The British Virgin Islands of the BVI as they are commonly known is a group of islands in the Caribbean, an estimated group of fifty four (54). The BVI is made up of four main islands and fifty smaller cays. The BVI forms part of British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The capital city of the BVI is located on the island of Tortola. The British Virgin Islands is one of the major tourist hubs of the Caribbean which attracts thousands of visitors each year with its white sand beaches and big resorts. The BVI is also an offshore jurisdiction which provides excellent offshore services such as offshore banking, the incorporation of International Business Companies or offshore companies, exempt insurance, trusts among other services.
The BVI is one of the tax havens in the Caribbean region. Tax havens are those territories which have zero taxes or in some cases very low tax regimes in place. Tax havens found today are mostly offshore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands. The main characteristics of offshore tax havens is that they provide genuine secrecy and privacy for clients in financial and other services and that most of the clients are not citizens of such countries.
As one of the most respectable tax havens in the Caribbean the BVI has very high standards. BVI tax havens have no taxes in place for BVI offshore companies who do no business in the jurisdiction. International business companies will pay zero taxes on the profits, interests, dividends and other types of incomes earned outside of the jurisdiction. For this reason the BVI can be regarded as a pure offshore tax haven. BVI offshore corporations pay no corporate tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, withholding tax and income tax. The only money that an offshore company pays in the BVI is an annual fee which is paid to the relevant government authorities.
BVI as a tax haven imposes no taxes on offshore bank account which makes the British Virgin Islands an ideal jurisdiction to set up offshore bank accounts. Offshore bank accounts benefit from the tax free environment in the British Virgin Islands. The incomes and capital in offshore bank accounts are not taxed in the BVI.
Tax haven BVI provides exceptional privacy and confidentiality for its offshore clients. In keeping with international banking regulation offshore banks operating in the offshore jurisdiction of the BVI function by the know your client rule but are still able to maintain the privacy and secrecy on behalf of client. According to banking secrecy laws of tax haven BVI information regarding offshore banks and bank accounts in the jurisdiction can only be given out with the consent of the offshore bank account holder or if a court order has been handed down. Disclosure of information of information in offshore bank account is punishable by the law.
The BVI as a tax haven also provides confidentiality and privacy to the beneficial owners and directors of offshore business corporations through its offshore business corporation’s act. The names of the offshore company’s shareholders, directors and the company’s minutes of meetings and resolution are not filed with the Registrar of Companies. Information about the beneficial owners is not made public. This means that this information does not become public. Such information is only known by the Registered Agent of the company who is also responsible for keeping the information. The offshore business legislation provides further privacy by allowing offshore corporation in the BVI to be incorporated using nominee directors and shareholders. All offshore corporations, trusts and other offshore business entities are exempted from Stamp Duty for transactions carried out on their behalf.
In the offshore tax haven of the British Virgin Islands an offshore business corporation can be incorporated using just one shareholder and director. The director can be another BVI corporation. The financial statements and audits of the British Virgin Islands offshore corporation are private. These financial statements of these companies are not to be filed with the government authorities in the British Virgin Islands. They are to be kept for the benefit of the shareholders and directors of the offshore companies. Financial statement for offshore companies in tax haven BVI can be kept at any location convenient to the corporation’s members.
The BVI has no double tax treaties with foreign countries which makes offshore clients tax information and financial status safe within the BVI. An added advantage to offshore trading companies incorporated in the BVI is that the jurisdiction has no exchange controls in place which makes it easy to move funds around.
The BVI as a tax haven gives clients and investors the perfect avenue to reduce tax liabilities. Since the BVI has zero taxes it makes the jurisdiction the ideal place to incorporate offshore or to do banking. The BVI have for years provided unbeatable asset protection.