Starting a company in Gibraltar is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. Many entrepreneurs have benefitted from setting up a business in this British Overseas Territory, which is located in the southernmost corner of the Iberian Peninsula, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. With its favourable location, tax-free status, and low business costs, Gibraltar is an attractive option for new businesses. In this article, we provide information on the steps required to open a company in Gibraltar, and the legal and practical considerations that must be taken into account before launching a business in this jurisdiction.
Application Process & Fees
The first step in setting up a company in Gibraltar is to apply to the Financial Services Commission with a completed application form. The company will then be registered with the Registrar of Companies and the application approved, after which a business licence will be issued. The application process typically takes around three days, however it may take additional time depending on circumstances. Depending on the type of company and its purpose, additional documents may be required as part of the registration process. The cost of registering a company is also typically low; the application fee itself starts at around £100 but may include other fees such as registration fees, bank account charges and other administrative costs.
Once the application has been approved, the company name must be registered with the Registrar of Companies. The company name must be approved by the Registrar and may not contain any offensive or otherwise inappropriate words and must also adhere to other naming laws. Companies must also submit an e-mail address to the Registrar as part of the registration process.
Gibraltar corporations are exempt from corporate income tax, however companies are still required to submit annual accounts to the Financial Services Commission. As Gibraltar is part of the European Union, companies must also follow EU regulations and submit VAT returns if their turnover meets the threshold for VAT registration (more than £85,000 in the most recent tax year). Companies are also not exempt from duties and taxes, although these are generally quite low.
Regulations & Compliance
In order to ensure compliance with Gibraltar regulations, a company must appoint a registered Gibraltar agent. This agent is responsible for ensuring that the company complies with all regulations and laws, and they are also responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork to the relevant authorities. Companies must also comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and submit their accounts to the Financial Services Commission.
Banks & Financing
Once the company has been registered and the necessary license has been obtained, the company must open a bank account with a licensed financial institution in Gibraltar. Companies can benefit from favourable conditions for doing business in Gibraltar, such as interest rates, tax exemptions and access to a range of financing options. Companies can also access EU funding for research and development projects, as well as export guarantees and other forms of financing.
Legitimate Business Purposes
In order to ensure compliance with the law, companies must have legitimate business purposes. This means that the company must be conducting a legitimate business activity that meets all relevant legal requirements, including filing of tax returns, employment and environmental regulations, reporting requirements and all other regulations applicable to the business. Companies should also be aware of any local or international sanctions that may be in place that may affect their operations.
Once the company is registered, it must appoint a company management team. The individual members of the management team must submit to the Registrar of Companies an application form and the required documents, including qualification and references. Depending on the size and scope of the company’s operations, it may be required to appoint a board of directors and/or other members of the management team.
Companies are also required to disclose any assets they own and any liabilities they may be liable for. This includes any property owned by the company, loan and credit agreements, contracts, and any other assets or liabilities. Companies are also required to register and maintain information about their shareholders.
Banking In Gibraltar
Banking in Gibraltar is overseen by the Financial Services Commission. Companies must select an appropriate bank for their needs and open a business bank account. Many of Gibraltar’s banks offer a range of services including loans, investment advice, business accounts and international payments. Companies should take the time to shop around and compare the different options available.
Compliance With Regulatory Body & Legislation
Gibraltar companies must also comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including the Companies Act, the Financial Services (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act and all other relevant legislation. Companies must also be registered with the Financial Services Commission and may be required to appoint a registered Gibraltar agent. All companies must also submit annual accounts and other necessary documents to the Registrar of Companies.
Business Support Services
Gibraltar offers a range of business support services to companies, such as access to legal advice, accounting services and grant funding. The government also provides a range of advice, support and funding for businesses in the form of tax breaks, grants and other incentives. Companies can also benefit from a range of taxation and other financial incentives.
Final Considerations For Starting A Business In Gibraltar
Before embarking on setting up a company in Gibraltar, it is important to consider the legal and practical implications. Companies must adhere to all applicable laws and regulations, as well as ensure that their financial affairs are in order. Additionally, companies must appoint a registered Gibraltar agent and select an appropriate bank to open a business bank account. By taking the time to conduct the necessary due diligence, entrepreneurs can ensure a smooth and successful business start-up in Gibraltar.