Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands

Last Updated: 27 September 2007

General information

The Cayman Islands are comprised of three beautiful islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The capital, George Town is situated on the largest of the three islands, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is located approximately five hundred miles south of Miami, Florida. The three islands have a total land area of approximately one hundred and two square miles, with Grand Cayman having an area of seventy-six square miles, Cayman Brac fifteen square miles and Little Cayman, eleven square miles. There is a total resident population of approximately 30,000 people, with 28,000 living on Grand Cayman.

Discovery
Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands on The10th of May 1503, on his fourth and last voyage to the New World; they were named "Las Tortugas" because of the many turtles found there and, later, their name was changed to "Caymanas", being a word derived from the Carib Indian word for the crocodile family, subsequently shortened to "Cayman."

Government
The Islands are a British Dependent Territory. They were acquired by settlement and celebrated three hundred and twenty-five years of British rule in 1995. They have consistently rejected all offers of independence.

Representative Government was introduced in 1832 and today the Islands have a high degree of internal autonomy. There are fifteen members of an elected Legislative Assembly which enacts the laws which govern the country. The members of the Legislative Assembly are elected every four years and together with the Speaker sit in the Assembly: in addition, three official members are appointed from persons holding public office by the Governor, who is the Queen's representative in the Islands, acting pursuant to instructions given to him by Her Majesty through the Secretary of State by instrument under Public Seal.

Unlike the United Kingdom, the Islands have a written constitution which was first extended to them in 1962 and since then has been amended several times. The present Constitution was laid before the United Kingdom Parliament on the 1st of August, 1972, and came into force on the 22nd of August, 1972.

Section 5 of the Constitution establishes an Executive Council which is responsible for Government policy. The Executive Council consists of the Governor and eight persons - the Financial Secretary, the Attorney-General and the Chief Secretary (the three official members) and five members who are elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly from their number.

Taxation
The Islands have enjoyed a tax free status since the late seventeenth century. In 1966, the Legislative Assembly enacted a series of laws which not only enhanced the Islands' usefulness as a financial centre but also gave persons wishing to invest either in or through them a flexible and secure place so to do. Since that date, the Cayman Islands have grown and developed and today are recognized as the world's leading tax haven and a financial center of great importance. Confidentiality is respected and enforced by law. The Islands have modern Trust and Companies Laws, and legislation which entitles certain trusts and companies to obtain guarantees against the imposition of Caymanian taxes for fixed periods of time.

Even in the absence of this exempting legislation, in the Cayman Islands none of the following taxes are levied on individuals, trustees or corporations:-

  • Income tax
  • Corporation tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • Value added tax
  • Estate duty or inheritance tax
  • Gift tax
  • Sales tax
  • Land tax

Customs or import duties are levied on certain goods imported into the Islands, and stamp duty is charged on certain documents (for example, transfers of land in the Islands, mortgages, debentures, leases and promissory notes) if executed in the Islands or on being sent into the Islands if they were wholly executed abroad. Because of its tax free status, companies incorporated and trusts created in the Islands are often used as vehicles to legitimately reduce their owners' tax burden.

Language
The official and spoken language is English.

Currency
The currency of the Islands is the Cayman dollar which is tied to the United States dollar at a fixed rate of :CI$1.00 = US$ 1.20.

Communications and Transportation
The islands have excellent communication services including the latest fiber optics telecommunication links. The islands are served by a number of major airlines, including; American Airlines, British Airways, Northwest Airlines, US Air, Air Jamaica and the islands own flag carrier, Cayman Airways. There are several daily flights from Miami, daily from Charlotte and several flights each week from Atlanta, Houston, Tampa and Kingston. There are also weekly flights from London via the Bahamas.

Privacy
The Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law as amended ensures that all information is kept in the strictest confidence. Any breach of the law will result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment. It is an offence to divulge or to seek to obtain information. If bribes are offered or taken, the penalties are doubled.

Industry
In addition to the offshore financial industry, the Islands are blessed with beautiful white sand beaches, clear blue waters and magnificent coral reefs. They have a growing tourist industry with many first class hotels, condominiums and restaurants.
The diving on the island is world renowned.


REASONS FOR USING THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

1. Economically and politically stable as a British Crown Colony.

2. Absence of all forms of direct taxation:

  • No income tax
  • No Capital gains tax
  • No withholding tax
  • No gift tax
  • No inheritance tax
  • No corporation tax
  • No value added tax
  • No sales tax
  • No property tax
  • No foreign exchange tax
  • No estate duty

3. Excellent cooperative working relationship between the public and private sector.

4. Ideal location.

5. Privacy laws.

6. No exchange control - no restriction on the amount of money which may be brought into or taken out of the country.

7. No tax treaties, and therefore no exchange of information with foreign governments (other than as required by the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States - see above).

8.The ability to safeguard funds and property by investing in or through the Islands prior to the imposition in the investor's country of exchange control regulations.

9.Sophisticated communication links.

10. Laws conducive to the conduct of business in a financial center.

11.Well developed financial infrastructure with highly qualified professional persons.

12. In excess of 500 licensed banks and trust companies and more than 350 licensed insurance companies.

13.Warm climate all year round, friendly local people and good recreational facilities.

14.Efficient and reasonable Government regulatory bodies and strict anti-money laundering legislation to discourage use of the Islands' facilities for laundering money.

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 Mondaq.com.

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

 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must 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

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com 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.

Disclaimer

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.

General

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