DOING BUSINESS IN GUERNSEY IN 2019
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with registering their offshore company in Guernsey. Our services include i) Guernsey business registration ii) licensing assistance in regulated industries iii) international corporate bank account opening iv) legal tax structuration strategies and v) virtual office solutions.
Summary table of Guernsey company registration
|Summary||Tax resident LLC||Legally tax-exempt company||Digital company||Financial Services Company||Foundation|
|Also known as||LLC||Offshore company||Digital company||FSC certified company||Private foundation|
|Best use of company?||All products and services||Professional services||Digital innovation and creative start-up||Financial services businesses||Wealth management|
|How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||3 months||2 weeks|
|How soon can you hire staff?||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks|
|How soon can you sign a lease agreement?||Immediately||Immediately||Immediately||Immediately||Immediately|
|How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?||3 weeks||3 weeks||1 week||3 weeks||3 weeks|
|How long to supply company registration / tax numbers?||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks|
|Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|Limited liability entity?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Government grants available?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Government approval required for foreign owners?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director/partner/manager/ legal representative required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum paid up share capital?||£1||£1||£1||£1||£1|
|Can bid for Government contracts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Corporate bank account location?||ABN Amro||Barclays||Deutsche Bank||RBS||Lloyds Bank|
|Can secure trade finance?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|VAT payable on sales to local customers?||0%||0%||0%||0%||0%|
|Average total business set up engagement costs?||£13,575||£12,625||£13,575||£26,465||£24,375|
|Average total engagement period?||2 months||6 weeks||2 months||5 months||2 months|
Guernsey business setup summary
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Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of Guernsey company registration
- Registration of a company in Guernsey can be completed with only i) one shareholder and ii) one director, who both can be foreigners and reside elsewhere than Guernsey or the United Kingdom. The minimum paid-up capital is £1 (€1) and the incorporation procedures can be completed within one week;
- International companies registered in Guernsey are legally exempt from local corporate tax and withholding tax on dividends and interest remitted abroad, provided that none of the shareholders and beneficial owners are residing in Guernsey;
- It is easy to maintain a company in Guernsey because:
- The company does not need to have a resident director, provided that a registered agent is appointed;
- It is not necessary to file financial statements with the Guernsey Registrar, although such statements must be prepared and kept for at least six years at the registered agent’s office;
- Companies with less than ten shareholders are exempted from audit requirements. Companies with more than ten shareholders are only required to file audited financial statements if the three following conditions are met: i) annual sales over £6.5 million ii) net assets over 3.2 million and iii) over 50 employees;
- The official language of Guernsey is English, hence eliminating translation costs for Clients from countries where English is also the official language;
- Guernsey has excellent infrastructural facilities that enables the companies incorporated in the island to access the global markets and interact with a wide range of customers. The nation has recently invested US$1.3 billion and developed a data centre having 7 fibre optic cables which connects the country with UK and France.
Disadvantages of Guernsey company registration
- Our Clients willing to start an offshore company in Guernsey should be aware that this place is still perceived as a tax haven jurisdiction. Foreign tax administrations will subject the owners of companies registered in Guernsey to close scrutiny to prevent tax evasion. In some countries, warnings remitted to Guernsey can also suffer higher than standard withholding tax rates;
- It is important our Clients are aware of their personal and corporate tax obligations in their country of residence and domicile; and they will fulfill those obligations annually. Let us know if you need Healy Consultants help to clarify your local and international annual tax reporting obligations;
- Guernsey has signed few double taxation avoidance agreements, namely with i) Bahrain ii) Cyprus iii) Hong Kong iv) Isle of Man v) Liechtenstein vi) Luxembourg vii) Malta viii) Mauritius ix) Qatar x) Seychelles xi) Singapore and xii) the United Kingdom. It also benefits from partial treaties with a few other countries;
- Guernsey has a small population of 62,063 people, as per 2017. As a result, it is challenging for employers to expand their business locally or launch and test new products in this extremely small market. Moreover, it would be tough for employers to hire skilled labour force in areas other than finance, business, administration and IT services.
Best uses for a Guernsey company
- Guernsey is a reputable jurisdiction to form an international company because:
- Guernsey is a crown dependency following English common Law. Its Financial Services Commission is a well-regarded regulator for the corporate and financial services industries;
- Guernsey has good transparency standards: the Island maintains a registrar publicly available, where the identity of directors and shareholders owning Guernsey offshore companies can be viewed online;
- Guernsey has committed to implement automatic exchanges of tax information with other tax authorities of the European Union. It has also signed tax information exchange treaties (but not DTAAs) with 57 other countries;
- For the reasons listed above, Guernsey’s compliance standards are well regarded, as demonstrated by its rank as the 15th most cooperative offshore jurisdiction (out of 83) by the Tax Justice Network.
- Guernsey is a reputable jurisdiction to form an international company because:
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- Time to incorporate: Two weeks
- Cost to set up: €13,575
- Minimum capital: None
- Physical office required: No
- Shareholders: 1
- Directors: 1
- Company secretary: Yes
- Resident director: No
- Corporate tax rate: 0%
- Corporate tax base: Worldwide
- Shelf companies: No
- Main company type: limited company
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to incorporate a Guernsey company?Registering an Guernsey company is time-consuming and will take about 2 months.
Am I required to visit Guernsey to incorporate a company there?No. Healy Consultants can legally incorporate your Guernsey company without you needing to travel.
What is the minimum number of directors required for a Guernsey company?Under statutory regulations, a Guernsey company requires a minimum of one director.
Is a resident director required?A Guernsey company does not require a resident director.
What is the minimum number of shareholders required for a Guernsey company?A minimum of two shareholders is required. For a Guernsey exempt company, resident cannot hold shares in the company.
Are shareholder/director details available for public viewing?Yes.
What are the minimum capital requirements for a Guernsey company?No. minimum capital requirements is needed for a Guernsey company formation.
Is a Guernsey company required to submit financial statements?A Guernsey company is obliged to file an annual return and accounts have to be audited.
What other requirements need to be fulfilled to set up a Guernsey company?A Guernsey company is required to appoint an auditor unless it qualifies for exemption.
What are the tax implications of a Guernsey company formation?A Guernsey exempt company pays no corporate tax on income sourced outside Guernsey. In order to qualify as an exempt company, an annual fee of US$1,200 is payable to the government of Guernsey. A Guernsey resident company pays a corporation tax of 20% on all income.
Useful links for Guernsey
Government and public authority websites:
- Doing business UHY 2013 – Guernsey
- Doing Business in Guernsey – PKF
- KPMG – Guernsey Country Profile
- Guernsey – Financial Sytem Stability
- Guernsey Code of Corporate Governance
- Companies Law 2008 – Guernsey