Tax Haven Guernsey

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Tax haven Guernsey is a leading and first class offshore financial services centre. Guernsey has with time improved the financial services that it offers to both international and domestic customers alike and has done its best in keeping up and in line with international financial policies and guidelines. In order to provide an offshore product that was more competitive on the international market, Guernsey established a new Companies Law in July 2008, which replaced the roles of both the Greffe and the judiciary in the company registration and record filing process with new modernized processes, thus presenting several advantages to clients.

Country Overview

Tax haven Guernsey consists of the islands of Jethou, Lihou, Burhou, Herm, Alderney, Guernsey, Brecqhou, Sark, and forms part of the collective grouping identified as the Channel Islands (Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of Guernsey). Tax haven Guernsey has a population of about 65,500 and is a British dependency. Tax haven Guernsey has 10 parishes and is part of the Common Travel Area. In 2008, tax haven Guernsey had an estimated population of 65,726.

Currently, the official language spoken is English but French was the only language of communication until the initial years of the 20th century. This caused most legal documents issued at that time to be written in French. The Norman language and Sercquais are other languages spoken by a very small percentage of the population.

The famous work of art, Les Miserables, written by victor Hugo was written in tax haven Guernsey during his time in exile on Guernsey. Victor Hugo’s Guernsey home is currently used as museum where Guernsey’s historical artifacts are preserved and showcased.

Guernsey Fiscal Incentives and Advantages

As a tax haven Guernsey has a wide range of benefits for offshore business and investment. If considering setting up a tax haven Guernsey offshore company, or operating in Guernsey with an offshore company, here are some of tax haven Guernsey’s advantages:

  1. Compatible time zone with Western Europe and the UK
  2. Near to London and European markets
  3. Political and economic stability
  4. Independent and progressive legislative measures complying with the EU
  5. No VAT
  6. Excellent banking services
  7. Excellent investment facilities
  8. Legal system based on English Common Law
  9. Political, social and economically stability

Guernsey Offshore Services

Tax haven Guernsey is one of the most established and popular offshore jurisdictions for non-resident business activities in the world. As a tax haven, Guernsey has a developed banking sector, which is instrumental to the development of Guernsey as an international financial centre. Presently, Guernsey tax haven has about forty-seven licensed banks which together have accumulated a total deposits amount of about 157 billion British pounds. While a number of these banks are headquartered in the UK and Switzerland, other banks cover a broad range of countries including Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Bahrain, Germany, Greece, the USA, Iceland, Cyprus, France, South Africa and Qatar.

The insurance sector in tax haven Guernsey consists of domestic and international insurance companies. Domestic insurances include local and overseas insurers as well as intermediaries who provide insurance advice and assist in arranging insurance contracts. International insurance schemes cover captive insurance, life assurance programmes and protected cell companies. Under tax haven Guernsey offshore law, a register is established for financial services companies that are not regulated. The Commission is responsible for receiving applications for the registration of non-regulated financial businesses, legal professionals, estate agents, accountants and money services providers, whose names are published on the Commission’s website. Handling company registrations in this manner as part of Guernsey’s CFT system as a tax haven ensures that anti financial terrorism and anti money laundering standards are maintained.

International offshore services offered in tax haven Guernsey include:

  1. International Insurance
  2. Captive Insurers
  3. Protected Cell Companies
  4. Life Assurance Companies
  5. Offshore Banking
  6. International Trusts
  7. International Business Companies

As a tax haven Guernsey has a strict know-your-customer which ensures the general safety of banks, insurances and company registration procedures.

Guernsey Financial Services Commission

The regulatory body responsible for supervising and overseeing financial services in Guernsey in order to ensure that the sector functions with integrity and efficiency is the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. The FSC of tax haven Guernsey consists of six commissioners and among the senior executives can be found a directors for insurance, policy and international affairs, banking, fiduciary and intelligence services and finance and operations.

Some of the existing international financial laws existing in Guernsey tax haven are:

  1. The Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors Law
  2. Financial Services Commission (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law
  3. The Banking Supervision (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law
  4. The Investment Exchange (Notification Rules) 1998
  5. Collective Investment Schemes Rules
  6. The Securities Interests (Guernsey) Law
  7. Code of Practice – Trust Service Providers
  8. The Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008

New Developments

As of March 2009, beneficial owners wishing to make changes in the ownership of unregulated protected cell companies and incorporated cell companies will no longer be required to notify the commission of such changes. Retiring Director General of the Guernsey FSC, Peter Neville is expected to be succeeded by Nik van Leuven, the current Attorney General for Her Majesty. Peter Neville will retire in June 2009, and has agreed to remain in office beyond his date of retirement to help facilitate Nik van Leusen’s transition into office.

In March 2009, Guernsey signed a tax co-operation agreement with Ireland. This agreement seeks to allow the Revenue Commissioners of Ireland to ask for banking information with respect to Irish tax payers and investigations. The agreement, however, does not include ongoing tax investigations but will become applicable for future tax investigations. This agreement adds to the many tax agreements and information exchange agreements which have been fostered largely as a result of the current global financial meltdown, as governments try to regain money considered lost to offshore financial centres through offshore banking and entities. As a leading offshore financial centre and tax haven Guernsey is home to several banks which hold healthy sums in deposits from overseas residents. Despite this, tax haven Guernsey continues to provide premier offshore financial services, is well regulated and keeps on enforcing the relevant laws and practices that will help maintain the image of Guernsey as a tax haven.

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