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Has anybody with a Hong Kong company been through an Offshore Profits claim?

 

in Hong Kong by @prof | 5yr  | 23 comments

Iโ€™ve just hit the 18-month mark of business in Hong Kong ready to submit by first Profit Tax Return. I also have the option of filing an Offshore Profits claim.

The Offshore Profits claim itself seems to be a convoluted, long drawn-out process with significant costs to bare in working with a certified CPA to answer Inland Revenue Department questioning.

Iโ€™d love it if somebody who has been through this already were able to answer the following questions:

  • How long did it take for the claim to be accepted or denied?
  • What was the end result?
  • How much did the IRD dig into each transaction?
  • How much did you pay your agent to deal with the offshore claim?

Any insights are much appreciated! :slightly_smiling:

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@nouk | 3yr

Many people think they will have to pay no corporate tax when they incorporate in HK, if you want a real opinion about HK, you should ask people who have at least a 2 year old company.
I know someone who thought he would not pay any corporate tax, during the offshore profits claim, he has been asked to provide local tax receipt of his local tax authorities as he was not a tax resident, he could not provide it and had to pay the 15,6% corporate tax. Furthermore, he had to pay the HK company for doing the paperwork 2400 euros. In Total, it was like incorporating in the UK, where corporate tax is 20% because i can count the paperwork has a type of โ€œtaxโ€. If we count the paperwork, local offshore company fees and tax, it was like 20% perhaps more.

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Yes, this is a very good point which most people are not aware of, when they setup a HK company. I believe it was on the IRDโ€™s website at one point in the past (but their site is horrible so I canโ€™t find the exact language they use), but it was almost exactly as you described: they expect you to have paid tax somewhere!

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@karenchen | 4yr

I have worked with many tax advisors on this matter. They offer similar advices and services but fees vary significantly. My advice is, work with a trusted tax advisor with reasonable fees. If your companyโ€™s earnings justify, definitely worth doing so. After living and working in many different cities around the world, I still find Hong Kong is the best place to have your company to conduct business.

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@prof | 5yr

Thought Iโ€™d just add to this in case anyone is searching and is wondering about the true cost of a Hong Kong set-up. Iโ€™ve just gone through all invoices and totalled it all up. All costs are in USD.

Starting Up
$1089 - Incorporation Costs with Registration / Secretary / Address

After 12 Months
$795 - Yearly Renewal / Secretary / Address Costs
$55 - Admin Fees for Director Resolutions to Withdraw Dividends

This isnโ€™t too bad. But soon it begins to stingโ€ฆ

After 18 Months
$350 - Profit Tax Return Year 14/15 (NIL Value As < 18 months audit not required)
$1375 - Audited Reports with Profit Tax Return Year 15/16
$40 - Printing and Admin Fees

After 24 Months
$795 - Year Renewal / Secretary / Address Costs
$1375 (TBC)+ - Audited Reports with Profit Tax Return Year 16/17
$2500 - Offshore Profits Claim

Total: $8374

The offshore profits claim is the biggest hit - the expense is for a tax advisor to justify it - but once itโ€™s done it should be good for up to 5 years OR if your business nature changes.

And this is excluding the $40/month Xero subscription and all the hours of book-keeping and receipt collecting that goes with it.

Of course all these costs are variable. This is just my experience. I think my yearly audits are expensive, but I think the incorporation and renewal costs are relatively cheap by comparison.

If you can be approved on the Offshore Profits Claim and are making good money then after Year 2 things should be pretty nice I guess. But thereโ€™s definitely a whole bunch of costs in getting to that point that Iโ€™m not sure many people appreciate!

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@homakov | 5yr

What is going to happen if you just stop paying/auditing and drop your company? Any increased fee or law enforcement?

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@homakov IRD will reach out and if things get really bad, theyโ€™ll commence civil proceedings against you. However, this does take time to go through the system. I wouldnโ€™t recommend it - much better to go through the correct procedure to close the company (which is what Iโ€™m doing at present).

@prof Thanks for the breakdown - mine were considerably higher than that. In comparison, each offshore corp I own costs approximately $1000 (USD) per year to maintain. No audit/filing and I can keep simple accounts on a spreadsheet. The other annoying thing about HK is I would get periodic โ€œsurveysโ€ to complete, with the threat of a fine if I didnโ€™t return it in a timely manner.

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@prof | 5yr

@international_man Ha. Funny you should mention surveys. About 5 minutes ago I just opened my residential mailbox and received a letter from HSBC Hong Kong requesting an update business certificates held, various other documents, proof residence, passport scans and all the rest otherwise with threat of closure if not submitted within the next three months.

This is a pain, but I should be able to drum together all the documentationโ€ฆ

But what concerns me is in a month or so Iโ€™m planning to leave where Iโ€™m at now and travel for a few months. I will essentially have no permanent residence anywhere. So - I do wonder how it would be possible to maintain an account if you were perpetually traveling. Any thoughts?

