Population: 179,000 (est. 2003)
Languages: Samoan (Polynesian),
Area: 2,934 sq. km (land area)
Currency: Tala (SAT/WST)
Fiscal year: 1 June - 31 May
Independence status: 01/01/1962
(from New Zealand admin. UN trustee)
WESTERN SAMOA is a cluster of Pacific Polynesian Islands about
halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.The economy of Samoa has
traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances
from overseas, and agriculture and fishing.The manufacturing sector
mainly processes agricultural products.Tourism is an expanding
Western Samoa is an independent nation with a parliamentary government.
The Constitution provides for a Head of State, Prime Minister
and Cabinet of Ministers who comprise the Executive Council and
the Legislative Assembly. There are two major political parties,
and both strongly support the new Offshore Banking, Insurance
and International Companies legislations allowing for tax-free
operations by foreigners.Western Samoan tax law has its foundation
in English and Commonwealth statutory common law. The five acts
which are the basis for the Offshore Finance, Banking and Insurance
centre are based upon English law, with an intermingling of the
laws of the various financial centres.
The local currency unit is the Samoan Tala. Entities registered
under offshore finance centre legislation are not subject to any
currency or foreign exchange controls. There are no currency or
exchange controls or regulations on any foreign currency transation
effected by an International Company ("IC").
Western Samoa has signed no tax treaties with any nation. It is
against the law for anyone having information pertaining to the
business profits of any bank, company, insurer or trust to divulge
that information to outside tax collectors or other investigators.
Each of the various Acts has built-in provisions within their texts
vigorously forbidding the divulgence of confidential information.
Files kept by the Registrar and documents lodged with them are confidential
and are not available for inspection by the public.
International Companies, Offshore Banks, Insurance Companies,
and International Trusts are exempt from income tax or other duties,
including direct or indirect tax or stamp duty on any transaction
or profits of or on dividends and interest paid by or to any company
registered or licensed under the various Off-shore Acts.
The International Companies Act 1987, as amended in 1998, governs
the incorporation or registration of companies. Under the Act, companies
may be incorporated as international companies or registered as
foreign companies with permanent establishment in Samoa. Companies
incorporated elsewhere can be redomiciled into Samoa. Related Banking
Insurance, and Trust Legislations were introduced in 19987 and 1988
and made a number amendments to make it more "user-friendly"
to increase its attractiveness against other jurisdictions.
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