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Incorporation Services

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Company incorporation is the process of establishing a new commercial entity. In most cases, this is a company intending to trade or provide services in a particular industry or sector. Companies have different responsibilities and legal status than individual traders. This is why it is important to hire a proven, experienced consultancy firm to setup a new corporation. The benefits of this reduce the risk further down the line.

The formalities of company incorporation mean that new entities have a number of requirements to deal with during their creation. These include the following:

●       Shareholder responsibilities – Shareholders need accurate advice and support in order to fulfil their duties as company owners. This includes distribution of shares and also ensuring steps are in place to promote business success, growth and succession planning.

●       Employment law and eligibility to work – New companies must adhere to relevant employment law. They must also ensure employees are fully entitled to work in the UAE, either on a permanent or a temporary basis.

●    Trademarks and patents – The minefield of trademarks and patents requires clear advice and access to the latest information. New company names must not infringe on trademarks, patents, or intellectual property.

●       Customer and employee correspondence – All companies must follow guidance on issuing correct employee notices and correspondence. This is important for tax reasons, employment contracts, end of service benefits and more.

Free Trade Zones are designated areas with special tax, customs and import regimes. The UAE has 50+ Free Zones across all seven Emirates.

Free Zone companies offer significant advantages to the other UAE jurisdictions as they allow 100% foreign ownership and the ability to issue residency visas. Free Zone companies are playing an increasingly important role in international tax and residency planning and they can be presented in international trade and transactions as a solid legal and operating entity and demonstrate sufficient substance for domestic and foreign banks and tax authorities.

Free Zone entities benefit from zero income and corporate tax, full repatriation of capital and profits.

Entities in Freezones classified as designated zones can trade VAT free between them and outside of the free zones through an appointed supplier or agent.

An Onshore or Mainland company is a fully-fledged company registered with the Department of Economic Development (DED). It is the legal entity required to operate within any of the seven Emirates. For clients who wish to conduct business with UAE mainland, both a DED-license and a local partner will be required.

When incorporating an Onshore company, it is mandatory that 51% of company shares are held by a UAE national who is often referred to as the local partner or sponsor. For a predefined annual fee, the local sponsor will pass all management, operational and financial control back to the 49% shareholder.

If the company is in the service sector, certain categories of activities can be under 100% foreign ownership, in this case a UAE National will be required as the appointed Local service Agent.

Offshore companies are the ideal choice for businesses who do not require any physical office space.The UAE follows the traditional International Business Company (IBC) structure through its offshore registries: Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAKICC) and Jebel Ali Freezone (JAFZA).

The UAE is leading the innovation of Offshore jurisdictions and is now considered superior to traditional jurisdictions such as the BVI or Cayman Islands as it is located within a sizable nation with real trade. An offshore structure in the UAE serves as a valuable tool for asset protection, wealth management, tax planning and succession planning and remains straightforward to incorporate and maintain.

Offshore companies are typically used for:

· International Trading Firms (excluding the region in which they are based) who do not need a physical presence.
· Advisory and Consultancy companies – who provide advice anywhere around the world excluding the UAE.
· Holding Assets – holding shares in foreign real estate, holding intellectual property, tax efficient structures, trust and fiduciary arrangement.

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