Tax Haven BVI

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The British Virgin Islands are among the world’s leading tax havens. Tax haven BVI offers an amalgam of professional international financial services which provide opportunities for investing assets, building savings, protecting assets and planning for the future.

Not only does tax haven BVI afford advanced facilities for saving on taxes and minimizing profits in business, but asserting financial freedom by ensuring that personal and business assets are safeguarded somewhere other than the country of permanent residence. These trying economic times do call for prudently managing funds and this entails entrusting wealth to tax havens as the BVI which are economically and politically stable.

Country Overview

As tax havens, the British Virgin Islands have an advanced tax structure which seeks to encourage free enterprise and wealth. Tax haven BVI has an economy in which tourism and financial services, the two main economic activities, are most important revenue earners. The BVI’s coral reefs, pristine waters, friendly people and beaches are only a few of the reasons why thousands of people from around the world make visiting BVI tax havens a priority at one point or the other in their lifetime. There are several islands in the group of British Virgin Isles, some of which are inhabited while others still remain isolated cays or masses of land to which wealthy visitors and residents and tourists of neighboring islands opt to spend the day in absolute peace and quiet while indulging snorkeling, picnicking or just simply relaxing. To name a few, some of these BVI tax havens are Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Beef Island, Peter Islands and Mosquito Island.

As a banking jurisdiction, tax haven BVI is described as being conservative. By 2006, a total of nine banking licenses had been issued, with 3 banks holding general banking licenses while restricted class I banking licenses being held by 3 banks. In all, 3 branches of international banking groups, 1 locally owned bank and 1 subsidiary of an international banking group reside locally within the BVI tax havens. One of the most attractive features of the BVI offshore sector is the extensive and level of offshore legislations that have been enacted to ensure that financial activities are conducted corrected and according to set rules, making the BVI one of the most mature and advanced international financial centers and tax havens internationally.

BVI Fiscal Incentives and Advantages

As an international financial center and tax haven, the BVI offers an appealing suite of offshore services. However, some of the key factors which contribute to the tax haven BVI’s success include the following:

  • Zero withholding tax on dividends, interest, payments to overseas residents and IBCs
  • Zero corporate tax
  • Zero income tax
  • Large numbers of educated professionals
  • Investor and business oriented environment
  • Social, political and economic soundness
  • Zero exchange controls

BVI Offshore Legislative Framework

Tax havens BVI has a vast offshore legislation library that covers areas such as money laundering, insolvency services, baking and fiduciary services, registry of corporate affairs, insurance and investment business. With regards to banking and trust services offered within BVI tax havens, a series of laws were enacted for the regulation and governing of such. Some of these offshore legislations include:

  • Banks and Trust Companies Act (amended in1995 and 2006)
  • BVI Business Companies (amended in 2004, 2005 and 2006)
  • Insurance Act (amended in 2002)
  • BVI Mutual Funds Act; and amendment
  • The Company Management Act, 1990
  • Financial Services Commission Act, 2001 (amended in 2004 and 2006)
  • Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act (2003)
  • Segregated Portfolio Companies Regulations, 2005
  • Trustee Act (amended in 2003)
  • The Company Management Act
  • The Partnership Act
  • BVI Business Companies Company Names Regulations, 2007

BVI Offshore Services

Company formation within the BVI tax havens has seen a stable upward trend over the years, although there have been fluctuations in the number of companies incorporated. In the first quarter of 2008, a total number of 20, 752 companies and 32 limited partnerships created, while in the second and third quarters, these numbers were decreased to 15, 831 and 16, 133 companies but remained at 26 limited partnerships formations for both quarters. For company formations, these figures showed a reduction from 2007 during which registration totals were recorded at 17,803, 20, 595, 17, 513 during the second, third and fourth quarters respectively, resulting in a higher number of incorporations.

Tax haven BVI has assisted in several due diligence requests made by overseas law and regulatory institutions. In 2006, the BVI helped with 30 cases, which turned out to be minor incidents and were dealt with by issuing warning letters to the customers involved. Tax haven BVI offshore services are:

  • Offshore bank licensing (offshore banking)
  • Offshore company formation
  • Offshore insurance business
  • Offshore trust business
  • BVI Segregated Portfolio Company formation
  • Mutual fund formation and administration

BVI Offshore Business Entities:

  • BVI Banks and Trust Companies
  • BVI Business Companies
  • BVI International / Offshore Insurance
  • BVI Segregated Portfolio Offshore Companies

BVI Financial Services Commission

The FSC is charged with regulating, enforcing, monitoring and regulating all financial services, company registry legislation and offshore financial services carried on in and from within tax haven BVI. The FSC collaborates with international and local stakeholders, while educating and informing the local publics on issues pertaining to tax haven BVI offshore sector. As such, the FSC of tax haven BVI advises the Government to ensure that local regulations are at par with international standards and facilitates overseas regulatory agencies wishing to examine and assess tax haven BVI’s offshore activities.

Recent Developments

Early 2009, documents added to tax haven’s offshore library included the UN Sanction – which produced a revised list of and imposed a travel ban, freezing of assets and arms embargo on persons and entities associated with Usama Bin Laden; Appointment of Registered Agent – which provided a revised form for the appointment of registered agents in tax haven BVI; Frequently Asked Questions for Re-registration of Former Local Companies – which presented 15 of the most commonly asked questions about the re domiciliation of companies in tax haven BVI and their responses; and the BVIFSC Guidelines for the Approved Persons Regime – in which standards and guidelines were set for the appointment of officers (senior and independent officers, auditors) to the BVI Financial Services Commission.

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