Company registration in the Marshall Islands
Company registration in the Marshall Islands

The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) is composed of 1,156 individual islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Due to its political and economic stability it is a popular hub of business opportunities, particularly for investors looking to open their own shipping company or register a vessel under its beneficial flag as it is home to the second biggest ship registry in the world which includes ocean-going vessels, floating manufacturing platforms, mobile drilling units and private yachts. Aside from the numerous tax and regulatory incentives given to the maritime industry, Marshall Islands is also a prominent jurisdiction for international business and investment companies due to zero corporate taxation, limited reporting requirements, a legislation based on the infamous Delaware Law and most attractively because it is the only country in the world that still allows bearer shares.

  • Same day incorporation
  • Low formation and renewal fees
  • OECD Whitelist Jurisdiction
  • Bearer Shares Allowed
  • No corporate tax for non-resident companies (3% tax for resident companies)
  • No personal Income tax for non-residents
  • No tax on dividends, royalties or interest
  • No wealth or inheritance tax
  • No foreign exchange (FX) gains
  • No capital gains tax from the sale of shares, other securities or immovable property
  • No stamp duty on property transfers, share transfers and other business transactions
  • No wage or salary tax for non-resident companies and their employees
  • No public access to accounts, director, shareholder or beneficial owner information
  • Most business activities fall under strict substance requirements which can significantly rise operational costs. Failure to comply may lead to hefty fines and company dissolution.
  • Untrustworthy reputation of a tax haven can lead to difficulties with bank account opening and execution of business transactions with counterparties
  • Financial service companies cannot be incorporated in the Marshall Islands due to lack of a relevant regulatory authority
  • Non-resident companies are not permitted to trade on the local market
  • Some restrictions on local investment
  • No access to VAT clearing

Company Formation and the Maritime Industry in the Marshall Islands

Company formation regardless of the entity type is a simple and quick procedure that can be completed in a single day. Due to the fact that the Marshall Islands Association Law is modeled on a combination of both UK and US corporate laws, investors have the flexibility of incorporating their legal entity in the US style with a President, Secretary and Treasurer, or in the UK style with a Director and Corporate Secretary.

As mentioned above, the Marshall Islands is an invaluable jurisdiction for the shipping industry. The Marshallese International Registries Inc. (IRI) is one of the oldest non-governmental flag state administrators in the world with extensive experience, high quality standards and a progressive environmental protection attitude, operating on a 24/7 basis through 28 offices around the globe. The IRI is famous for offering outstanding services for the maritime industry including vessel registration, crew examination, radio licensing, ship inspections, technical assistance and most importantly mortgage and financing charter recordation and documentation which is trusted by major shipbuilders and financial institutions around the world. Moreover, the RMI permits dual/parallel bareboat registration which gives vessel owners the ultimate advantage to reap the benefits of the Marshall Islands Registry without losing its status in the registry of origin. It has also implemented a unique legislation that permits the registration of a vessel or yacht that remains mortgaged in its country of registry, allowing for the uninterrupted continuation of the preferred status of the mortgage; consequently, the foreign mortgage lien accompanies the ship into the Marshall Islands Registry.

Ship-owners that already have an incorporated entity in another jurisdiction but wish to take advantage of the benefits offered by the Marshall Islands Registry, can do so by registering for a unique legal entity – the Foreign Maritime Entity (FME) in the RMI. However, it is worth noting, that all companies registered in the Marshall Islands, including the FME must comply with the local substance requirements which entails physical offices, employees, local expenditure and full management and control of the company within the Marshall Islands. For more information on economic substance, please visit our physical presence section or contact our firm for a free consultation.

Corporate Features of a Marshall Islands IBC

Incorporation Time One Business Day
Local Registered Agent Required Yes
Local Registered Address Required Yes
Migration of Domicile Permitted Yes
Minimum Share Capital USD 1.00
Minimum Paid Up No Minimum
Maximum Share Capital No Maximum
Bearer Shares Allowed Yes
Minimum number One
Maximum number No Maximum
Publicly accessible records No
Corporate shareholder allowed Yes
Annual General Meeting Required No
Minimum Number One
Maximum Number No Maximum
Local required No
Publicly accessible records Optional
Corporate directorship allowed Yes
Secretary Required Yes
Local Secretary Required No
Other Officials Required No
Requirement to Prepare Yes
Requirements to File Accounts No
Audit Required No
Government Renewal Fee From USD 650 depending on share capital
Annual Return No
Tax Return No
Submission of Economic Substance Report Yes

For more information on the Marshall Islands, vessel registration or a tailored solution for your corporate structure, please feel free to contact our professional corporate team. Our experienced consultants can help you chose the right jurisdiction for your business and can assist you with the full administration of your company, including accounting and audit, bank account opening and legal support.

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