What is an offshore Foundation?

Foundations offshore

An offshore foundation is a conventional foundation that is formed under the laws of an offshore jurisdiction. Like conventional foundations they are generally a low tax entity, but with less "red tape" and reporting requirements. In terms of the legal structure, an offshore foundation lies somewhere between an offshore company and an offshore trust.

Its functions are simply asset protection. It affords this protection by legally owning assets, which cannot be attacked by creditors, or frivolous lawsuits. However, the Foundation cannot conduct day-to-day business, so in the structure that we provide for our clients, the Foundation own Corporations which can conduct day-to-day business.

A founder or a person acting on behalf of the founder may, on delivering Articles of the Foundation to the Registrar and on the payment of the prescribed registration fee apply to have a foundation registered in accordance with the provisions of the Foundations Act. The concept of a foundation consists of the endowment of a specific amount of assets for a specific purpose determined in the articles of the foundation. An appointed body known as the Board of Councilors is entrusted to carry on the business and affairs of the Foundation and to pursue its objects. The persons who creates the endowment is known as the founder and the persons who benefit from the endowment are known as the beneficiaries. The information concerning the names and the rights of the beneficiaries of the foundation is usually provided to the Board of Councilors by means of a private and confidential document (which does not have to be registered) known as the By-Laws which may include regulations providing for these matters. The founder may also establish other special arrangements in order to retain control or supervision over the foundation assets. He may appoint protectors, auditors or any other supervisory entity to supervises the acts of the Foundation Council.

Unlike the traditional corporation, the foundation does not have a share capital, it does not recognize shareholders and the founder does not retain or acquire any such ownership rights in relation to the foundation’s property. The law does recognize, however, the beneficiaries or the persons in whose benefit the foundation is created, which can include the founder.