Offshore: Seychelles

Guide For Offshore Corporate Services In The Republic of Seychelles

Water View From the Mountain of The Republic of SeychellesGuide For Offshore Corporate Services In The Republic of Seychelles

About The Republic of Seychelles

Seychelles is an archipelago consisting of 155 of the most picturesque islands in the world. The islands of the Seychelles are situated in the Indian Ocean about 1500 kilometre from Africa mainland (just to the south of the equator). For naturalist, the Seychelles islands are among the world’s top natural habitats rivalled by many, with a many species of animal and plant life.

Seychelles gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1976. Seychelles remains an independent member of the UK Commonwealth, but is under no authority of the British Crown. Seychelles is also under no jurisdiction of the European Union. Seychelles is a full member of the United Nations.

The Seychelles were settled by people from Portugal, France and Spain. And as such Today, Seychelles is a melting pot with a diverse background, encompassing people from lands of China, France, Africa and India.

The life and culture of Seychellois population is influenced by its many past and present inhabitants. In true form, its religion of the Seychelles people is also as colourful with Hinduism, Islamic, Christianity, Catholicism, Anglicanism and others practiced.

In spite of the British occupation of Seychelles and an English education system the Seychelles social and cultural practices are predominantly French. Most Seychelles names have a French origin.

The Seychelles can boast of two World Heritage endorsed sites. Scuba diving, sailing and snorkelling are some of the water sports available to visitors and locals. Inter-island hopping on private aircraft is quite popular activity as well.

Lying in the coastal area of the Indian Ocean, along the African continent, Seychelles is favourably positioned between the prime manufacturing and trade channels of Africa, Asia and Europe. This allows it to provide an exceptional platform for foreign investment into these important global areas of commerce.

Furthermore, Seychelles does not experience hurricanes like many other offshore jurisdictions, such as Mauritius and all of the Caribbean nations.

 

Infrastructure

The Seychelles has a well-established infrastructure in the northern Mahe group of islands, but not in the remoter group of coral islands to the south. After independence, the government made considerable efforts to expand its infrastructure in order to attract upper-middle-class tourists from Europe and North America. The concentration of the population in the capital of Victoria and in the few main islands made this task easy. In 1999, the major islands were served by a network of 424 kilometres (263 miles) of roads, of which 370 kilometres (230 miles) were paved.

The country restricts car ownership through an annual quota system for auto imports. None of the islands have railways, and the islands’ public transportation system relies on a bus fleet.

The country has 6 airports with paved runways and 8 with unpaved runways. The international airport at Pointe Larue was opened in 1971.

The state-controlled operator uses ferries to link Mahe with Praslin and La Digue. Private schooners are also available for trips to some islands.

Telecommunication services in the Seychelles have been under intensive reconstruction since the early 1990s.

 

Economy

The administration of Seychelles is serious about protecting the islands of Seychelles and has enforced strict laws for preservation and protection of the environment and plant and animal plant habitats in the Seychelles islands as ecotourism has been developed as an integral part of tourism. It is the main sources of the islands’ revenue.

To further enhance to sustainability of the Seychelles the government has is focused on developing the manufacturing and fishing sectors. Tuna fishing in particular is a main economic sector and opens up new avenues for other areas in fish refrigeration, canning and processing for export.

More recently, there has been major investment activity into petroleum exploration and industry development as the Seychelles are fossil rich. Wells dug for petroleum exploration have shown the presence of suitable reservoirs for further exploration. Seychelles has undertaken initiatives to educate and inform interested investors both domestic and international of the petroleum potential of the Seychelles islands and region.

In May of 2009, Seychelles joined the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA). Seychelles is well-positioned to benefit from several key initiatives, such as:

  • COMESA Customs Union
  • COMESA Common Investment Area
  • Common Market

 

Type of Law

In tune with the progress in the financial services sector a series of offshore and business laws were enacted for regulating and controlling markets and facilitating investment and financial activities in Seychelles. Offshore entities are regulated by their respective laws and come under the supervision of the Seychelles International Business Authority which is called SIBA for short.

