Mobile Menu

Cayman Islands Updated Economic Substance Guidance

Version 3.0 of the Cayman Islands guidance notes (“Guidance”) on the Cayman Islands’ economic substance legislation provides additional assistance in interpreting the International Tax Co-operation (Economic Substance) Law (the “ES Law”).

The Guidance now includes a framework of industry-specific case studies along with an explanation of how the Tax Information Authority (“TIA”) will interpret the ES Law terms “adequate” and “appropriate” in relation to the ES Law’s requirements for economic substance (the “ES Test”, described in more detail below). The release of the Guidance follows a period of industry collaboration and demonstrates the Cayman Islands’ continued commitment to a reputable economic substance regime in line with global standards.

Notification Obligations

“Entities” to notify under the ES Law

The ES Law requires that every “entity” (see below) must notify the TIA annually by way of an Economic Substance Notification (“ESN”) whether or not it is carrying on a “relevant activity” (see below) under the ES Law and if so, whether or not it is a “relevant entity”. The ESN must be filed as a prerequisite to an entity filing its annual return with the Cayman Islands General Registry’s Corporate Administration Portal, in each case by 31 March. Going forward, we strongly recommended that both the ESN and the annual return are filed prior to 31 January each year, otherwise an entity’s ability to obtain a certificate of good standing from the Cayman Islands General Registry authorities will be impaired. Foreign companies must also file an ESN by the same deadline, notwithstanding that such entities are not required to file an annual return.

“Entities” required to file an ESN include all legal persons registered with the Cayman Islands General Registry.  This includes companies incorporated under the Companies Law (the “Companies Law”), limited liability companies registered under the Limited Liability Companies Law, limited liability partnerships registered in accordance with the Limited Liability Partnership Law, 2017 and companies incorporated outside of the Cayman Islands and registered under the Companies Law.


To continue reading full articles in PDF format:
Cayman Islands Updated Economic Substance Guidance


Maree Martin
Counsel and Head of Knowledge Management - Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands   +1 345 814 7781

Alan Dickson

Cayman Islands   +1 345 814 7790

Philippa Gilkes

Cayman Islands   +1 345 814 7751

Disclaimer: Effective 3 December 2020, all legislation in the Cayman Islands is described by the term “Act” rather than “Law”. Any references to “Law” (and accompanying acronyms) in Conyers written materials pre-dating October 2020 should be read as “Act”.


"I enjoy working with them - they are very dependable, reliable and responsive."
- Chambers Global