Where to Incorporate

As a rule of thumb, it is best to incorporate in your home country (onshore).

However, if your home country is not business-friendly and puts some limits on your global business activities (such as not being able to use Stripe or not being able to access certain markets), then you may want to consider incorporating in another country (offshore).

There are many business-friendly countries where you could start your company.

A few things to have in mind when choosing the right one:

  • The reputation of the country. The US, the EU countries, or Dubai have a better reputation than some exotic islands.
  • Procedures to open a business bank account. You can incorporate for cheap and fast on an exotic island, but not all banks want to do business with such companies. Without a bank account from a reputable bank, you may run onto business and legal issues later on.
  • The running costs of the company. Some companies require appointing nominee directors, secretaries, and so on. This incurred additional running costs.
  • Taxation. Bad business structure and the wrong place for incorporation could take a big chunk from your profits. Taxation regulations must be considered.

The best business structure for your needs depends on the specifics of your business. However, if you are an aspiring startup owner, an indie maker, or a freelancer, who wants to incorporate offshore without (lots of) travel, the two best options are:

  • The US. You can incorporate and open a business bank account online without travelling to the US. US LLCs (limited liability companies) do not pay corporate taxes in the US. You’ll need to pay just personal income taxes on your earnings in your home country.
  • Estonia. Their e-residency program allows you to become a digital resident of the country, start a business there online, and use government services related to your business. The only travel required is to an Estonian embassy anywhere in the world to pick up your e-residency ID. You can open a business bank account in any EU country, including online banks (as long as you are an EU citizen).


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