Seychelles has a mixed-jurisdiction system of law that makes it quite unique. The civil law is directed by a Civil Code, which was derived from the French Napoleonic Code. There is no British common law aspects in Seychellois civil law.

In criminal law, however, there are significant similarities to British criminal law. Procedural law is mainly British based. British courtroom procedures also share great likeness to those of Seychelles procedural law.

 

Central Bank

Since its creation in 1978, the Seychelles Monetary Authority, and as of 1983 its successor the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), have undergone various stages of adaptation with the aim of turning it into a modern and efficient institution, equipped to discharge its responsibilities with professionalism and efficiency.  The CBS Act, 2004 as amended provides for the Bank to operate as an autonomous institution, reinforcing its status as the authority responsible for all monetary issues in the country and caters for the further development of the financial sector within the current economic environment.

 

Anti-Money Laundering: ​FATF Status

Seychelles is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies.

Compliance with FATF Recommendations

The last Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in Seychelles was undertaken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2018. According to that Evaluation, Seychelles was deemed Compliant for 10 and Largely Compliant for 10 of the FATF 40 Recommendations. It was deemed Highly Effective for 0 and Substantially Effective for 0 of the Effectiveness & Technical Compliance ratings.

EU Tax Blacklist: The Seychelles is on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes

Sanctions: There are no international sanctions currently in force against this country.

 

Corporate Entities

Seychelles has established various institutions charged with the duty of promoting Seychelles as a suitable location for investment. Focus has been placed on international business and moved in the direction of providing investors with different incentives such as tax breaks, concessions and funding options.

The independent democratic republic of Seychelles, with its stable political system, offers one of the most attractive complete offshore formation packages, created and supported by one of the most auspicious legal and regulatory authorities in the offshore global arena.

Financial services in Seychelles developed as a result of Seychelles status as a tax haven for the incorporation of offshore companies, like Seychelles company. Seychelles offer a variety of offshore formation services which include international business companies, offshore trusts and insurance companies, offshore banks and special license companies. Mutual and hedge funds are a growing part of the securities market and investment in Seychelles.

Seychelles keeps on flourishing as a global offshore financial centre. With its efficacy and command of the offshore industry, its broad range of offshore banking products and services, and its devotion to persistent innovation, Seychelles is poised to be the premier choice in the offshore world.

Seychelles offshore companies and financial services is governed and regulated by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority. Located approximately 1000 miles east of Africa, Seychelles is not in the cyclone belt, giving it an advantage over other natural disaster-prone jurisdictions, such as Mauritius and all of the Caribbean territories.

If you are looking for a tax haven with a solid secrecy policy, attractive offshore business laws, Seychelles may be the perfect choice for your next offshore company formation.

 

Taxation

There are no capital gain tax, interest, dividends, gift, inheritance, property or estate taxes. An IBC Company is completely tax free for a period of 20 years from the registration date provided the company does not deal any business with residents locally. However, the company is allowed to conduct business with other IBCs. An IBC cannot take advance of Seychelles double taxation agreements.

 

National Flag of The Republic of SeychellesRegistration of Offshore Companies

As a rapidly rising offshore tax haven, Seychelles boasts the following advantages for international investors and business people to set up offshore companies:

  • A 100% self-governed democratic republic
  • Well-respected and established offshore jurisdiction
  • Favourable corporate laws offering an array of sophisticated, modern & flexible offshore products
  • Solid banking secrecy, considered one of the best jurisdictions for protecting the privacy of its foreign investors
  • Free from undesirable measures and exchange agreements
  • Issues an innovative Special Licence company that can be used to take full advantage of Seychelles’ growing network of double taxation agreements
  • A skilled, professional and bilingual population
  • Convenient time zone coincides with major financial centres from East Asia to Western Europe (+ 4 GMT)
  • Residence permit and work permit are available for foreign investors
  • Hybrid between Civil Law and Common Law
  • Affordable fees for government licensing
  • Tax-free International Business Companies (IBC)
  • Special License Companies (CSL) – resident companies with 1.5% tax
  • Modern, up-to-date body of laws that allows for and regulates offshore banking, offshore companies, protected shell companies, limited partnerships, mutual funds, and hedge funds.
  • Rapidly expanding network of Double Taxation Avoidance treaties with Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, China, Cyprus, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Oman, Qatar, South Africa, Thailand, U.A.E, Vietnam and Zambia.

