Under zero-10 regimes, most businesses pay no corporation tax, while some industries, such as banks, pay 10% and a few pay 20%.
It is thought that the island could have its scheme approved by the end of June, when the current presidency of the European Council ends, assuming Guernsey does not need to change its tax regime.
As reported, the European Council of Finance Ministers in December approved the zero-10 regimes of Jersey and the Isle of Man, both of which had revised their personal tax codes in order to remove so-called “deemed distribution” provisions in order to meet concerns raised by the Code Group when it reviewed their zero-10 schemes, beginning in 2010.
In February, the Code Group also discussed the matter of Guernsey’s zero-10 regime, at a meeting at which States of Guernsey officials argued that it might be approved as-is, without the need for changes to the island’s personal tax system, as was done in the case of Jersey and the IoM.
Deemed distribution rules are anti-avoidance provisions under which, in certain circumstances, island residents are deemed to have received a dividend from a profit-making island company in which they own shares. Such “distributions” are then taxed as income.
Guernsey was excluded from the Code Group’s initial review of zero-10 schemes after it committed to undertake a formal reassessment of its corporation tax regime, with a view towards possibly replacing it with something else.