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@prof Iโ€™ve never heard of that before from HSBCโ€ฆ but doesnโ€™t surprise meโ€ฆ

Get a virtual office address in Hong Kong and update the address held by HSBC, IRD etc to this. Then have the virtual office provider collate your mail and courier it to where you happen to be at the time.

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@prof | 5yr

@international_man Yeah itโ€™s a KYC review apparently. They want residential address confirmation as well as business address confirmation so Iโ€™m not sure that would cut it.

Iโ€™m ok for now - just a bit of a concern for the future since itโ€™s not always easy to get proof of address somewhere obscure if youโ€™re only in short-term accommodation.

This month has been insane for business operation stresses like this. Canโ€™t wait for it all to be over so I can get back to focussing on real business again.

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@busdriver | 4yr

Yes, I checked. It did for a client of mine with 2 HSBC business and 1 private account. Did it for you?

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@busdriver | 4yr

Did anyone thought of closing down a HK LTD before it becoming costly and to open a new one?
I have no clue what the HK authorities would do, but maybe not muchโ€ฆ

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Itโ€™s an unnecessary hassle. As Iโ€™ve mentioned elsewhere, HK is a crap jurisdiction. Set things up right so you can get on with the task of running the business and not worrying about admin.

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@mike2381 | 4yr

What has been your experience opening bank accounts with your BVI corp? I successfully opened a OCBC Singapore account with a Belize corp, I had to fly there and present a bunch of documents and certificates.

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BVI with DBS in Singapore. Set this particular one up October last year. Easy - flew there as well, chatted with the banker who appeared to show a genuine interest in what I was doing. As a banking flag, I donโ€™t think you can wrong with Singapore.

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@mxgrn | 5yr

@prof Thanks so much for this summing up, truly useful.

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@nomadfamily | 4yr

@prof.

Hey Prof. Thanks for the breakdown. Great. Can you share some details of the accountant that u used in HK. Thanks. Would love to chat further about this also. Do you have an address I can get u on.
What time zone u in?

Thanks

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@rich | 3yr

@prof @international_man Just bumping this back up. Any recommendations in terms of accountants to use for Hong Kong PTR, tax query letter (to justify offshore status) & shutting down a company?

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@rich thereโ€™s literally hundreds you could choose from. DM me and I can provide you with contact details for the accountancy firm I use.

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@rich | 3yr

just messaged youโ€ฆ but also replying for others who might see thisโ€ฆ Yes there are hundreds of accountants, but itโ€™s tedious to ask each for a quote and even then you donโ€™t know which hidden costs they pile on later, so therefore asking for recommendationsโ€ฆ

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@prof | 5yr

Yup. To be honest Iโ€™m beginning to feel that way too.

I keep pretty immaculate accounting records but I a lot of my activities donโ€™t have much of a paper trail outside of final invoices. This is what concerns me with the offshore claim.

Iโ€™ve found that Hong Kong companies are frighteningly simple to set-up, but an absolute nightmare to manage. And now it looks like achieving the 0% offshore tax rate which seemed desirable in the first place is likely to be an uphill struggle too.

The costs are never-ending and I feel like no agent is ever truly up-front about this.

How easy was it to make that shift?

I shudder to think how involved it would be to wind down a Hong Kong company.

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@prof Indeed. I feel your pain. Additionally, theyโ€™ll likely charge you provisional tax too (if you made a profit and if they believe you donโ€™t qualify for the exemption).

Iโ€™m actually winding down an old HK company of mine - itโ€™s a 9 month process! Unbelievableโ€ฆ

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@maxhenry | 5yr

Yes, this is interesting, we have the same issues in HK.

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@prof This is why, frankly, HK is not a good โ€œoffshoreโ€ jurisdiction. Yes, itโ€™s possible to have the claim accepted, but youโ€™ll need to go through the same process each year. Iโ€™ve not personally been through it as it was going to be far too much hassle. Instead I decided to shift everything to a BVI company.

As for costs, these will depend on the CPA, but from memory it was around 4-5K USD when I last spoke with a CPA. Additionally, they said the process could take up to 4-5 months.

Hope that helps.

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Read and participate in 13,976 discussions on Nomad List

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Where to set up offshore LLC (as an American)?


by @gnefkow | 1yr 1 year ago | 8 comments

Hello,

Iโ€™ve been searching through the forum, but most of the information Iโ€™ve found seems a little old and Americans, unfortunately, seem to be exceptions to a lot of things.

Situation:
Iโ€™ll start a new job with a 1-2 year contract outside the US in about a month, I:

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From research so far, it looks like the best options for me are Belize, though I see a lot of people talking about Hong Kong or Singapore. I know that within the US, Delaware LLCโ€™s are easy to set up, and may be a good short-term option since Iโ€™ll likely qualify for the foreign tax exemption in 2018.

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Gaming Cheat Software Offshore Incorporation


by @pixels | 1yr 1 year ago | 1 comment

Greetings Nomads,

I recently closed a US company that was used to sell cheats or hacks for popular games due to imminent litigation.

I have just recently embarked on a similar venture, but working as a contractor. Myself, and my lead developer have just found ourselves in the position of not being paid and will need to re-establish ourselves.

