Establishing a company in Guernsey

Guernsey is a small Channel Island in the English Channel, close to the Normandy coast of France. The authority of its legislative body encompasses responsibility for the nearby islands of Alderney and Sark and several additional small islets. The UK holds jurisdiction over all security matters and foreign affairs, but beyond that the island functions independently and its citizens have special UK passports stamped with the name of Guernsey. The island is not part of the EU. Official languages are English and French. The name originates from the Old Norse languages, combined with French dialects that signify “the corner island”. 

As part of the Channel Islands, Guernsey lies close to Jersey and has a similar governmental and jurisdictional structure. Both are popular choices for international companies as they offer comfortable terms and a very inviting tax environment. Establishing a company there provides good business access to the UK, Europe and actually the globe. The majority of the population is British and there are also some of French origin. The capital is St. Peter Port, the general population is 65,000 and the total area is 78 km2.

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Three things you did not know about Guernsey

  • During World War II the island of Guernsey, along with all the British Channel Islands, fell to the conquest of the Nazis. The majority of children were evacuated ahead of time to England and some were never returned to their families. The island was significantly fortified with defenses far beyond the norm for its strategic importance, and these defenses can still be seen today.
  • The island of Guernsey has a variety of cows named after it, much like its neighbor Jersey. These milking cows inhabit the island in quantities and are prevalent in many dairies throughout the continent. The milk is famous for its rich and delicious taste, far more fatty than normal and yellowish in color.
  • The famous and esteemed French author Victor Hugo wrote several of his most seminal works (including “Les Misérables”) while in exile on Guernsey. His home in the capital serves as a museum today.

Guernsey’s economy

The local currency used is the British pound (GBP), although the island also has its own local coins and bills. GDP is 2.1 billion USD and per capita income is 41,000 USD. Its major revenue source is its financial sector, primarily international banking, insurance, investment funds and the administration of company registration. The financial sector brings in almost 40% of island revenue, although other active sectors include tourism and some manufacture and agriculture (tomatoes and flowers). The island has no external debts and its budget is balanced. Its infrastructure, roads, sea ports and airports are fully owned and operated by the island government. One restriction imposed on non-residents and foreign citizens is that they may not purchase or rent island lands beyond a small number of holdings.

Companies considering registering in Guernsey pay 0% corporate tax rate (excluding certain taxable activities).

Additional information about establishing offshore companies in Guernsey:

General
Type of company
LLC
Relevant Companies Law
The Companies (Guernsey) law, 2008
Offices
Law requires companies to provide a local office address
Language of original incorporation documents
English
Finance and Taxation
Currency
GBP
Corporate tax rate
0%
Standard share capital
10,000 GBP
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Not required
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Irrelevant
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Irrelevant
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required
Obligation to appoint local company director
Not required
Minimum number of directors
1
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual and/or company
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Required
Obligation to register local shareholders
Not required
Minimum number of shareholders
2
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Individual and/or company
Type of shares
Registered shares
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Not required
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Not required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Not required