Notes:

  • Restrictions on bearer share issuance which requires local registered agent to immobilize them. (You may wish to register a Panama company or in other offshore jurisdiction company if unrestricted bearer shares are a must).
  • Limited number of local banking options; accounts are not as easy to open as in prior years.
  • Network of Double Taxation Agreements, with OECD approved language that include Mutual Legal Assistance agreement language, which weaken Seychelles as the best asset protection haven.

 

General Features of Offshore Entities In The Republic of Seychelles

Type of Entity

  • IBC

Minimum Government Fees (Excluding Taxation)

  • USD130

Corporate Taxation

  • None on Foreign Profits

Double Taxation Treaty Access

  • No
Share Capital

Standard Currency

  • USD

Permitted Currencies

  • Any

Usual Authorized

  • USD100,000

Minimum Paid-up Capital

  • USD1.00

Bearer Shares Allowed

  • Yes (To be immobilized by the registered agent)
No Par Value Shares Allowed
  • Yes
Directors or Managers

Minimum Requirement

  • One
Corporate Directorship Allowed
  • Yes

Requirement of Local Resident

  • No

Public Access to Company Records

  • No

Required Location of Meetings

  • Anywhere
Members

Minimum Number

  • One

Public Access to Company Records

  • No

Required Location of Meetings

  • Anywhere
Company Secretary

Requirement of Company Secretary

  • No

Local or Qualified            

  • Not Required
Accounts

Requirement to Prepare

  • Yes

Audit Requirements

  • No

Requirement to File accounts

  • No

Public Access to Accounts

  • No
Annual Return

Requirement to File Annual Return

  • Yes
Others

Permission for change of Domicile

  • Yes

 

Specific Features of Offshore Companies In The Republic of Seychelles

Currency

  • Seychelles Rupee (SCR)

Language

  • The official languages are English, French and Creole. Creole is spoken widely.
  • English is the main language of business.

Exchange Control

  • Offshore companies do not have exchange control.

Principal Corporate Legislation

  • The International Business Companies Act 1994.

Type of Company for International Trade and Investment

  • The Seychelles International Business Company.

Restrictions on Trading

  • Cannot trade within the Seychelles or own real estate there. Cannot undertake the business of banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, asset management (other than the company’s own assets) or any other activity that would suggest an association with the banking and insurance industries.
  • A Seychelles IBC cannot provide registered office facilities in the Seychelles or sell its shares to the public.

Powers of Company

  • A Seychelles incorporated Company has the same powers as a natural person.

Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents

  • English or French.
  • If any other language is used it must be accompanied by a translation in either English or French.

Language of Name

  • The name can be in any language but must be accompanied by a translation in English or French.
  • The documentation will either be in English, or it is possible to have bilingual documentation in English and Chinese or any other language accompanied by a translation in English or French.

Requirement of Registered Office

  • Yes, must be maintained in the Seychelles at the office of a licensed Registered Agent.

Name Restrictions

  • Anything identical or similar to a company already incorporated. Anything that implies patronage of the Seychelles, or any other government, insurance, royal, imperial or any other name that may imply that a company intends to undertake a licensable or undesirable activity.

Names Requiring Consent or Licence

  • The name of the corporation, which shall not be the same as or similar to that of a pre existing corporation, such that it might cause confusion.

Suffixes to denote Limited Liability

  • Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Societe Anonyme or their abbreviations.
  • A wide variety of other suffixes such as BV, GmbH, and SARL may also be used.

Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership to Authorities

  • No

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
  • Source of Information, Guidelines, Compliance, Laws, Rules & Regulations is from the relevant authorities of respective jurisdictions.
  • The Acts in respective jurisdictions are subject to change by the regulatory authorities.
  • We have published the guidelines with most updates from our Associate Firms.
  • The Customers would be notified with the updated Acts with oncoming changes if applicable when the Offshore services are rendered by us.

 

Please refer to our SERVICES for more information or CONTACT us if you wish to avail these or many other services.
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