Ultimate legislative authority over Jersey vests in Parliament at Westminster although Jersey has no representative there. In practice such legislation would be with the consent of the Island. The official UK view is that there is no limit on Parliamentary legislation that may be imposed on the Islands, but at the same time it is accepted that such legislation is, by convention, not imposed where it would effect the internal affairs of the Island and its imposition is not consented by the islanders.
When Britain decided to join the EEC (now the EU) it was necessary to negotiate a special status for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Islands fall within both the common customs area and the common external tariff. "The authorities of these territories shall apply the same treatment to all natural and legal persons of the Community".
Jersey company law is found in the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991, amended 1992. Companies may be formed for any lawful purpose and general commercial objects may be adopted. Any name is acceptable, provided it does not include references or allusions to the Crown or is otherwise sensitive (e.g. “Bank”, “Insurance”, “Investment Business”).The name must end with the word “Limited”.
Ready-made companies are not available in Jersey as certain information regarding the company and its founders must be given to the Financial Services Department prior to granting incorporation. A new Jersey incorporation takes approximately 1 week after receipt of all information. Information that the FSD requires prior to incorporation includes; details of beneficial ownership, full information on the activities of the company, the reason for incorporation in Jersey.
The share capital may be denominated in any currency, there is a 0.5% duty payable on authorised share capital (with a minimum of £50 duty payable for an authorised capital of £10,000). There must be at least two shareholders, who may be of any nationality. Bearer shares are not allowed, but nominees can hold the shares to preserve the anonymity of beneficial owners.
There must be at least one director and it is also necessary to appoint a company secretary. The company must have a registered office in Jersey at which it must maintain its statutory registers including the register of directors, secretaries, members and charges. If the company is private only the directors, members and Jersey Registrar are permitted to inspect the Registers.
The company must hold an Annual General Meeting, the meeting does not have to be held in Jersey. Accounts should be presented to the shareholders at the AGM, although the accounts of a private company do not have to be audited or filed in Jersey.
An Annual Return must be lodged in January of each year, together with the filing fee of £130. Failure to do so results in the imposition of a rising scale of fines and ultimately striking off.
A company resident in Jersey is chargeable to income tax at the rate of 20% on its profits. However, a company which is ultimately owned by non-residents of Jersey and does not trade in Jersey can obtain exemption from tax upon payment of a fee of £600 per annum, payable on the 1st January each year.
To commence incorporation procedure in Jersey we must receive two professional/trade references in respect of all individuals connected with the company, in addition to our standard "know your customer" requirements.