Due to my experience in marketing, distribution and management I know running a company myself would still be a successful venture, I just do not want to run it out of the US.

Due to the nature and risk of litigation from large gaming companies I believe moving offshore will be the path I should take. I spoke with my attorneys, who basically made it sound like it would be impossible to set up without physically living somewhere, based on my past experience with these guys, and paying tens of thousands of dollars to protect myself just for them to say โ€œitโ€™s best to shut downโ€ the moment we were contacted by a gaming company, I am going to assume itโ€™s their lack of experience.

My questions are:

  1. As a service likely in the same realm as Adult Services or Gambling, with myself residing in the US and my Lead dev residing in Europe, what country would be a good option to set up with fair tax that cant easily be pressured by US or European game producers?

  2. In said country should I find and contact legal council there instead of using US attournies to fumble through this charging me exponentially more to just relay info and elongate the process?

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

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in Singapore by @raphadk | 1yr 1 year ago | 14 comments

Hey guys, hereโ€™s a question Iโ€™ve been asking nomads I meet everywhere, but still havenโ€™t found good information. My startups mostly focus on american and european markets but I donโ€™t have a registered company, nor I live permanently on any of these countries.

I get the cash payments online in paypal (or adsense) and transfer it to Thailand (or Malaysia, or Bali, or Brazil, or wherever Iโ€™m at). The thing isโ€ฆ for low volume living expenses it seems fine, but as I scale the business, Iโ€™m starting to think more and more about fiscal law.

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Hello everyone,

I am a resident of Canada and I just found this site. I have been involved in cryptocurrency since 2011. I have been taking a bit of profits and paying capital gains taxes on my withdrawals for the 5 years. The problem is, 2018 is going to be a big for me because I have some investments that I expect to 10x in value. If I proceed with active trading the gains are getting to be so much that they are really going to cut into my bottom line.

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How can I find a fair incorporation service in Hong Kong?


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Hello, Iโ€™m thinking about launching a new company in Hong Kong for an international EC business though Iโ€™m not a resident nor have any address, will not live in Hong Kong.
Iโ€™ve googled and found hundreds of incorporation service offices but donโ€™t have any idea which one is trust worthy, and which one is rip-off or con.
Can anybody recommend a specific service or tell me how to find a good service?

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Anybody around Europe over the next few months?


by @paulrose | 3yr 3 years ago | 9 comments

Hi All

Soโ€ฆ a few months ago when I was in Asia, for some reason I decided that it was gonna be too hot over the summer months and I wanted to mix it up with a few months touring Europe. So I had the idea to buy and RV and drive round for a few months.

Meet Teagan :slight_smile:

Itโ€™s taken a few months going through the process of getting my license to drive the RV, because itโ€™s so large it wasnโ€™t covered on my standard driving license. Add to that, I had some solar panels fitted for unlimited power, and a massive satellite dish for internet wherever I go.

Iโ€™ve now got my ferry booked out of the UK for September 11th and at the moment have no plans past the first few weeks.

Has anyone on here done anything similar before? Any places recommended, or anyone around Europe over the next few months?

Iโ€™m doing about 3 months worth before heading to Vegas for NYE and around the states for a few months after that before back to Asia for a bit.

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by @kfk | 4yr 3 years ago | 6 comments

Ok, I was just writing a PM here on banks and the question popped in my head. I am not a digital nomad, but I am very close to that way of living, in the sense that I donโ€™t want to commit to any specific physical location, long term investment (maybe only private pension), long term in general actually.

Now, I use Deutsche Bank. Nothing against them, but:

  • I hate to have an account manager that calls me telling me I should invest my money
  • The online banking is good but not great
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  • minimal paperwork
  • no account manager
  • 90% async communication (I call them, they call me only if the house is on fire)
  • they donโ€™t request a physical address and they DO NOT SEND PAPER STUFF to my mailbox

Anything like this?

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Hong Kong accounting costs


in Hong Kong by @mapiactravel | 4yr 3 years ago | 1 comment

I am looking into setting up an LTD in Hong Kong.

There would be 2 owners and around 250 invoices per month (no sales in HK).

What would be a realistic annual cost?

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Incorporate in Hong Kong, name that cheques get made out to


in Hong Kong by @ktran03 | 4yr 4 years ago | 3 comments

I currently have a log of cheques form clients written to my name.

Iโ€™m not yet setup as a corporation in Hong Kong, but am thinking about doing so. Will I be able to deposit these cheques from my name into my business bank account?

Also, I wish to continue to receive cheques to my name. Will I be able to deposit them into my business based in Hong Kong?

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Anybody in Slovenia?


in Slovenia by @wanderingjoanne | 4yr 4 years ago | 3 comments

Hey everybody!

This is a long shot, but I am happily settled in my Airbnb in Maribor, Slovenia, for the next 2 months (until mid-September 2016) and just wondered if there were any other nomads nearby?

Itโ€™s a very chilled out place โ€“ just what I need at the moment โ€“ though any company is appreciated!

Give me a shout if youโ€™re nearbyโ€ฆ

Jo :slight_smile:

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