Geography, Population, Languages
Anguilla is the most northerly of the Caribbean Leeward Islands. It is situated approximately 1,600 km south-east of Miami, Florida. It has a land area of 102 sq. km. The island is generally flat, surrounded by coral reefs. The climate is tropical with occasional rainfall, but it has the finest powder white sand beaches in the Caribbean. The flora is mainly secondary savanna.
Anguilla’s population is approximately 13,500. Arawak Indians originally inhabited Anguilla, an indigenous Caribbean race. Numerous significant artefacts have recently been unearthed which establish the Fountain (a freshwater underground spring) and other island sites as important archaeological finds, and these now draw substantial international interest. The capital is Valley. The official and main spoken language is English.
History, Political Structure and Law
The British established control of Anguilla in the late 1600’s, prevailing in numerous skirmishes with other European powers throughout the colonial period, so that today Anguilla is a British Dependent Territory.
In 1967, Anguilla announced its withdrawal from Associated Statehood with St. Kitts and Nevis, opting for direct British rule, which was officially granted in 1982. Anguilla is a politically stable society with a strong democracy. The Governor is appointed by the British Crown. An Executive Council of Ministers is appointed from the Legislative Council of elected members. Elections are held at least once every five years, and electoral representation is parliamentary (as opposed to presidential). Britain maintains responsibility for foreign affairs and defence.
Anguilla’s legal system is based upon English Common Law, with local modifications. Anguilla has, since 1992 (and specifically in 1994), adopted numerous pieces of modern financial service legislation.
Economy and Infrastructure
The economy is based on livestock breeding (sheep and goats), salt extraction, boat building and fishing. Essential state income is brought by the tourist services industry (featuring numerous world class resorts and restaurants, catering to high net worth individuals from the United States, Europe and Latin America). The standard of living and level of education are both relatively high.
There are flight connections with Miami, Florida (1.5 hours); New York City (4 hours) and other United States cities, as well as with Europe and Latin America.
Communications facilities on Anguilla are excellent: international direct dialling, cellular communications and the Internet are available.
The currency is the Eastern Caribbean (EC) Dollar, but the US Dollar circulates freely, and there is no foreign exchange control. There are excellent financial services and international banks. Bank accounts can be maintained in US dollars in either personal or corporate savings accounts, checking accounts, CD’s, or other investment vehicles.
The Principal Corporate legislation is the International Business Companies Ordinance, 1994 which includes all the most desirable aspects and features of this modern type of legislation. The language of legislation and corporate documents is English.
An international Business Company (IBC) is a company for international trade and investment. An International Business Company has the full capacity of, and all rights, powers, and privileges of, a natural person.
An IBC is restricted from conducting business with persons resident on Anguilla, conducting banking or trust business, conducting insurance or reinsurance business, or business relating to the provision of company management services. On Anguilla, an IBC may maintain bank accounts, retain professional advisors carrying on business within Anguilla, maintain corporate records, hold meetings and lease office space.
On line incorporation of an IBC is available to approved sub-agents for the purpose of providing instant incorporation. Alternatively, filling in a basic two-page form (i.e. Form 8, The Articles of Incorporation) is the only requirement. As a matter of local company law, the company must maintain a registered office at the address of a licensed management company or law firm within Anguilla and must also appoint an Anguillan resident as registered agent.
The following requirements apply to Company names:
- On line incorporation allows for names in virtually any language or alphabet, including Chinese characters.
- A name that has already been incorporated or a name that is so similar to an existing name as to cause confusion is unacceptable.
- Certain names are restricted, namely those that suggest the patronage of the Royal Family, the UK Government, a political party, a university or professional association, or names that the Registrar may consider to be misleading or objectionable.
- Any name implying a relationship with the banking, insurance or company management industries, e.g. bank, financial, trust and insurance, require consent or a licence.
- The name of an IBC must end in one of the following: Ltd, Corp, Inc, SA, NV or GmbH. It is necessary to denote limited liability.
The minimum number of directors is one. The directors may be natural persons or corporate bodies. They may be of any nationality and need not be resident in Anguilla. A Company secretary is not required, but normally one is appointed. An exempted company need only have one shareholder and shares can be issued in bearer or registered form. There is no requirement to file the details of directors and shareholders in any public record.
Annual Taxation and Fees
The normal authorised share capital is US$ 50,000, divided into 50,000 shares of US$ 1, this being the maximum capital to qualify for the minimum incorporation fees and annual fees. The share capital can be expressed in any currency. The minimum issued capital is one share. The following classes of shares are permitted: par value shares, no par value shares and bearer shares.
Anguilla is a major no tax haven. There are no direct taxes such as income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, profit tax, gift tax or inheritance tax.
Anguilla is not a party to any double tax treaties. The Government incorporation fee is US$ 250, payable on incorporation; the Government annual fee of US$ 200 is payable on the anniversary of a company’s incorporation.
The Anguillan IBC is an extremely flexible product which provides for minimal reporting, with no requirements to file accounts or an annual return with the authorities, to disclose beneficial ownership or to hold meetings on the Island (meetings may be held in person, by telephone or by other electronic means). The Confidential Relationships Ordinance of 1981 makes it an offence punishable by a maximum fine of US$ 10,000 for anybody to reveal confidential information, including details of the owners and directors, about an Anguillan IBC company.
Though there is no requirement to file financial statements, a Company is required to keep financial records that reflect the financial position of the company. The only annual requirement is that the company must pay the relevant fee to the local government on the anniversary of the Company’s incorporation.