Our company is a licensed registered agent in Seychelles and has licenses for international corporate, trustee and foundation services (more information).
Register a company in the Seychelles: Overview
- Today, Seychelles is an attractive international financial centre with a modern legal framework that meets global standards. If you are planning to establish an offshore company, the decision to register a company in Seychelles will, in many cases, be the best alternative.
- Seychelles is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean to the east of Africa. The largest island is Mahe. The Republic of Seychelles is an independent state (since 1976), a member of the Commonwealth. The capital is Victoria. Official languages are French, Seychellois Creole and English. The national currency is the Seychellois rupee (SCR).
- The legal system of Seychelles combines the elements of English common law and French civil law. The Constitution of 1993 is in force.
- Key sectors of the economy are international tourism (the country has regular air communication with the UAE and South Africa) and commercial fishery. A substantial share also belongs to international corporate and financial services.
- Seychelles is one of the popular jurisdictions in the East African region with a favourable tax regime. Seychelles offshore companies are widely used in international business.
- Moreover, in recent years, Seychelles has taken extensive steps to reform its corporate and tax laws to ensure compliance with the latest international standards in tax transparency and anti-money laundering.
- The main corporate product is International Business Companies (IBCs). It is also possible to register private foundations (having the status of a separate legal entity) and international trusts.
- The state regulator supervising the Seychelles company formation industry is Financial Services Authority (FSA).
Key features of Seychelles International Business Companies (IBC)
- Status, establishment procedure and governance of Seychellois international business companies (IBCs) are governed by the International Business Companies Act, 2016.
- To register a company in Seychelles, neither directors nor shareholders must be Seychelles residents.
- IBCs may engage in any legal business both within and outside of Seychelles that does not demand a special license.
- Seychelles companies must pay an annual fee to maintain their active status in the register. Failure to pay the fee entails the imposition of fines with the company’s subsequent strike-off from the register.
- Companies must submit annual return, which contains basic information about the company and confirms the place where the company’s records are kept.
- Seychelles is no longer a no-tax jurisdiction since a territorial principle of taxation was introduced in the country in 2019. As a general rule, only companies that receive income from sources in Seychelles are subject to taxation in Seychelles. Income from activities outside of Seychelles is exempt from taxation.
- However, if a Seychelles offshore company is part of a “multinational group” and has no adequate economic “substance” in Seychelles, the latest rules (2020-2021) provide for taxation even of the income that the company has received from activities outside of Seychelles, including its passive income (such as dividends, interest, royalties, rentals). Thus, it is expected that a significant number of Seychelles IBCs, having become liable to tax in Seychelles on their foreign passive income, may lose the advantage of the territorial tax regime.
- Standard business tax rate on income received from sources in Seychelles is 25% for the first SCR 1 000 000 (around USD 75 000) and 33% on the amount above the said threshold.
- In the absence of Seychelles-sourced income, IBCs are not required to submit financial statements and/or audit them.
- However, there is a number of requirements to keeping corporate and accounting records with serious penalties provided for non-compliance. The accounting records maintained by the company must allow the preparation of complete financial statements on their basis.
- Legislative amendments 2021 require Seychelles companies to keep their accounting records (bank statements, receipts, invoices, contracts and other supporting documentation) in their registered office in Seychelles (i.e., in the office of their registered agent located in Seychelles) in respect of 7 previous years. Afterwards, such records for each past half-year must be sent to Seychelles twice a year. Previously, the company could keep its accounting records anywhere (both in Seychelles and abroad), having notified the registered agent of the place where the records are actually kept.
- The law allows converting an international business company into an ordinary (local) company and vice versa.
- The law also provides the option for the continuation (re-domiciliation) of a foreign company in Seychelles as an IBC. Re-domiciliation of an existing foreign company is a unique alternative to a new company formation in Seychelles. This tool can be quite helpful, for example, in case of unfavourable legislative changes in the country of the company’s original incorporation or a sharp increase in the cost of servicing the company. In the event of re-domiciliation, as opposed to registering a new entity, the company retains its name, existing contracts and assets.
Confidentiality and international information exchange
- The details of company directors, shareholders and beneficial owners of a Seychelles offshore company are not subject to disclosure. Normally such information is available only to the registered agent and the bank that maintains the company’s account.
- However, if you consider company formation in Seychelles, it is essential to note that the jurisdiction has already established a central register of company beneficial owners. The information kept in the register is not publicly available, but local courts, law enforcement agencies, the Financial Services Authority, the Registrar of companies and others will be able to access it. Beneficial owners of Seychelles companies are required to supply information about themselves to the registered agent of their company to the extent required by law. The registered agent, in turn, must maintain and keep a register of the company’s beneficiaries and submit the relevant information to a central database. For failure to comply with these obligations, penalties are provided for both the registered agents and the beneficiaries themselves.
- Seychelles participate in the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters as amended by the Protocol 2010 (entered into force from 1 October 2015) and the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (CRS MCAA). Seychelles started the automatic exchange in September 2017.
- As of the beginning of 2022, Seychelles participate in agreements for the avoidance of double taxation (DTA/DTT) with the following countries: Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Botswana, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Guernsey, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Oman, Qatar, San Marino, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, the UAE, Vietnam, Zambia.
- Seychelles also participate in bilateral tax information exchange agreements (TIEA) with the following countries and territories: Denmark, the Faroes, Finland, Greenland, India, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland.
- In 2021, Seychelles has been removed from the European Union’s “blacklist”, which includes jurisdictions that do not adequately cooperate with the EU in the field of taxation.
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