Isle of Man: Types of Company
Company Limited by Guarantee
This page was last updated on 11 January 2020.
The company limited by guarantee, and its sibling, the company limited by guarantee and having shares, have existed since the earliest days of company law over 135 years ago. They are essentially mutual companies, and as such have historically been used essentially for charitable and non-profit purposes.
In the last 30 years, these company types have been increasingly used for private family foundations instead of discretionary trusts, since they are readily intelligible to persons from a non-equitable legal background, and avoid most of the problems associated with trusts. In addition, they have been used for proprietary and members' clubs in the international leisure and timeshare resort industry, where they meet all the requirements of modern EU law, as well as for other social organisations.
They have also been used for tax planning, making use of the extraordinary flexibility in relation to ownership and capital that such companies can provide. The Isle of Man is one of the leading jurisdictions for this form of company, not because it is unique to the Isle of Man, but because it was in the Isle of Man that all the development work was done in the last three decades.