The Isle of Man is in the middle of the Irish Sea, between England and Ireland.
With a population of approximately 80,000, the Island is 32.5 miles long and 13.5 miles wide, occupying 221 square miles. The highest peak in its central range of hills is 2036 foot Snaefell.
The Island’s capital and main seaport is Douglas.
The Gulf Stream gives the Island a temperate climate with rare extremes of either heat or cold.
Regular, year-round direct air services between the Island and various UK and Irish destinations complement daily “roll on, roll off” ferry services throughout the year between the Island’s capital Douglas, Ireland and the U.K, with regular liner and bulk tramp shipping services from Ramsey.
The Isle of Man has its own legal system and jurisprudence with all the main features of a national government, influenced by its neighbour, the United Kingdom.
However the origins of Manx Law are in the Kingdom of Man and the Isles established by the Vikings in the 10th century under the general suzerainty of the Kings of Norway which lasted until 1266 when the Island was ceded by Norway to Scotland. The ancient customary laws of the Island derive from the Scandinavian period.
For over 1,000 years the Island has enjoyed the form of an independent self-governing state although the authority of Tynwald, its legislature, was first subject to the will of the Kings and Lords of Man who actually spent little time on the Island.
This traditional independence continues, the Island is not part of the UK or the European Community.
Today the British Crown is ultimately responsible for the Island’s development of a sophisticated legislative structure for the conduct of financial business through companies, trusts and partnerships including a variety of exemptions from liability to Manx income tax.
As a result, the Island hosts a broad spectrum of financial and investment services, including commodity brokers, insurance brokers, stockbrokers, investment managers, collective investment schemes, insurance management, captive insurance companies and company and trust administration.
Extremely generous assistance and incentives are also available as the Government encourages building industrial premises in advance of demand on the ample land for new construction.
While the Isle of Man is neither a member state nor an associate member of the European Union, there is free movement of goods between the Island and the European Union, ensuring that Manx products have full access to the Single Market via efficient air, sea, telecommunications and postal links.
Import and export of goods and passengers between the Island and UK is unhampered by Customs and passport controls and through the Island’s Freeport where processing, transshipment and warehousing can be undertaken without customs duties, VAT or European Union levies.
The currency of the Island is the Pound Sterling. The Island’s Government issues its own notes and coins which are circulated alongside UK currency bearing the same names and denominations as those issued by the UK Government.
As a result of the Island’s specialisation in international financial services most international banks, including all the leading UK clearing banks, are represented on the Island.
The economy of the Island was traditionally based on agriculture and fisheries, a large number of relatively small farms supporting a majority of the population, many of whom supplemented their livelihoods by fishing.
However, during the past three decades, the Manx economy has fundamentally changed as traditional industries of agriculture, fisheries and tourism have been overtaken by manufacturing and financial services.
The Island’s policy is to keep taxation low by providing an attractive tax structure for companies. There is no inheritance tax, estate duty, wealth tax, capital gains tax or capital transfer tax nor is there surtax, higher rate tax or investment income surcharge.
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