Lebanon offshore companies
What is an offshore Lebanon company?
- An offshore Lebanon company is a company i) constituted in Lebanon ii) with headquarters in Lebanon, but it is only allowed to pursue commercial and productive activities i) abroad and ii) in Lebanon’s three free trade zones;
- Lebanon offshore companies are henceforth mainly used by businessmen to:
- Sign contracts regarding operations executed outside Lebanon;
- Own actions and other securities in non-resident companies;
- Manage held nonresident companies activities from Lebanon;
- Perform sea transportation activities from Lebanon and;
- Rent or own Lebanese real estate.
- Similarly to a Lebanese PLC, offshore Lebanon company registration requires at least 3 shareholders and 3 directors. A minimum share capital of US$20,000 must also be deposited on a resident bank account.
What are the advantages of incorporating an offshore company in Lebanon?
- A Lebanese offshore company benefit from reduced incorporation requirements including:
- Offshore companies with share capital less than US$34,000 are not required to appoint a company attorney, resulting in annual savings for Our Clients of at least $6,000;
- Offshore companies are not required to appoint any Lebanese citizen amongst their Board of Directors, compared to at least 51% for Lebanese PLCs;
- Offshore companies with assets over US$700 are exempted from obtaining a work permit for all their employees, including their CEO;
- Although subject to annual audit requirements, offshore companies need to appoint only 1 internal auditor, while PLCs must also ask the Trade registry to appoint another, independent, auditor.
- An offshore Lebanese company also benefits from generous tax advantages including:
- A flat corporate tax of US$700, compared to a 15% rate for other Lebanese entities and 25% for Branches;
- Exemption from withholding tax on dividends and salaries distributed abroad;
- Exemption from payroll tax for all its employees.
Table of comparison between an offshore company and a PLC in Lebanon
|Lebanese JSC||Lebanese Offshore company|
|Also known as:||SAL||Entreprise Offshore|
|Incorporation period?||5 weeks||4 weeks|
|Lebanese bank account required?||Yes||Yes|
|Lebanese address required?||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum directors allowed?||3||3|
|Minimum share capital?||US$20,000||US$20,000|
|Corporate tax rate?||15%||US$700|
|Lebanese directors required?||Yes||No|
|Lebanese company attorney required?||Yes||Yes|
|Resident director required?||Yes||No|
|Work Permits required?||Yes||No|
|Can buy Lebanese property?||Yes||Yes|
|Can rent an office in Lebanon?||Yes||Yes|
|Allowed to own Lebanese securities?||Yes||No|
|Can conduct commercial operations in Lebanon?||Yes||No|
|Can conduct productive operations in Lebanon?||Yes||No|
|Incorporation costs (Year 1)?||US$19,860||US$11,830|
|Sample engagement fee invoice||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF|
Lebanese offshore company fees and timelines
- Lebanon offshore business setup costs in year 1 amount to US$6,450 and annual company costs in year 2 and thereafter amount to US$2,700. Average engagement fees include i) offshore company formation In Lebanon ii) Lebanese corporate bank account iii) tax authorities and Social Security registration fees iv) company attorney (if applicable) and v) registered address services;
- Please note that Our Clients proceeding to offshore company incorporation in Lebanon with less than US$34,000 of share capital will save approximately US$6,000 on setup costs, as they will benefit from a waiver to appoint a company attorney.