BVI is arguably the most renowned offshore tax shelter in the world. Since 1984, the BVI International Business Company (IBC) has reached the pinnacle of popularity among global offshore company formations, with around 2 million total incorporations to date and 3000 new companies registered every month. The huge popularity of the British Virgin Islands IBC is reflected in the fact that in many regions of South-East Asia an International Business Company is often called “a BVI”.
In 2005 a meticulous enhancement of the underlying corporate legislation eliminated the distinction between the offshore companies and domestic companies creating a uniform company type in the BVI – a BVI business company. Consequently, all the companies registered in the BVI can operate offshore as well as inland, all the BVI BCs have the same rights and the same tax regime (tax-free).
BVI has a taxation system, typical for a modern-day offshore tax haven. The corporate or personal income is for by all means abolished, neither there is any tax on capital gains. The Government fulfills its budget from payroll tax (10% for small enterprises and 14% for all the rest) as well as from import and stamp duties, license fees and company registration fees. Offshore financial services sector contributes substantially to the BVI`s economy.
Funds and Investment Business
The BVI is a growing jurisdiction for offshore domiciled funds with approximately 2,300 registered and recognised investment funds. The Securities and Investment Business Act (SIBA) provides the BVI with an effective regulatory platform that is in tune with global regulatory standards and best practices. The Approved Managers Regime provides a flexible, efficient, commercially attractive, and balanced approach to regulating various types of asset managers. The British Virgin Islands, in continuing to establish itself as a premier offshore financial services jurisdiction, launched two new fund products in May 2015, to complement its very popular existing funds offering with the bold intention of remaining on the cutting edge of the financial services market. The “incubator fund” and the “approved fund” are two new lightly regulated fund products which are primarily aimed at start-up emerging managers and those managing funds for smaller groups of closely connected investors.
Trust and Estate Planning
The BVI’s innovative, modern and user-friendly legislation, namely, the Virgin Islands Special Trust Act (VISTA) and the Private Trust Company (PTC) legislation, have positioned the BVI as the jurisdiction of choice for trust settlements and operations – with VISTA purpose or charitable trusts being ideally suited to hold shares in PTC’s.
The BVI Insurance Act offers a new, more transparent framework which provides a secure and flexible approach to establish and operate various forms of insurance and reinsurance companies.
The BVI is a Category One member of the Red Ensign Group of registries and is able to register mega and super yachts up to 3,000 gross tonnage and general cargo ships of unlimited tonnage.
The BVI is a US Federal Aviation Authority Category One aircraft register. With the introduction of the Mortgaging of Aircraft and Aircraft Engines Act and Regulations, the Territory is able to register aircraft and engines which enables operators to secure aircraft financing.
The BVI offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of its clients. The BVI is not a traditional banking centre, however we are well known for our stable banking environment with five major commercial banks operating in the jurisdiction and one private international bank. They are respectively, Scotiabank (British Virgin Islands), First Caribbean International Bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, First Bank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands and VP Bank, a private bank offering comprehensive private and trust banking services to international and domestic clients.
The BVI is home to the leading global accountancy firms and audit firms, as well as the top tier offshore law firms, and boasts a highly regarded pool of qualified and experienced professionals that are committed to remaining at the forefront of the industry.
Boasting an enviable heritage and robust regulatory structure, the BVI has over 450,000 active companies on its Register. The supranational respect the BVI business model has attained over the years has a number of important components such as the Business Companies Act, 2004, which has received positive reviews for its flexibility. The Act allows for five different companies to be formed, diminishing a number of restrictions for clients.
The key features of a BVI Company Registration are: