The United Kingdom ("UK") comprises England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and is one of the fifteen member states of the European Union. Map It has an area of some 244,100 square kilometres (94,250 sq. miles) with an estimated popu-lation in excess of 57 million. London is one of the world's leading centres for banking, insurance and other financial services; lying between New York and Tokyo it is the third leg of the world's capital markets. Not the least of its attractions is that it is a politically stable English speaking country.
The UK is strategically located off the Northwest coast of Continental Europe and has excellent communications; it has three major international airports in Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester with extensive worldwide connections. Recently the UK was physically joined to the mainland continent by the opening of the Channel rail tunnel link which boasts frequent train services for passengers and cars to Paris and Brussels.
The UK has signed double taxation treaties with 100 countries and thus enjoys the most extensive double taxation treaty network in the world.
Despite the fact that the UK is by no means a low tax country, UK companies can be used effectively and advantageously in a tax planning structure. One of the major benefits of utilising UK companies flows from the very fact that the UK is not a tax haven so UK based tax planning structures would not generally attract the same level of attention as those based on a pure tax haven company.