Can Your Government Find Out Who Owns Your Offshore Company?

It’n not easy for an “Onshore” government to find out who is behind X Company assuming you set up an Offshore Company (eg an IBC ie International Business Company) in a Privacy Haven ie somewhere which:


(a) has no public register of Directors or Shareholders or owners; and

(b) which has passed laws prohibiting release of ownership info except by Court order.


As regards the latter in most IBC jurisdictions, unless the country seeking ownership info has a a TIEA (ie Tax Information Exchange Agreement – see below which explains what that is) with the country wherein the IBC is incorporated, the Courts only have the power to release that info if the Company or someone closely connected to it has been involved in very serious criminal activity eg drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorist financing, illegal arms dealing etc


Privacy Haven jurisdictions include:



What is a Tax Information Exchange Agreement?


A Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) provides for the exchange of information on request relating to a specific criminal or civil tax investigation.


Let’s assume that you set up a Tax Free Offshore Company in a country which has a TIEA with your home/taxing country.


How it works in practice is, if your home state becomes suspicious of your connection to or involvement with an Offshore Company (ie if they think an Offshore Company is being used by you to avoid domestic tax obligations), the Tax Authorities of your home country can request of the Tax Haven Country Government, as of right, (ie if there TIEA has been entered into between the 2 countries) that they give up the name and address of the “underlying beneficial owner” of the company in question.


Although the information isn’t publicly filed this information must/will be kept by the Tax Free Offshore Company’s local Registered Agent who is obliged by law (as a condition of its International Corporate Service Provider’s License) to hand over this information upon request by/to the local Financial Services Authority (who then pass ownership details to the Tax Haven’s Attorney General’s Office who then pass it down the line to the requesting country).


If you’d like to know what TIEAs have been signed by the country where you live please Contact us via email at this address:



Comments are closed.