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Tax Engineering

What is the difference between tax haven and offshore?


Question

What is the difference between a tax and offshore? Do both concepts involve tax payment?

Answer

The main difference between tax haven and offshore territory lies in tax rates and location. A tax haven is a country where non-residents are not subject to tax, for example, Belize, and an offshore territory can be any country, with or without fiscal obligations, that is outside of the taxpayer's tax residence. That is, a person who is a tax resident in Spain can register a company in an offshore territory with obligation to pay tax, for example, in the United States or can set up a company in a tax haven where tax rates for non-residents are 0%, for example in Belize. In both cases the fiscal location would be outside of client´s country of residence in Spain (offshore) but the concept of tax payment would be different since in the tax haven non-redients don't pay them and in the offshore territory you may or may not pay them. If we want to entangle a bit more the concept of offshore we have to emphasize that there are 2 types of offshore jurisdictions, a jurisdiction with 0% tax rate or with taxes. Offshore territories with taxes are also known as onshore territories.



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