Jersey has long been recognised as a leading International Financial Centre, and the benefits of using Jersey in any structuring are well known with an established judiciary and legal system, easy access to professional services, being located in a central time zone and connected to key financial centres such as London and the EU to name a few. Importantly Jersey has a demonstrable commitment to adhering to the highest global standards of financial regulation, including a reputation as a well regulated jurisdiction. It is against this back drop and the continuing international initiatives in respect of transparency that the landscape is changing particularly for the Jersey Company. This article considers the key aspects of these changes.
Jersey was one of the first jurisdictions to have a Register of Beneficial Ownership (“the Register”) in place by 30 June 2017, meeting the commitment made by the States of Jersey and achieving the deadline set by the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive, a deadline that a number of EU jurisdictions and other crown dependencies failed to meet.
The Register is private and accessible only by competent authorities pursuant to a relevant information gateway being in place. The Register holds the ownership information for Jersey Companies, Partnerships and other body corporates.
So what are the key requirements under the new beneficial ownership regime? Firstly, beneficial ownership information has always been provided to the Jersey Companies Registry (“the Registry”) in any incorporation. Secondly, any changes in beneficial ownership information must be advised to the Registry within 21 days of first becoming aware of the impending change. This notification requirement applies from the point that either the change is effective or if your structure is administered by a trust and company service provider, then from the point that they are advised of such change.
Failure to maintain the Register and failure to meet this statutory filing deadline will be a breach and penalties can apply.
Other important points to note include:
The Jersey Financial Services Commission is undertaking a Themed Examination on Beneficial Ownership and it is expected that further guidance will be issued in due course as to future filing requirements.
Jersey has committed to having a Register of Directors in place and it is expected that will be by 30 June 2019. Whilst the exact information required for submission is yet to be confirmed, it is anticipated that this will be similar to the information required for individuals under the beneficial ownership regime.
2017 saw the States of Jersey commit to ensuring that Jersey structures, be it Jersey Companies, Partnerships or other bodies corporate have substance, including economic. The exact details as to what constitutes substance is unclear, there are some simple steps that can be taken, such as ensuring that meetings are held in Jersey, such as meetings of the Board of Directors, there are a majority of Directors in Jersey, even having a physical presence in Jersey depending on the nature of activities undertaken.
Jersey resident companies will be subject to more disclosure requirements in the future. The States of Jersey have put in place measures that will see Jersey Resident Companies required to disclose more information about activities for the tax year of assessment 2017. Then in 2018 and 2019 it is expected that information regarding accounting profits will be required to be submitted for all 0% companies. From 2020 (2019 year of assessment), it is expected that all 0% companies will be required to submit a digital copy of their financial statements supporting the return.
It should not be forgotten that the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991, requires all Jersey Companies must have accounts prepared within 10 months of the financial year end (7 months for PLCs), whilst the Taxation (Accounting Records) ( Jersey) Regulations 2013, requires that adequate accounting records are maintained, so this disclosure requirement should not be overly onerous provided your accounting records are up to date.
Fiduchi is a regulated provider of trust and company services, and therefore its experts are able to assist you in all aspects of ensuring continued compliance in the constant changing landscape. If you are establishing a structure using Jersey or if you have an existing Jersey Company (or other vehicle) and require assistance, we are able to help. Our experts are able to assist with all relevant statutory filings related to Jersey Companies. Further our close link with the Baker Tilly International network allows us to access experts both in Jersey and across the globe to assist you and your structures in all aspects of tax compliance, accounting, advisory and other services.