Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey, is located in the Gulf of St Malo, 120 kilometres to the south of England and about 50 kilometres west of Normandy in France. Together with Jersey, it forms the geographical grouping known as the Channel Islands. It covers approximately 62 sq kms and has a population of approximately 60,000. The capital and principal centre of business activity is St. Peter Port.
As a Crown Dependency, Guernsey is an independently administered jurisdiction that is neither part of the UK nor an Overseas Territory of the UK. It is a self-governing possession of the Crown. Guernsey’s parliament is called ‘The States of Deliberation’ and is made up of 45 democratically elected Guernsey Deputies. There are no political parties in Guernsey. The assembly has the power to raise taxation, determine expenditure and pass legislation. The UK is responsible for Guernsey’s international affairs and defence.
Guernsey is neither a separate Member State nor an Associate Member of the European Union. Under Protocol No. 3 of the 1972 Treaty of Accession of the UK to the EEC, the Channel Islands are “within” the EU for most of the purposes of the free movement of goods but outside the EU for other purposes, in particular non-customs related fiscal matters and the free movement of persons and services.
Guernsey has its own legal system, which is derived from Norman French customary law but heavily influenced and overlaid by English common law. Justice is administered through a combination of the Magistrates’ Court and the Royal Court. The court of final appeal is the UK Privy Council. Members of Guernsey’s legal profession are known as advocates and there is no distinction between solicitors and barristers as in England and Wales.
Financial services, especially banking, wealth management, investment funds and insurance, account for about 40% of GDP and 25% of the workforce. Guernsey also has expertise in providing international pension arrangements.
From 1 January 2008 Guernsey has operated a Zero-Ten corporate tax system where most companies pay 0% corporate tax and a limited number of activities are subject to taxation, including banking activity (taxed at 10%), regulated utilities and income from the sale of land or building (taxed at 20%). This was fully ratified as compliant by the EU Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation in 2012. In addition, there is no general capital gains tax, inheritance tax or estate duty, VAT or capital transfer tax.
Guernsey’s currency is sterling, and whilst Bank of England notes and coins circulate, the island demonstrates its independence from the UK by issuing its own coins and banknotes.
Guernsey has signed 13 double taxation agreements, 57 Tax Information Exchange Agreements, a Model 1 type FATCA Agreement with the US and an Inter-Governmental Agreement with the UK. As such, the island is at the forefront of international standards on tax transparency and exchange of information and is a leader in combatting tax evasion.
The Channel Islands Securities Exchange, based in St Peter Port, provides a listing facility and a market for companies to raise capital from international investors based on a bespoke trading platform. Guernsey is the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce image rights law and provide a public register for image rights. In December 2013, Guernsey launched an aviation registry, known as 2-REG.
English speaking, with a centuries-old tradition of political stability and good governance, Guernsey is in the same time zone as London and frequent air links to various UK airports allows same-day business trips.
Company is the only corporate service provider to hold Gold status in the Island. We are very proud of the achievement which evidences our commitment to both the growth of our employees and our business as a whole.
Guernsey Finance – www.guernseyfinance.com
Guernsey Financial Services Commission – www.gfsc.gg
Channel Islands Stock Exchange – www.cisx.com