Isle of Man: Offshore Trusts Guide
Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
The Isle of Man law of trusts is based on English law and is to be found in the following acts:
- Trustee Act 1961
- Variation of Trusts Act 1961
- Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 1968 (adoption of the Hague Convention)
- Recognition of Trusts Act 1988
- Trusts Act 1995
- Purpose Trusts Act 1996
- Fiduciary Services Acts 2000 and 2005
- Trustee Act 2001
In addition, being a common law jurisdiction, there is a considerable amount of case law (mainly English) which is persuasive authority for the Manx courts. The distinctions between English law and Manx trust law arise principally from the fact that the Isle of Man has not adopted certain provisions of English trust law, for example, those relating to restrictions on accumulation of income. Appeal from the Isle of Man courts is to the Privy Council in London.
Trusts do not need to be registered unless they involve real estate on the island, when settlements inter vivos must be registered, or are public, i.e. charitable trusts, in which case they must file annual audited accounts, and are subject to supervision by Her Majesty’s Attorney-General in the Isle of Man. There are no other statutory accounting or auditing requirements and there is no need to file tax returns. However, trustees are obliged by law to inform the Assessor when there is, or may be, an Isle of Man income tax liability. The Isle of Man Income Tax Department issued Practice Note 160/09 in October 2009 to provide additional guidance on the tax obligations of trusts.