Incorporating in Cook Islands
Key corporate features
- Type of company – International
- Political stability – Good
- Common or civil law – Common
- Disclosure of beneficial owner – No
- Migration of domicile permitted – Yes
- Tax on offshore profits – Nil
- Language of name – Latin or other alphabets
- Minimum number of Shareholders / Members – One
- Minimum number of Directors / Managers – One
- Corporate Directors / Managers permitted – Yes
- Company Secretary required – Yes
- Usual Authorised Capital – US$5,000
- Annual return – Yes
- Submit accounts – No (by resolution)
- Registered Office/Agent – Yes
- Company Secretary – Yes
- Local Directors – No
- Local meetings – No
- Government register of Directors / Managers – Yes
- Government register of Shareholders / Members – No
Recurring government costs
- Minimum Annual Tax/License fee – US$300
- Annual Return Filing fee – Nil
- Requirement to file annual return – Yes
A company is not permitted to carry on business in the Cook Islands as a trustee company unless it is registered pursuant to the provisions of the Cook Islands Trustee Companies Act 1981-1982.
Carrying on business as a trustee is widely defined and includes acting as trustee, executor or administrator.
The control of the registration of trustee companies lies with the Cook Islands Financial Supervisory Commission, which looks at the suitability of the applicant and the experience of this associated with the applicant. Minimum capitalisation requirements also apply.
Total population of the Island group is approximately 19,000. The indigenous population is Polynesian but English is spoken by most of the community.
Great Britain proclaimed a Protectorate over the Cook Islands in 1888 and in 1901; the Islands were ceded to New Zealand. The Cook Islands became fully self-governing in 1965 under the Cook Islands Constitution Act 1964. Since obtaining self-government, the Cook Islanders have retained New Zealand citizenship. The Government has reaffirmed continuing support and encouragement for the development of Rarotonga as a financial centre.
There are two main political parties: the Democratic Alliance Party and the Cook Islands Party, which between them hold all seats in Parliament. Both parties support the Cook Islands status as an offshore financial centre. Executive authority is vested in Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen’s Representative is appointed upon the advice of the Cook Islands Government. Executive Government lies with a cabinet comprising the Prime Minister and nine other Ministers appointed by the Prime Minister. The Cook Islands has growing international stature and is a member of the South Pacific Forum, the Asian Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Infrastructure and Economy
The Cook Islands economy is primarily tourism based however there has been a substantial expansion in the offshore industry with the advent of innovative and progressive legislation to facilitate the establishment of a variety of offshore structures including international business companies, offshore banks, offshore insurance companies and wealth preservation trusts.
Air New Zealand operates various flights through Rarotonga to Auckland, Tahiti, Hawaii, Los Angeles and Fiji, which provide direct access to the United Kingdom, USA, South East Asia, Australia as well as Europe. Rarotonga has a satellite international telephone and facsimile system. Direct dialing to Rarotonga is available from most countries. Internet and e-mail access is also freely available.
Type of law
Type of company for international trade and investment
Procedure to incorporate
Language of legislation and corporate documents
Restrictions on trading
Powers of the company
Shelf companies available
Time to incorporate
Language of name
Suffixes to denote Limited Liability
Disclosure of beneficial ownership to government authorities
Issued share capital
Classes of shares permitted
Should you require additional information, request a quotation or clarify any related matter, please contact one of our consultants who will be happy to assist with your enquiries.
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