What Is a Nevis LLC?
A Nevis LLC is a limited liability company established on the island of Nevis, West Indies. Nevis is located in the Caribbean Sea southeast of Florida. Most people set them up for asset protection purposes. The legislature enacted favorable laws to encourage the formation of the Nevis LLC. The government has continuously improved upon the statutes since 1995 when they first came into effect. There was an amendment passed in 2015 that provides additional benefits such as reducing the timeframe for charging order liens. A charging order is essentially a lien on a member’s ownership interest in an LLC. With a Nevis LLC, the lien falls off in three years. Such liens are not renewable.
The island of Nevis comprises a portion of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country is analogous to a country with two states; Saint Kitts on one hand and Nevis on the other. The islands are located two miles from one another across a channel called The Narrows. Nevis has its own separate company legislation apart from the laws in Saint Kitts.
Nevis was the first offshore tax haven to enact LLC statutes. Moreover, lawmakers continuously enhance the legal protections that the Nevis LLC offers. We also have a virtual office program in Nevis. We also have a virtual office program in Nevis. This includes a Nevis address with mail forwarding. It also includes a Nevis phone number and assistance forming a bank account in Nevis or elsewhere.
- A Nevis LLC can hold assets in any jurisdiction.
- For asset protection purposes, is best if the company’s funds are not invested in America institutions. This is because US courts have jurisdiction over US financial accounts.
- If there is only one member, one files the 8832 form with the IRS and elects disregarded entity status. In such case, one reports Nevis LLC income on one’s own personal tax forms. (See a CPA first.)
- If there is more than one member, an LLC needs to file an information report with the IRS.
Nevis LLC Asset Protection
It is important to know the asset protection benefits of Nevis LLCs. The Nevis High Court does not recognize a charging order issued by a foreign court, such as a US court. As such, creditors must apply for an entirely separate action within the Nevisian legal system. We have not seen even one case where a US creditor obtained a charging order lien through the Nevis courts to uphold a US judgment. Not one.
There was an instance in 2015 where one Florida court ruled that a creditor could foreclose on the debtor’s membership interest in a Nevis LLC. The mistake the Nevis LLC member made, however, was this: The assets were in the US where the US courts had jurisdiction.
The court has ruled that it can order foreclosure on the debtor’s single-member Nevis LLC because of state law. That is, since one can foreclose on a single-member Florida LLC. So, the courts allowed foreclosure on the Nevis LLC and seized the local assets. There are other courts that have reached an opposite result. Thus, they say charging liens must be filed in Nevis where the company originated.
The lesson? Keep assets that you hold in your Nevis LLC in international accounts. That way, US courts do not have jurisdiction. We have other strategies for real estate asset protection.
Nevis LLC Privacy
The members and managers of a Nevis LLC can enjoy significant privacy. The government does not post such names in the public records for these entities. Thus, it provides members and managers with peace-of mind that their identities will remain protected from prying eyes or ears. This is, of course, except for serious criminal matters such as drug dealing or terrorism. Nevis limited liability companies offer more protection than those of any other country worldwide. You may hold your company records anywhere in the world.
That being said, Nevis wants to make sure it does only good, clean, honest business. So, to form a Nevis LLC, one needs to provide know-your-client documents. They require this due diligence to show the owner of the Nevis LLC is a good guy, not a bad guy. So, expect to provide the following legally required items:
- Proof of residential address. This must be a recent utility bill, credit card statement or bank statement. You can provide the original document or a copy that has been certified by a notary public as a true copy of the original.
- A copy of the photograph page of your passport (or a copy of your driver’s license*) duly certified by a notary public.
- A financial institution reference letter (such as a bank).
- A professional reference letter (attorney or accountant). We may be able to help, if needed.
- The purpose for which the company is required and provide full details.
- Source of funds and the estimated capital you will initially deposit into the company.
Why? Not to be nosey. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather do business in a place where your money is safe? Where they have a good reputation? Or do you want the place to be like Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela were bad guys run free. Where somebody could seize your property on a moment’s notice? So that’s why.
In addition, if Nevis did not collect due diligence, the OECD would impose economic sanctions on them. (The OECD is a group of 38 countries that enforce economic policies.) So, it’s required. Plus, most of our clients want do business in a financial center with a good, clean reputation.
Asset Protection Benefits
- The benefits of an LLC include protecting your assets from lawsuits, agencies and financial creditors.
