Jersey is the largest and most southerly of the Channel Islands. Approximately 45 square miles in area with a population of 100,000 inhabitants, Jersey lies some 15 miles to the west of the Cherbourg Peninsula (in the Bay of Saint Malo) and 120 miles from the south coast of England. Travel by air to the Island from London takes under an hour and there are frequent sea and air links to other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. Telecommunications are excellent and the Island operates in the same time zone as London.
Jersey has its own legislative assembly, known as the States of Jersey, consisting of 53 elected members. The Island also has its own system of local administration, fiscal and legal systems and courts of law. The Island is responsible for its domestic affairs including taxation and financial regulations.
Jersey is neither part of the United Kingdom nor a colony but is rather a Crown Dependency. Jersey’s citizens are not represented in the United Kingdom Parliament (whose acts extend to Jersey only in circumstances where the States of Jersey are in agreement). The Island’s allegiance is to the British Crown, the basis of such loyalty deriving through the claim of the sovereign as successor of the Dukes of Normandy.
The constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom is the product of over 900 years of custom and usage and is not affected by changes of government in the United Kingdom. This relationship has been confirmed by Royal Charters which, over the centuries, have secured the independence of the Island’s judicial system from the English courts and granted important privileges including freedom from United Kingdom taxes.
The British Government is responsible on behalf of the Crown for the Island’s international relationships, however, the authorities in Jersey are consulted before any international agreement is reached which would apply to the Island.
Jersey is not part of the European Union being neither a separate Member State nor an Associate Member. The Island’s special relationship with the European Union is defined by a Protocol attached to the Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Community. Any change in these arrangements would require a Treaty amendment which would require the agreement of all the Member States including the United Kingdom.
Jersey for International Finance
Jersey is regarded as one of the world’s leading international finance centres. High standards of financial services regulation combined with political and economic stability and a sophisticated and comprehensive infrastructure of laws have kept Jersey at the forefront of global finance for over 50 years.
Jersey offers a tax-neutral environment: the standard rate of corporate tax is zero per cent, so for almost all companies registered in the Island no tax is levied on income, capital gains or capital. This allows for fiscally efficient cross-border investment. A Jersey registered investment company is not subject to tax in Jersey on its income, gains or on any distributions it makes. Any such company that is managed by a trust service provider such as Volaw can also claim exemption from Goods and Services Tax (GST – the equivalent of VAT) in Jersey on services provided from Jersey, upon payment of an annual one-off sum, currently £200 p.a.