Nevis: The Offshore Tax Haven Nation of the World
In the world of offshore, Nevis specialises in letting its clients create corporations with greater anonymity than almost anywhere else on earth. Since 2012, the island’s financial services sector has grown exponentially, as those wishing to retain anonymity relocated to a place that promises just that. However, with ever-expanding counter legislation cropping up globally, how can Nevis continue to host such controversial services?
Confidentiality & Anonymity
It is this provision of confidentiality that makes Nevis such an obstacle to law-enforcement investigators. If police can’t prove who owns something, they can’t prove it was criminally acquired, say, or that tax was avoided on the profits from it. This is what dishonest business men are looking for when they relocate offices overseas. As of 2018, approximately 300 UK properties are owned in Nevis.
While Nevis specialises in LLCs, some other noteworthy comparisons include:
- Foundations in Lichtenstein.
- Trusts in Jersey.
- Incorporations in the BVI.
LLCs make it hard for creditors to find assets, which also helps HNWIs in court to avoid paying damages for any lost lawsuits. In the US however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide property, as courts can now order a disclosure of information. Conveniently, those courts have no jurisdiction in Nevis, which has allowed the idea of an extremely attractive Caribbean version of the LLC.
Nevis legislation allows HNWIs to protect their property; be it from a business associate, partner, spouse or other family members. All typical “tax haven” destinations do this; however, Nevis seems to be the only country that stuck to such a high protection level over the years. In its efforts to remain competitive, thereby tempting business away from competitors such as Jersey or BVI.
Court Proceedings & Litigation
To bring legal proceedings on Nevis, you have to file a bond of $100,000 with the court as proof that your case isn’t frivolous. If you win, that is only the beginning of your quest for the assets. Nevis’s regulator holds no information on either the ownership of the company or its assets. An LLC in Nevis cannot be wound up, therefore asset confiscation cannot be used as amends or reimbursement of the injured party. If one is looking to bring about litigation regarding the ownership of property being held in a Nevis-registered trust, claimants have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the trust is a sham within 12 months of its incorporation. This is complicated, since Nevis law requires all information on the trust to be confidential, so claimants would be unlikely to know of its existence.
Are these absurdly challenging defenses intended to be used? Rather a mere deterrent of anyone looking to press charges. If they can persuade a claimant into taking an out of court settlement; for a HNWI with vulnerable assets this remains a morally questionable, somewhat legal and undoubtably good-looking alternative option.
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