Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France. It is a Crown Estate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and has been influenced by English and French cultures for centuries. Jersey company law is based on Anglo-Saxon common law, so the principles of Jersey company management are familiar to people who are used to dealing with English companies. On the other hand, the additional flexibility allowed by Jersey law allows Jersey companies to be similar to, for example, Delaware (USA) companies.
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In accordance with clause 103 of part 16 of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 as amended (the Law), all business companies incorporated in Jersey, must keep accounting records sufficient to show and explain their transactions that will make it possible to judge the company’s activity and that will reflect the company’s financial position at any time with reasonable accuracy.
Paragraph 4 of clause 4 of article 106 of part 16 of the Law imposes the obligation to store accounting records and source documents for at least 10 years after the making of the relevant transaction.
Documents reflecting the company’s activity must be stored:
If accounting records of a public company are stored outside Jersey, reports regarding the company’s activity must:
Directors must prepare accounts for a period of not more than 18 months after the date of incorporation or, if the company has prepared accounts before, 18 months after the date of the end of the previous period.
Accounting records must be prepared in accordance with the generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"); normally, it is UK GAAP, US GAAP, Canadian GAAP or IFRS. GAAP adopted for preparation of accounts must be stated in those accounts.
Financial statements, including an auditor’s opinion (if required in accordance with legislation) must be prepared and presented to the general meeting of shareholders within 10 months after the date of the end of the reporting period for private companies, and within 7 months for public companies.
A shareholder who was not provided with a copy of financial statements of the company can apply to the company in writing and request a copy of those financial statements. The company must provide a copy of financial statements (and an auditor’s opinion) free of charge within 7 days after the request is received.
Under the general rule, private companies in Jersey are not required to provide state supervision authorities with accounts. Financial statements are not available to the public.
Directors of public companies must provide the registrar, within 7 months after the date of the end of the reporting period, with:
The Companies Law imposes liability for failure to meet requirements regarding keeping accounting records and source documents in the form of a penalty of up to 10 000 GBP.
Besides the penalty, the law provides for imprisonment of up to 5 years.
Public companies of Jersey must be audited.
Private companies of Jersey must only appoint an auditor if:
Companies whose shares circulate on a stock market must appoint an auditor who is on the Register of Recognized Auditors and approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.
Preparation of a consolidated report is not required.
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