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There’s no doubt that many of us have endured a difficult 2020. COVID-19 has negatively impacted many businesses and communities alike. But here at RAK ICC we’ve managed to buck the trend and continue our growing success story.

How has RAK ICC achieved this? We believe it’s a combination of being well prepared and being quick to act. Here are five examples of what we think has helped RAK ICC and its many companies fare so well over the past year.

1. Strong foundations

Just before everyone became more aware of what a coronavirus was, RAK ICC launched its Join the Flight to Quality campaign. This brought together all the benefits that make RAK ICC such a premium choice as an international corporate registry. Many of these benefits meant it was well placed to both weather these challenging times itself and also help businesses do the same.

Setting up a business at RAK ICC means benefiting from the UAE’s strategic location within a world class jurisdiction. The UAE has a well-diversified and resilient economy. Its GDP per capita is similar to Germany and Canada, for example. Its bank and legal systems are on a par with Hong Kong and the UK.

Businesses here were also not burdened in the same way they may have been in other countries. Corporate tax is 0%. Capital gains tax is 0%. This low taxation certainly helped companies stabilise their finances. You can find out more about the Flight to Quality campaign here.

2. Meeting Economic Substance Regulation (ESR) needs

Of course, COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing playing on the minds of some business owners throughout the first half of 2020. For various reasons, including not meeting ESR, the EU updated its list of countries regarded as non-cooperative for tax purposes back in February. These included American Samoa, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu.

There are some big names there, but the UAE isn’t one of them. In part, this is because it introduced a Cabinet Ministers’ resolution to comply with ESR, resulting in the UAE being whitelisted. During this period, there was a rush by many companies in blacklisted jurisdictions to redomicile elsewhere. Many choose to do so via RAK ICC.

Most companies can comply with ESR in RAK ICC by outsourcing to their registered agents or third parties. But beyond this RAK ICC offers strict compliance with international regulations and transparency requirements. It gives access to an independent judicial system and common law courts, as well as fast and easy registration and 100% foreign ownership.

However, quite possibly what really made RAK ICC stand out was its ability to provide more than one solution to a very complex ESR problem. 

3. The solutions to cope with demand

We’re seeing an ever-increasing demand for whitelisted jurisdictions able to offer something beyond a pure International Business Company (IBC). Ras Al Khaimah is able to provide options for mainland registration, for free zone set up, as well as establishing an International Business Company (IBC).

Companies registering via RAK ICC are able to outsource their Core Income Generating Activities (CIGAs), so long as the activities are performed in the UAE. Alternatively, they can take advantage of the Premium Product to establish a corporate structure combing an IBC with a free zone subsidiary by incorporating with RAK ICC first, before then utilising the license options available through our sister organization Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ). Finally, businesses may be able to form a branch on the mainland in the UAE, which is frequently treated as the same legal entity.

4. Stimulus measures

Despite these many positives, the challenging times have still hit hard some registered agents and those looking to redomicile. This is why RAK ICC reacted rapidly to announce an unprecedented level of business stimulus measures in April 2020.

The bulk of this support came via exclusive discounts to help businesses keep costs under control. Up until the end of June 2020, RAK ICC offered a 50% waiver on new agent registration fees and new incorporations, and a 25% discount on Premium packages.

Those who were already agents with RAK ICC could take advantage of the amnesty programme that extended for the rest of 2020. Here companies under the amnesty programme are not required to pay renewal fees for the past years and not pay restoration fees.

5. Digital ready

Ras Al Khaimah, and in fact much of the mainland, has long had modern and well-established IT and telecommunications infrastructure in place. It means that, for example, the UAE has the fastest mobile download and upload speeds in the world, according to the Speedtest Global Index for July 2020.

When the pandemic hit, hundreds of companies could also easily take advantage of RAK ICC’s digital solutions to keep managing their operations and stay up-to-date. Its registration process is  completely online, for example. Using the RAK ICC digital portal, companies can be easily incorporated or transferred from other jurisdictions allowing for a seamless redomiciliation process.

Customers have also been able to take advantage of a number of hot topic webinars – including Key ways to protect your wealth, How to meet ESR regulations in the UAE, RAK ICC succession and estate planning in an uncertain environment, International Structuring in the UAE – with many more already in the pipeline. You can find out more about our webinars here.

Looking to the future

The rest of 2020 is likely to be dominated by the pandemic and its societal and economic fallout. Here at RAK ICC, we’re continuing to work hard so we can provide the best possible support to our current businesses and offer the most diverse and useful options to those looking to redomicile.

We all need to adapt quickly to our new ways of working and doing business. RAK ICC has already proven itself capable of helping clients meet two of the most challenge business scenarios of recent times in COVID-19 and ESR. RAK ICC is therefore perfectly placed to help your company achieve success well into the future.

If you’re looking to take advantage of what RAK ICC has to offer and be part of the flight to quality , please get in touch on +971 7 207 7177, or email info@rakicc.com for more information.