British Virgin Islands Company Summary
- The leading offshore jurisdiction.
- High degree of market awareness and acceptability.
- Excellent infrastructure and professional support.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea located approximately 80 kilometres east of Puerto Rico. The BVI is a British Dependent Territory which became self-governing in 1967 and is a member of the British Commonwealth. Since introducing its International Business Company (IBC) legislation in 1984, the BVI offshore financial services sector has developed, and is now the world’s premier offshore centre with over 660,000 companies incorporated.
- Confidentiality – No accounts need to be submitted, no annual general meetings need to be held nor maintain a public record of shareholders and directors.
- Tax – Companies conducting international business are exempt from corporate tax. There are no capital gains tax, income tax for non residents.
- Investment holding company – shares and property.
- Holding of bank accounts, fixed deposits, investment plans, commercial or financial title.
- To give or receive money for commissions, loans and royalties etc.
Law and Taxation
The legal system is based on the English common law (although some provisions from Delaware legislation have been included in the IBC legislation) supplemented by local ordinances. The user-friendly nature of this IBC legislation has assisted the BVI to gain significant market acceptance. There are no taxes levied on IBCs with the exception of the annual government licence fee which is USD350 for companies with an authorised capital of USD50,000 or less.
Companies that fail to pay their licence fee by the due date are subject to penalties and will be struck off for non-payment five months after the due date. For companies incorprated between Jan – June, the renewal fee is payable before 31st May the following year and for incorporations between July to December, the renewal fee is payable before 30th Nov the next year.
There are no exchange controls or restrictions on the flow of currency in or out of the territory.
Each BVI company must have a Registered Agent and Registered Office in the BVI, provided by a licensed service provider at a cost of USD250.
Each company must have at least one director and corporate directors are permitted. However, under the IBC (Amendment) Act 2003 and 2004, every newly incorporated company will be required to appoint first directors within 30 days of the date of incorporation and the original or copy of the Register of Directors will be required to be kept at the Registered Office of the company. Details of the directors do not appear on any public record, although there are provisions for optional filing at the Companies Registry of this information if required.
The company should have at least one shareholder and bearer shares are allowed. Under the new IBC Act, bearer share certificates will have to be held by an approved Custodian. The Register of Shareholders should be kept at the Registered Office but need not be available for public inspection. Often, it is advisable to keep the original there for estate duty or stamp duty reasons.
There are no requirements for annual returns, annual meetings or audited accounts unlike a Singapore incorporated private limited company.
The BVI has now attracted a healthy number of international accounting firms and law firms. There are at present, relatively few banks and financial institutions. The Companies Registry in the BVI is technically advanced and efficient, and has kept pace with continuingly increasing demand.
There are no specific statutory provisions governing secrecy in relation to companies, however, statutory filing requirements are minimal and the English law, which applies to the jurisdiction, does impose a common law duty on professionals to keep the affairs of their clients confidential.
We have a substantial stock of companies with a wide selection of names that are immediately available for purchase. We can also incorporate a company with your choice of name and can also confirm the availability of names in advance. For customised name incorporation, the process will take a slightly longer time of at least 1 week from the confirmation of name. All companies are provided with a complete company kit, including share certificates, 5 copies of the M&A plus an electronic copy on CD-ROM, statutory registers, common seal, company chop and a certificate of guarantee of quality.
In addition, we can assist clients in obtaining certificates of good standing, registered agent certificates and other certificates of corporate existence. We also provide corporate management services.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further queries.