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Setting up a business in Guernsey

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Guernsey is an ideal location in which to set up a business.

  • 1.      Assess your business idea and its potential

    • The Digital Greenhouse offers free and inclusive support for new business and entrepreneurs. Comprising of online services, face to face support and accelerator programmes, all designed to provide entrepreneurs with a one-stop-shop for starting a business. More information can be found here:
    • If you are thinking about moving to Guernsey to set up a business, Locate Guernsey provides an array of useful information for those planning to relocate to the Island.
  • 2.      Decide on the business structure and register your business

    • The Guernsey Registry provides a transparent leading global registry in which business structures can be established in Guernsey. A range of legal entities are available for your business including companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and foundations. Not for profit organisations must also register with the Guernsey Registry.  
    • More information on the suite of legal entities available can be found here.
    • An application for registration of a legal entity can only be made to the Guernsey Registry by a Corporate Service Provider (CSP). CSPs are firms licenced by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission to undertake fiduciary business, many of which offer company incorporation services. A directory of CSPs can be found here.
    • Please see the Guernsey Registry website for more information regarding the requirements for the formation of a Guernsey legal entity and the suite of public registers maintained by the Guernsey Registry.
    • Unless exempt, legal entities require a resident agent who is responsible for various beneficial ownership obligations including the filing of information in the Register of Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons maintained by the Guernsey Register. Information on the register is not available to the public but can be disclosed to appropriate law enforcement, regulatory and tax authorities.
  • 3.      Register to pay income tax and social security contributions

    • Follow this link for information for businesses, companies and employers in relation to Income Tax and social security: Starting up in Business. Social Security contributions are different to income tax and cover pensions, sick pay, benefits and health services when required.
  • 6.      Law and Regulation

    • Guernsey has a robust legal and regulatory environment underpinned by modern and relevant legislation.
    • The Guernsey Legal Resources website provides an invaluable resource of the Bailiwick of Guernsey's legislation as well as judgments.
    • All business entities administered by the Guernsey Registry are subject to relevant legislation. For example, companies are subject to the provisions of the Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008.
    • Trading standards services enforce Guernsey's trading standards legislation which covers several areas including consumer rights and remedies, unfair commercial practices and product safety.
    • The Bailiwick of Guernsey is dedicated to playing a full part in the combatting of financial and economic crime. It is committed to meeting standards on Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism as set by the Financial Action Task Force ('FATF') - the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. Find out more here.
  • 7.      Independent advice

  • 8.      Apply for industry specific licence or permit

    • Depending on your business you may need to apply for an industry specific licence or permit.
    • For example, with respect to the finance sector, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission supervises and regulates over 2,000 licensees from within the banking, fiduciary, insurance, and investment sectors.
    • Please also see here for a range of licences, permits and regulations specific to certain sectors.
  • 9.      Your Intellectual Property

    • The Intellectual Property Office is responsible for administering intellectual property rights in Guernsey. Intellectual property can be used to protect creations and inventions.
    • Types of intellectual rights that can be registered in Guernsey include trademarks, patents, designs, copyright and image rights. More information can be found here.

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