- Owners are protected by law because they cannot be held legally responsible for company debts or obligations in case something goes wrong with the business operation. This provides peace-of mind. Members can feel secure that if anything happens to arise within the organization the Nevis LLC protects their personal assets.
- Managers can also enjoy full control over the company regardless of whether or not that person is a Nevis LLC member.
Nevis LLC Benefits
- The laws in Nevis previously stated that a creditor must post a bond of 100,000 dollars before they can file legal documents against one’s interest with an LLC. As of 2019 The High Court can set this bond for any amount including well over $100K!
- The statute of limitations period for fraudulent transfers is only two years. For example, say you transfer assets into a Nevis LLC today. We are not saying that the assets won’t be protected until after two years. The company protects the assets right away. What we are saying, rather, is that after two years, the Nevis courts will refuse to hear challenges of asset transfers into the LLC.
- The creditor needs to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt that the LLC member conveyed assets into the LLC to hinder creditors.
- Asset protection is available to single-member LLCs as well as multi-member LLCs.
- Charging orders against a member’s interest in this organization fall away after three years and are not renewable
- A manger can control a Nevis LLC 100%.
- A manager may or may not be a member (owner).
- A Nevis LLC can have an unlimited number of members.
- A person or another company or trust may own the LLC.
- Nevis does not impose tax on offshore companies (though US people are taxed on worldwide income)
- Members may be people or business entities in any country.
- One may merge the company with another company, foreign or domestic.
- LLC members can assign their membership to others.
- Members or those they designate can manage a Nevis LLC.
- There are no limitations to the number or type of membership units.
- May be a good choice for a group of investors because of the liability protection.
- Can set up in as little as 24 hours* during most business days. Naturally, shipping time will take longer.
*Expedite fee required. Timeframes may vary due to due diligence requirements and government processing times.
Nevis LLC vs Corporation
The primary distinction between an LLC and a “normal” company such as C-Corporation (USA), UK limited company or GmbH in Germany is that the LLC can be tax neutral. This means one doesn’t have to worry about paying business taxes when doing business outside of Nevis. Naturally, it is important to get licensed tax advice to make sure you are doing things right.
If the LLC itself has no tax payment obligation – then who does? The responsibility for any taxes that would otherwise be owed by a company bypasses the LLC and attaches directly to members. Members are like shareholders in corporations. Other companies, individuals or trusts can be members as well. There’s no limit on how many members you can have in your Nevis LLC. What matters most though: every individual member is responsible for the tax obligations of his/her own pro-rata share of LLC income.
From an asset protection standpoint, there is no comparison. LLCs offer superior protection. In most jurisdictions, a judgment creditor can seize shares in a corporation. There are protections in place, however, to seizing one’s membership interest in an LLC. This is especially true with a Nevis LLC.
LLC + Trust
Want to maximize your asset protection? Then put your Nevis LLC into an offshore trust. Why? Because our trustee/law firm can step in to protect you when needed. If you are the manager and signatory on the bank accounts, a results-oriented judge can force your hand.
So, we often place Nevis LLCs into Nevis trusts or Cook Islands Trusts. This gives the most powerful asset protection available. Your friendly neighborhood judge does not have jurisdiction over our foreign law firm. So, looking at the case law, this strategy has protected the assets of our clients 100% of the time.
The benefits? The offshore trust plus Nevis LLC structure gives you the ability to deploy your legal armor plating in a snap. The trustee/law firm steps in as manager. Your legal enemy cannot use your local courts to force the seizure of your assets. You maintain access to the funds through your trustee.
Nevis LLC FAQs
Here are some questions people commonly ask about Nevis LLCs
How much a Nevis LLC cost?
Setting up Nevis LLC with our attorneys may cost a few thousand to $10,000, depending on the services you need. We provide the articles, an operating agreement drafted for asset protection and membership certificates.
How safe is this?
Much safer than losing all of your assets to lawsuit. Nevis laws are tailored to protect assets and support the reputation of its financial services industry. The bank account may or may not be in Nevis. You will want to house funds in a jurisdiction that does not recognize foreign judgments.
What about an LLC in another country?
We have conducted research on the countries that offer the most favorable LLC asset protection regulation. At this time we have not found better than Nevis.
Have more questions, or want to form a Nevis LLC and/or offshore asset protection trust? Call us or fill out a free consultation form on this page for more information.