Guernsey: Changes To Guernsey's Corporate Tax Residence Rules

Guernsey's rules on corporate tax residence changed at the beginning of 2019 following amendments to its existing tax law brought into effect by a combination of the Income Tax (Guernsey) (Amendment) (No 2) Ordinance 2018, the Income Tax (Substance Requirements) (Implementation) Regulations, 2018 and the Income Tax (Substance Requirements) (Implementation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, all passed in December last year.

Prior to these changes, a company was resident for tax purposes in Guernsey if it was either incorporated in Guernsey and had not been granted tax-exempt status, or was 'controlled' in Guernsey. The concept of 'control' looked broadly at whether the company's affairs were conducted in accordance with the wishes of its shareholders or loan creditors who were resident in Guernsey themselves.

Whilst these tests continue to form part of Guernsey's tax law, the new changes add a specific exemption for companies which have a cross-jurisdictional aspect to them, so that even if a company would be regarded as tax resident under the existing rules, it will not be treated as resident in Guernsey in a year of charge if it is proved to the satisfaction of Guernsey's Director of the Revenue Service that the following conditions are met:

  • the company is tax resident in another territory (Territory A) under the domestic law of Territory A; and
  • its business is centrally managed and controlled in Territory A; and
  • either:
    • the highest rate of corporate tax in Territory A is at least 10%; or
    • the company is resident in Territory A by virtue of a double tax agreement (DTA) or an international tax measure made between Territory A and Guernsey in which a tie-breaker clause treats the company as being resident in Territory A, rather than in Guernsey; and
  • the company's tax residence in Territory A is not motivated by the avoidance, reduction or deferral of the liability of any person to tax under Guernsey law.

The context in which these changes have come about include the introduction of substance requirements for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2019 for companies that are tax resident in Guernsey. Further details of Guernsey substance requirements can be found here, and details of their application to the funds industry can be found here.

The changes provide welcome clarification where a company could be resident in both Guernsey and another territory because of differences in domestic rules regarding tax residence. Such companies would potentially be subject to substance and filing requirements in Guernsey and elsewhere. For example, prior to the new changes, where a Guernsey-incorporated company is managed and controlled from the UK it is resident in Guernsey under Guernsey's domestic tax law but also tax resident in the UK under the UK's domestic law. If the company were to carry on activities which bring it within the scope of the new substance requirements, the company would be required to comply with those substance requirements in Guernsey. Given that the substance requirements include in many cases, depending upon the company's activities, the requirement that the company is directed and managed in Guernsey, compliance with this requirement could potentially disrupt the company's on-going management and control in the UK. The changes clarify that in these circumstances Guernsey will not treat such a company as being tax resident, and as a result, it will not be subject to substance requirements in Guernsey.

Management and control

The changes also introduce into the existing test for residence an additional basis on which a company will be regarded as resident in Guernsey. In addition to the test of incorporation and shareholder/creditor control, companies that are centrally managed and controlled in Guernsey are also regarded as resident in Guernsey. The Director of Revenue Service has indicated that the test of central management and control generally considers where the directors of the company meet and exert control over the company. Thus, where the directors of a foreign-incorporated company meet in Guernsey from where they exert control over the company, then this in itself would make the company tax resident under Guernsey's domestic law, without the need to look at shareholder or creditor control. Reflecting this further change, the Director of Revenue Service announced at the end of 2018 that new forms are being developed both for notifying the Revenue Service that a company is centrally managed and controlled in Guernsey and therefore tax resident, and also to demonstrate that a company is not resident. It is anticipated that the latter form will require companies to provide a certificate of residence from the other territory.

It is likely that over time the concept of central management and control as interpreted by the Director of Revenue Service in Guernsey will be informed by English case law on this subject, further details of which can be found here.


The impact of these changes will limit circumstances when companies are regarded as dual resident and also ensure foreign-incorporated companies that are managed and controlled in Guernsey are regarded as tax resident in Guernsey and therefore subject to domestic substance requirements where applicable. As such, the changes to Guernsey's corporate residence rules are to be welcomed.

Nevertheless, administrators and corporate service providers will need to consider and take advice on whether particular non-Guernsey companies that they administer in Guernsey will be regarded as tax resident in Guernsey or possibly dual resident in Guernsey and another territory. They will need to consider the consequences of such findings for the purposes of Guernsey corporate income tax liabilities, Guernsey tax filings and Guernsey substance requirements.

Non-Guernsey companies that are now Guernsey tax resident may also wish to consider migrating their corporate domicile to Guernsey, if the corporate law of the jurisdiction of incorporation allows for migration.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions