Incorporation services in the Cook Islands enable the formation of various types of offshore entities, to include trusts, international business companies, limited liability companies and partnerships. International business companies are generally the most sought Cook Island offshore business entities because of their flexible structure and capacities to undertake international trade.

Cook Islands international business companies or IBCs are commonly referred to as offshore companies. The International Companies Act which regulates Cook Islands IBCs allows this type of offshore company to take different forms. For example, an IBC can structured a company which is limited by shares, as a company limited by guarantee, as an unlimited company, no liability company, or a company which is limited by guarantee and shares. An IBC may also be structured to take the form of a mutual company in accordance with the relevant provisions.

An offshore company in the Cook Islands is incorporated with the assistance of offshore service providers, usually a trustee or trustee company. The incorporation process would require that the relevant details of the persons intending to hold shares and direct the company and completion of the documents required to be filled in. Effective incorporation of a Cook Island offshore company occurs by filing the Memorandum of Incorporation with the Registrar responsible for international business companies.

To begin the process of incorporating a Cook Island offshore company, the owners are required to first provide at least two company names in order of preference. This name must be approved by the companies’ registrar on the basis that it does not exist already or is not in violation of any of the provisions for words and expressions that should not be used for naming a Cook Islands offshore company. The name of a Cook Islands offshore company may end with expressions such as Naamloze Vennootschap or N.V, Société à Responsabilité Limitée or SARL, Corporation or Corp., Berhad or Bhd, Limited or Ltd., Public Limited Company or P.L.C., Aktiengesellschaft or A.G, Gesellschaft mit bescrankter Haftung or GmbH.

Directors of a Cooks Islands offshore company are chosen at the free will of the beneficial owner(s) of the company. A director must be appointed, which means that at least one person must fill the post of director. offshore company incorporation rules allow for either a legal entity or a physical person to be appointed as director of a Cook Island offshore company. The same rules apply for the shareholders; at least one person must hold shares in the company.

A strict Cook Island offshore company incorporation requirement is the appointment of a secretary. The secretary must be resident in the Cook Islands and perform all relevant duties as required by the International Companies Act.

When incorporating a Cook Island offshore company, no restrictions are placed on the amount of shares that a company can issue. A number of different types of shares can be issued and administered in accordance with the laws. Once fully incorporated, a Cook Island becomes a fully independent and legal entity with the powers of a legal person, able to enter into agreements, sign contracts and take on other legal proceedings. All the formation documents of a Cook Islands offshore company are prepared in English.