Tax Haven Cook Islands

Home / Tax Havens of the World / Tax Haven Cook Islands

As a tax haven, Cook Islands have made efforts to strengthen its offshore financial sector. Despite the development of its financial services, tax haven Cook Islands heavily depend on tourism, which brings in excess of 90,000 visitors to the islands on an annual basis. Next to tourism, the offshore financial services sector is the second largest economic contributor to tax haven Cook Islands tax haven.

Country Overview

Tax haven Cook Islands consist of 15 islands in the South Pacific situated between French Polynesia and Fiji. The Cooks Islands are a self-governing democracy and has associated statehood with New Zealand, with the Queen being represented by a Representative who is head of state. The two main political parties are the Cook Islands Party and the Democratic Alliance Party. All together, there is an estimated population of 19,000 inhabitants. Tax haven Cook Islands have a total land mass of 240 square kilometers ad cover an exclusive economic zone of approximately 2 million square kilometers.

Tax haven Cook Islands are divided into two major groups: the Northern and Southern Groups. The Northern group comprises of Nassau, Rakahanga, Suwarrow, Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka, and the Southern groups comprises of Rarotonga, Mangaia, Palmerston, Aitutaki, Manuae, Mitiaro, Atiu, Takutea and Mauke.

Tax haven Cook Islands has up to date communications facilities, shares the same education curriculum as New Zealand, and there is regular air access to New Zealand, Auckland, Fiji, Tahiti, Los Angeles, the United States and Rarotonga (the main island) on ad daily basis.

Cook Islands Fiscal Incentives and Advantages

Tax haven Cook Islands offers many taxation and legal benefits for offshore investing. Some of these include:

  • Legal system based on English Common Law
  • Strict customer confidentiality
  • No exchange controls
  • No income tax
  • No corporate tax on profits
  • No withholding tax
  • No capital gains tax
  • No double Tax Treaties hence no obligation to exchange tax information with overseas tax authorities

Cook Islands Legislative Framework

As a tax haven the Cook Islands has in place a robust legislative framework that ensures that offshore activities within the islands are carried on in a regulated fashion and according to locally and internationally established norms. Tax haven Cook Islands has implemented a series of offshore acts that govern the various offshore entities registered in and operate from the Cook Islands. These include:

  • Limited Liability Company Act, 2008
  • Banking Act, 2003
  • International Trusts Act, 1984
  • Financial Supervisory Commission Act, 2003
  • International Partnerships Act, 1984
  • Trustee Companies Act, 1981-82
  • Insurance Act, 2008
  • Financial Transaction Reposting Act, 2004
  • International Companies Act, 1981-82

Cook Islands Offshore Financial Services

Tax haven Cook Islands promotes itself as the ideal tax planning and asset jurisdiction. As a tax haven, While providing first class offshore services in a discreet environment, the Cook Islands provides thorough legislative framework for the provision of the following offshore financial services:

  • International Trusts
  • International Business Companies
  • International Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Offshore Banking
  • International Insurance

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)

The regulatory body responsible for supervising regulated financial entities and services is the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). The FSC was formed on July 1, 2003 and replaced the Offshore Financial Services Commission. The FSC of tax haven Cook Islands consists of a Commissioner, Board, Registrar of International Companies and International trusts, and the supervisory staff. The FSC is also responsible for licensing ‘licensed financial institutions’ such as trustee companies, international insurances, domestic and international banks. The Registry for Foreign Companies, International Partnerships and Trusts, as well as International Companies falls under the FSC.

The FSC of tax haven Cook Islands is a member of various international and regional organisations, namely, the Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors, at which it is recognised as an observer, the Association of Financial Supervisors of Pacific Countries and the Corporate Registers Forum.

Offsite inspections of banks and insurances are conducted in a quarterly and six month basis respectively. Onsite inspections at banks are done once every year. In May 2008, tax haven Cook Islands were named the leading islands in the Pacific in the fight against corruption published by AusAid in the Pacific Economic Survey.

Recent Developments

On January 1, 2009, tax haven Cook Islands made the Insurance Act 2008 effective. The Insurance Act was established in order to provide regulation for brokers and agents operating in the Cook Islands, domestic insurance companies and modernizing the present supervisory system for offshore insurers. In June 2008, legislation was passed in tax haven Cook Islands to allow for the incorporation of offshore Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). This piece of legislation was added to tax haven’s law library to create a more competitive financial services sector given the flexibility and simplicity of the LLC as a corporate entity.

Get to top