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The British Virgin Islands is a British oversea territory consisting of 36 islands located in the Caribbean. Since the discovery of Columbus Virgin Islands was belonging to Spain, and at the end of the 17th century, England declared its rule. After the adoption of the constitution in 1967, the territory was granted self-government, bodies of which are the Governor and the Legislative Council.
The capital, Road Town, is situated in Tortola. The islands have a population of about 25,000. The official language is English; the national currency – is US dollar (since 1959).
BVI economy is the most stable in the Caribbean region, based on tourism and constantly evolving financial sector. The growing popularity of BVI as prosper offshore zone refers to the time of the Panama crisis. Then, many companies have been forced to leave Panama, so that after a few years there were recorded more than 100 thousand in the Virgin Islands. In addition, the reason for this popularity lies in the effective measures to attract foreign investment and high growth rates of the economy.
Today Virgin Islands continues be in the lead among numerous offshore zones. For successful business, many entrepreneurs are seeking to register a company in the BVI.
This is due to several reasons:
- Political and economic stability of the region;
- Loyal legislation;
- High level of confidentiality;
- Ability to use nominee services;
- English as the official language.
In addition, the Virgin Islands are among the countries that have signed the Hague Convention, which simplifies the process of legalization of foreign documents by apostille. The Government of the Virgin Islands signed an agreement on avoidance of double taxation with Switzerland and Japan.
According to law passed in 2007, companies that have registered here, are not classified as local and foreign. A new type of offshore company is individual Business Company for international and local businesses conducting, and at this, there is zero rate of corporate income tax. Such step not only increased the popularity of the BVI as offshore area with tax optimization, but also prevented the prosecution of illegal assistance to foreign businesses.
The company in the British Virgin Islands, being as effective tool for tax planning, also has other advantages:
- Simplicity and speed of registration;
- Moderate cost of the company's registration and prolongation;
- Compliance with the high level of confidentiality;
- No foreign exchange controls;
- Possibility to open bank account;
- No requirements to the size of the initial capital;
- One can issue bearer shares;
- Directors and shareholders can be private or legal entities;
- No financial reporting requirements;
- Nominee service.
Company taxation in the BVI:
There are no taxes on capital gains, inheritance tax, VAT and tax from the properties’ sale, as well as taxes on dividends and interest. There are mandatory duties, as well as property taxes. Companies registered in the BVI, pay an annual fee, the amount of which depends on the size of the authorized capital: up to $ 50 000 - $ 350, from $ 50 001 - $ 1000. The amount of the state duty for registration – is $ 300.
There are following types of companies registered in the BVI:
Business Company can have the following forms:
- BVI private company limited by shares
- BVI private company limited by guarantee;
- BVI Public Company;
- Limited Partnerships;
- Specialized companies;
Requirements for the company registered in the British Virgin Islands
There are adopted a number of measures aimed at ensuring the stability of the business, in particular, the additional requirements for the identification of investors. Beneficiary, directors and shareholders are required to present documents proving their identity and address, as well as bank references in which they served at least six months.
It is necessary the presence of registered office and licensed registered agent in the BVI. It is also available virtual office service.
The present of director and shareholder (combining the two positions is possible) is necessary for company establishment. There is no requirement for financial statements. There are no requirements for the post of secretary.
In the BVI, there is a ban on certain activities, for example, a ban on investment in real estate, trading in the BVI, insurance, banking and other activities that require licenses.
Separately it should be said about the companies with registered shares on the bearer. Firstly, according to the laws of the BVI such shares must be withdrawn from circulation with transferring for custody to the licensed agent with information about the true owner of the shares; secondly, it is very difficult to open a bank account for such companies. Moreover, the size of fees for establishment of such companies is quite high. The best solution to the problem of confidentiality is to use corporate nominee shareholders, providing the same effect as bearer shares.
There are following requirements to the company name in the BVI
There are restrictions on the use of the words, pointing to engage in banking, insurance, trust and reinsurance activities. For this, one should obtain a special license. It is prohibited to use the words denoting to the companies connection with government authorities. There may also be rejected the names resembling the name of existing registered companies. Offshore registration in the BVI lasts for 2-3 days, the extra time is required for documents in the case of nominee service.
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