Cayman law distinguishes between local companies, which are required to be a minimum of 60 per cent Caymanian owned, and exempted companies, which are not. Only local companies may operate a business within Cayman. Though residing in Cayman, exempted companies must conduct their business outside of Cayman.
Companies are free from all Cayman Islands income, capital gains, corporation and withholding taxes. Cayman is also the only leading offshore jurisdiction that guarantees companies a tax exemption that will be maintained for a period of 20 years despite any subsequent generally applicable law change.
As a British overseas territory, Cayman has a history of political and economic stability. Additionally, it offers a quick incorporation process, usually within 24 hours of submitting an online application. Confidentiality is also paramount in Cayman, with the company’s register of members never open for public inspection.
Types of Companies
An exempted company has minimal annual reporting requirements and is not required to hold an annual meeting. It can issue shares without nominal or par value, hold treasury shares and issue bearer shares if they are fully paid and held by a licensed custodian.
Additionally, the company may be registered as a limited duration company (LDC), limited life company or a segregated portfolio company (SPC). EC’s are entitled to receive a “Tax Exemption Undertaking” by the Cayman Islands Government for a period of up to 30 years and exempted companies may be merged or consolidated with another exempted company or a foreign company.
This type of company is limited by their memorandum of association to a life span of 30 years or less at which time the company will voluntarily wind up and dissolve.
Segregated Portfolio Companies (SPC)
An SPC segregates its assets and liabilities by segregated portfolios.
Each company is designated as either a non-resident company (which does not conduct business within Cayman and is not subject to the 60 per cent Caymanian control rule) or as a local company (which does intend to carry on business within Cayman is subject to 60 per cent Caymanian control and ownership requirements).
Companies are required to have a registered office in Cayman, along with a minimum of one shareholder and one director. No detailed requirements are needed in regards to accounting records; however, the company must keep proper records and may need to be available at the registered office.