The offshore legislation of Samoa is based on New Zealand Common Law. Even though Samoa has been the offshore financial center for more than two decades, it is not a well known jurisdiction, although it has one of the best legislations available today.
The banking sector is very modest and only four banking entities exist on the island; two of them being branches of foreign banks.
Even though the fight against money laundering and fraud is very difficult, Samoa has been able to protect the confidentiality of offshore companies registered in its territory, severly punishing the disclosure of information regarding shareholders or executives of the company. Samoa is also one of the few jurisdictions whose law specifically prohibits revealing information that could be subject to fines, penalties or payment of taxes. International court orders are only processed if they are related to serious crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking or terrorism.
The Samoan company law also has a “special event” clause, the only one in the world, that allows the shareholder of a company to predetermine in its constitution a physical or corporate person or persons to which the shareholder`s securities will be transferred to in case a previously established event occurs. This “event” can be a lawsuit of a creditor, a death or any other justifiable event. The legislation also established a grace period of only two years for possible claims by creditors regarding the capital deposited to a Samoan company. For this reason, Samoa is a preferred jurisdiction for the protection of patrimony. As a multipurpose jurisdiction, Samoa is also appropriate for all types of activities, especially those related to international commerce.
Samoa is no longer a tax haven according to the G-20 and the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development. However, Samoa is still considered a tax haven by legislations of some countries.
Uses of Samoan Offshore Companies
- Holding companies of bank accounts, fixed term deposit accounts, investment projects and any other financial or commercial activities.
- Owner of shares of other companies or legal entities.
- Owner of apartments, houses, buildings, ships and any other assets or properties.
- Administrator or promotor of international commercial transactions.
- International leasing of vehicles, machinery and others.
- Appropriate instrument to send and receive funds, loans, pay commissions, gifts and other credits.
- Marketing and promotion of products and services.
- Other commercial and financial activities.