Gibraltar: Offshore Business Sectors
Gibraltar was the first European financial centre to introduce the exempt company (although this was phased out as a corporate vehicle, and removed completely by the end of 2010) as an offshore holding vehicle, and its unique status among IOFCs in relation to the EU makes it the jurisdiction of choice for certain types of investor or trader. However, the Rock's company formation regime remained, until December 2008, somewhat up in the air as a result of its dispute with the European Commission.
In his 2009 budget speech, Caruana confirmed that a 10% corporate tax would apply in the jurisdiction from 1 January 2011 (20% for energy and utility providers), and that the Exempt Company regime would be rescinded by the end of 2010.
As a multi-purpose financial centre Gibraltar is not perhaps as well-developed as some of its rivals, but it has well-regulated banking, investment management, insurance and shipping sectors. As with holding companies, Gibraltar's position vis-a-vis the EU is an advantage for some financial operators or their customers, especially now that the diplomatic hurdles to the 'passporting' of Gibraltar financial institutions throughout the EU have been removed. On the other hand there is always the fear that Gibraltar is vulnerable to pressure from EU countries, especially Spain.
This section of the Lowtax site describes the most important types of offshore business activity carried out from Gibraltar.