A Cook Islands offshore company is a vehicle for doing international business; at times, the terms Cook Islands International Business Company, Cook Islands IBC or Cook Island offshore company may appear. Cook Island offshore companies are regulated by the International Companies Act of 1981/1982.

A Cook Islands offshore company is able to be incorporated with just one director and shareholder. The person who is director may be the only or one of the shareholders that the company has. Shareholder and director arrangements can be dealt with by two or more people who wish to form the company together. So both can direct and hold shares together, or one can opt to serve as director while the other is shareholder. Anyone who forms a Cook Island IBC would be required to provide photocopied copies of their passports or national identity cards for identification for incorporation. In the event that a legal entity owns or hold shares in a Cook Island international business company, the necessary charter documents of that entity are required as evidence that the entity legally exists.

Anyone who wishes to incorporate a Cook Islands IBC is required to lodge the company’s memorandum and articles of association along with an unsigned copy of these documents. This is submitted to the Registrar by the resident trustee. An approved memorandum and articles of association is signed and sealed under the hand of the Registrar, and will indicate the date on which the company is incorporated. A certificate of incorporation will also be issued and provide the relevant information such as the name and incorporation date of the Cook Islands IBC. Certificates are issued on a twelve month basis after which time are renewed upon payment of the prescribed company maintenance or renewal fee every twelve months following each anniversary of the date of incorporation.

To prevent traveling to the Cook Islands to form a company, offshore incorporation services are provided by trustees and trust companies that are authorized by the authorities. Cook Island IBCs are incorporated within less than five working days. The identity of the beneficial owners of a company is kept confidential and this is strengthened by the fact that the Cook Islands have not signed information agreements with any foreign jurisdictions.

By using a Cook Islands offshore company as a tool for conducting international trade, an offshore company can buy goods in one country and then sell in another through another or the same offshore company, so profits are accumulated in an environment that is not overburdened by taxes. In fact, a Cook Islands international business company can engage in any legal activity except for the provision of bank, insurance and trustee services which require special licensing and are carried out in accordance with a separate law and set of regulations.

Cook Islands international business companies serve well as holding companies for business engaged in investment projects and share ownership. The ability to operate as a holding company makes a Cook Island IBC an effective entity for fund management and administration, holding brokerage accounts and different types of securities. Outside the regular international trading activities, Cook Island IBCs can be used as shipping companies, for treasury management and owning real estate. Intellectual property is a matter of interest to many people involved in software development and entertainment, hence, a Cook Island IBC incorporated solely for this purpose can prove very beneficial if used wisely and effectively. Cook Island offshore companies are restricted from doing business with local residents. All business must be effectively conducted in countries which are not within the jurisdiction of the Cook Islands.