redeemable, par value, without par
    • Securities that can be exchanged or converted into other securities in the Anguilla company (IBC) or any property that is owned or will be owned by the company
    • With limited rights to only participate specific assets
    • Authorized capital
    • May only be stated in currency approved by the Registrar
    • The par value, if any, must be stated in the same currency as the authorized capital
    • Number of shares or share amount may be increased or made less as the company sees fit III. Offshore Service Providers
  • Registered office and registered agent
  • All Anguilla companies (IBCs) must be registered via a licenced offshore service provider based in Anguilla
  • All Anguilla companies must have a registered agent
  • A registered office must be maintained in Anguilla by all Anguilla IBCs
  • An Anguilla IBC may file for a change of location of registered office may be filed with the Registrar
  • The company’s Articles must provide the registered office’s name and address