Why a BVI Company?
No income, capital gains, inheritance or corporate tax
Extremely private; the shareholder and director registers are closed off to the public
With over 1.2 Million Companies incorporated, BVI is one of the most secure and popular locations in the world for company incorporation
A minimum requirement of one director and one shareholder
No requirement to file annual reports or financial returns
Superior banking services, with approximately 540 banks on the Island
Legal system familiar to most lawyers dealing with offshore companies
BVI Company Key Facts
BVI Company Tax Information
The BVI has an excellent business structure catering for the numerous corporate entities conducting their business from the islands on a daily basis.
One of the most attractive features of a BVI offshore structure is that the company may keep key documents and information about its ownership, management and financial affairs confidential from the prying eyes of third parties. The BVI Business Companies Act 2004, obliges all companies to keep original and contemporaneous records of the: directors, shareholders, minutes of all meetings and their financial affairs at the registered office such documents are not filed with the registrar.
A British Virgin Islands business company does not pay any tax on its worldwide profits to the British Virgin Island tax authorities. Furthermore, BVI companies are not required to file tax returns or any form of declaration regarding the foreign source of their income.
Type of Shares
Registered shares, preference shares, bearer shares, redeemable shares and shares with or without voting rights attached.
Corporate or individual
Must the Director/ Manager be resident?
Minimum paid up capital
Restrictions on trade
BVI companies cannot trade within the jurisdiction; own real estate; undertake the business of: banking, insurance, collective investment schemes, trust management, trusteeship, offering investment advice. Additionally BVI companies cannot offer its shares to the public or carry out any activities linked to gambling.
Type of Company
Location of meetings
It must be maintained in the British Virgin Islands by a local registered agent.
US Dollar (USD).
Name of the company
Suffixes to denote limited liability: Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Société Anonyme, Sociedad Anónima or their relevant abbreviations. There are general restrictions on the names that are identical or similar to an existing company, or any name that suggests the patronage of the Royal Family or the Government of the British Virgin Islands. Further information can be found in The BVI Business Companies (Restricted Company Names) Notice 2013.
Privacy and secrecy provisions within the IBC Companies Act 2004 is a hallmark of the offshore jurisdiction’s level of accommodation towards offshore companies’ operation. The territory enjoys unparalleled levels of privacy and confidentiality as a result of firmly upheld English Common Law, lax corporate legislation and authority oversight intended to maximise the flexibility of an offshore company’s business and trade. The Act has effectively revoked the concept of ultra vires for companies on the island, and enables companies to trade and conduct business as they please.
Companies are not obligated to file annual returns to the British Virgin Islands Tax Authorities, nor keep the company’s auditing books available for public scrutiny.
Companies may keep director(s) and shareholder(s) undisclosed and anonymised. And such information can only be maintained with the registered agent, who is bound by law to only disclose information under a lawful request i.e, through a Direct Tax Agreement (DTA) or Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA).
The British Virgin Islands is among one of the 94 jurisdictions to become a signatory to FACTA 2010. In doing so, so the jurisdiction has implemented an automatic international exchange of information for tax purposes with the United States and also by extension with the UK.
In addition, BVI companies are able to elect nominees to stand as director(s) and shareholder(s) to the offshore company further protecting the anonymity of the company’s ownership.
BVI Background Information
BVI has the strongest and most stable economy in the entire Caribbean region with a GDP per capita of $42,300 (2010). The territory has predominantly relied upon its competitive financial service sector and tourism. Company incorporation currently accounts for 51.4% of total government revenues. The strength of BVI’s economy has led to greater fluxes of foreign investment where in 2013, the country’s FDI total surpassed that of India and China combined. As of 2013 there are over 480,000 active offshore companies including 1,016 private trust companies in the BVI.
The British Virgin Islands has a strong tourism sector which accounts for an impressive 45% of the Island’s total national income. Tourism
BVI has become world renowned for its financial service industry and has notably earned a reputation as a ‘magnet’ for large corporations wishing to incorporate business in a tax friendly territory. The IMF in 2010 estimated that BVI offshore companies held over $600 billion in assts. Moreover, BVI companies are increasingly used to serve multifunctional purposes including:
- Acting as a listing vehicle on international stock exchanges such as HKSE and the SSE
- Engaging in cross-border investment
- Capital raising
- Captive insurance company incorporation
- Hedge fund asset protection
The BVI has also set an example to other offshore jurisdiction for the prevention of illegal financial activity such as money-laundering in particular. The country is on the OECD ‘White list’ as a highly compliant jurisdictions meeting the international tax standards.
BVI Political Structure
The British Virgin Islands has one of the most stable and trusted political systems in the Caribbean region based on politically stable democracy. The BVI enjoys regular democratic elections as a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Moreover, BVI’s legal system is based on familiar English Common Law which lawyers internationally are highly experienced in dealing with. The United Kingdom’s support and umbilical relationship with the British Virgin Islands has provided confidence in investors to invest on the island.
Executive powers are held by the British monarch with the Queen standing as the figurative head of state and an appointed Governor exercising these powers on a day-to-day basis.
As a result of negative “tax haven” perceptions of the BVI, the government has in recent years pronounced it’s anti-money-laundering stance through regulations and protective measures to prevent criminal activity. In doing so, BVI has set the standard for robust crackdowns on tax evasion internationally.
BVI Banking Services
- High-level confidentiality – Banking privacy is reinstated by BVI statutes. Authorities have access to bank information in criminal tax matters where a court order is present only.
- Variety of payment options – With accounts in several currencies, internet banking, international wire transfers, debit and credit cards, prepaid cards, checkbooks, merchant accounts, brokerage accounts BVI bank account holders enjoy great payment flexibility.
- Low initial deposit requirements
- Full operative control– Secure Internet-banking facilities, with no need to install specific software on computers or other devices.
- Wide choice of payment cards
- No personal visits to BVI is required to open a BVI bank account.
- Free account application – The bank charges no fee for account opening.
Bank Account Requirements:
✓ Certified copy of passport
✓ Bank reference from a bank, which knows the person over 2 years
✓ Professional reference from an individual who knows the person over 2 years. If you do not have a relationships with a professional, the bank needs a second bank reference from another bank.
✓ Proof of address (original utility bill with individual’s name and residential address).