British Virgin Islands
I. ABOUT THE COUNTRY
British Virgin Islands consist of fifty islands located in the Caribbean approximately fifty miles east of Puerto Rico. Only fifteen of the islands are inhabited, with the largest being Tortola, an island of twenty one square miles.
The official language is English. The legal tender is in par with the currency of the United States and the climate is tropical. British Virgin Islands are a British Crown Colony. The Government is Democratic Ministerial. The Islands are considered politically stable.
The Islands have excellent transportation and communications facilities, and worldwide banking facilities are also freely available. The main industries on the Islands are tourism and financial services, and the supporting infrastructures for these two industries are highly developed. A number of experienced law firms and international accounting firms are present on the islands.
II. THE ADVANTAGES
The British Virgin Islands is politically stable and English Common Law Model is adopted. It has a good commercial and professional infrastructure and the Government is actively encouraging the development of the offshore finance business. There are no specific statutory provisions governing secrecy in relation to companies but the application of English Law imposes a common law duty on professionals to keep the affairs of their clients confidential.
III. CHARACTERISTICS OF Business Companies
Only one shareholder is required. No details of the shareholders need to be filed in any public registry but a register of shareholders must be kept at the registered office address of the company in BVI.
Companies with bearer shares allowance can be formed with greater license fee and bearer shares can only be issued under the condition that the original certificates kept by a recognized / authorized custodian.
Only one director is required and corporate directors are permitted. There is no requirement to file details of the directors to any public registry.
The first director shall be appointed within (6) six months of the incorporation date and a register of directors must be kept at the registered office address of the company in BVI.
There is no requirement to file annual return or accounts. However, penalty fees of up to 50% of the annual Government fee will be charged if the licence fee is not paid when due.
Companies pay no taxes in BVI and no tax on offshore profits. There are double taxation treaties relating to residents with Japan and Switzerland as a result of the extension of the United Kingdom treaties with these countries to the British Virgin Islands. The long-existing and popular treaty with the United States was terminated as of January 1, 1983. Income tax paid by persons in the participating treaty countries to British Virgin Islands residents is a maximum of 15% for dividends, normal rates for interest and no taxes for royalties.
The company has to have a registered office address within BVI and must also appoint a BVI resident as registered agent.
For more information, please visit http://www.bvifsc.vg/