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The British Virgin Islands is one of the most popular financial centers for offshore business. This is group of 36 islands located in the Caribbean Sea near Puerto Rico. Being for a long time British colony, BVI now have the status of British Overseas Territories that after the adoption of the constitution in 1967 was granted limited degree of autonomy.
Offshore zone the British Virgin Islands is largely obliged for own popularity definitely to the UK. Using as a basis for the legal framework Anglo-Saxon law, as well as forms of business organization, the BVI have developed their own strategy in order to attract foreign investment and the country`s economic development. The result of such successful Alliance – is nearly half a million of active registered offshore companies in the BVI. US dollar usage as the national currency is due to the territorial proximity and significant US impact on the state economy.
Virgin Islands even now occupy a leading position among numerous offshore regions.
Offshore zone the British Virgin Islands has the following advantages:
- Political and economic stability of the region;
- Flexible legislation;
- Reasonable cost of the company registration and supporting;
- No requirements for financial and tax reporting;
- Government policy to promote offshore business;
- Nominee services;
- English as the official language.
Virgin Islands is among the states that have acceded to the Hague Agreement, which greatly simplified the process of legalization of documents. The Government of the Virgin Islands signed an agreement on avoidance of double taxation with Switzerland and Japan.
Offshore in the British Virgin Islands, according to the recently adopted law can exist in the form of Business Company, that is universal as for international and local business. Now, any registered company in the BVI is regarded as tax resident. Such measure made it possible to protect from accusations of creating more favorable conditions for the development of foreign business.
British Virgin Islands offshore - is an effective tool for tax planning. The company’s business is exempt from capital gains tax, income, corporate and inheritance tax. Annual renewal fee and payment for the nominee services are considered as mandatory payments upon the conditions of its using. Fee amount depends on the size of the share capital if it does not exceed $ 50,000, the amount of the fee will be $ 350, from $ 50,000 it is paid a fee of $ 1000. Amount of fee for business registration – is $300. Additionally, it may be necessary the certificate of «Good Standing», which is issued by the Register of Enterprises and is an indication that the company is in working order, payed the required fees and has not lost the status of independent legal entity.
There are following advantages of the business organization:
- Simple and speed registration;
- Possibility of opening the bank account;
- No requirements to the size of the initial capital;
- It is allowed to issue bearer shares (with the storage in the office of the registered agent);
- Directors and shareholders can be private or legal entities;
- No financial reporting requirements (it is not exempt from bookkeeping);
- Nominee service.
One should take into account a number of nuances choosing a name for the Business Company. There are restrictions on the words usage, pointing to engage in banking, insurance, trust and reinsurance activities. For this, one must obtain a special license.
The name of the company must have certain words or abbreviations:
- For limited liability companies - Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Ltd, Corp, Inc or S.A .;
- For companies with unlimited liability - Unlimited or Unltd;
- For companies for the certain objectives purposes - (SPV) Limited or SPV) Ltd;
- For companies with segregated portfolio - Segregated Portfolio Company Limited, SPC Limited, SPC Ltd.
Characteristics of the company registered in the British Virgin Islands
Shareholders and directors may be both private and legal persons of any residence. For company establishment it is enough one shareholder and one director with possible positions overlapping. There are no requirements for annual financial statements, but accounting is necessary, reflecting the current company`s financial condition. The obligatory requirement is the presence of registered office and licensed registered agent in the BVI. Virtual office service is optionally available.
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.
As regards bearer shares, today in the BVI, along with other offshore areas, it is required withholding of such shares from circulation and transfer in storage at the office of registered agent. It is necessary to provide information about the true owner of the shares, which neutralized their main advantage - anonymity. The size of the fees for the establishment of such companies is quite high. For privacy, one can use corporate nominee shareholders, providing the same effect as bearer shares. Offshore registration in the BVI lasts for 2-3 days, the extra time will require for documents in the case of nominee service.
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