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Is Dominica Good for Your Offshore Business?

Offshore Advisor
25 July, 2008

Do you know what offshore jurisdiction is the best one? Nobody does. Or better to say there’s no unambiguous answer to this seems to be ever question. There are about 70 offshore jurisdictions and territories in the world each one offering its products and services. All of them differ in administrative requirements to companies’ operation, reporting, taxation etc. You choose a jurisdiction for a specific type of activity, sometimes for one particular business transaction, but the thing is that you normally choose for somewhere in between easy and cheap on the one hand and respectable on the other.

In practice those factors are often hardly reconcilable. The more expensive is not always better. And what is good or bad in terms of international image of an offshore center today? While Guernsey and Isle of Man claim to be “international finance centers” rather than “tax haven” because of playing an important role in global financial system, BVI, Belize and Nevis are named in the US Senate on the list of top tax evasion havens and are obviously far from being in favor at tax authorities of any country.

Where to go? There’s plenty of less known jurisdictions however decent for offshore business. Dominica is among those recently gaining in popularity with a comprehensive range of services and a number of advantages, such as attractive tax regime, ease of operations, political stability and access to new markets.

Commonwealth of Dominica (to be distinguished from the Dominican Republic) known as “the Nature Island of the Caribbean”, a green tropical paradise with historically agriculture & tourism based economy now seem to take a course to become a business paradise as well. Pardon me for the pathos but the island is really unique in its nature beauty, so I couldn’t to skip that part. It has one of the highest rates in the Caribbean in a NatGeo islands survey. In 1998 Dominica's Morne Trois Pitons National Park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In 1997 Dominica became the first Caribbean country to participate in the work of Green Globe in order to make Dominica a model ecotourism destination.

In 1978 Dominica was granted independence by the United Kingdom. It is an independent state with parliamentary democracy, efficient judiciary system based on English common law. English is the official language. It is a member of CARICOM, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Commonwealth of Nations, United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Organization of American States (OAS). The country maintains missions in Washington, New York, London, and Brussels and is represented jointly with other Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members in Canada.

As the government encourages investments in the country’s economy it tends to maintain a stable investment climate and provides a range of fiscal incentives such as tax holiday of up to twenty years, exemption from import duties and withholding taxes on dividends and interests. It makes it more attractive for foreign investors that there are no capital tax, no estate nor death taxes, no restriction on repatriation of profits or foreign exchange and a foreign investor can be a 100% owner of a locally registered company.

International business services, Dominica has ventured in this industry in 1996. Today it has international business companies, offshore banking facilities, offshore trust business, exempt insurance business, international ship registry and what may be the most attractive option is that it maintains an economic citizenship program - one of the very few legal programs of that type in the world at present.

Developing into a finance center Dominica was not excluded from experiencing a number of problems. At a certain point it appeared to lack a comprehensive money-laundering legislation, which was a critical defect since the economy of an "offshore finance centre" is especially vulnerable to money laundering by its very nature. Dominica was blacklisted by FATF in June 2000. In October 2002 Dominica was already removed from the NCCT list as necessary AML regulations have been introduced by that time. It was an important step by Dominica to strengthen its position in the world offshore industry. Currently it is also a member of The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

Capitalizing potentials that exist in its offshore sector Dominica gives every impression as being keen to establish and maintain an unblemished reputation at the same time. All in common it positions Dominica as an increasingly attractive place for many offshore business purposes.


About the Author

Offshore Advisor

Mary is a consultant and blogger at Offshore Advisor - free online consultancy on offshore services covering asset protection, offshore banking, second citizenship and more. Contact Mary via mary@isla-offshore.com.


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