British Virgin Islands
An affiliate office of Fidelity Corporate Services operates in the BVI, providing offshore company formation and management services in that jurisdiction. This chapter contains an overview of the British Virgin Islands, the type of companies and offshore services available there.
BVI - the Reference Offshore Centre
BVI is arguably the most recognized offshore tax haven in the world. Since 1984, the BVI International Business Company (IBC) has reached the top of popularity among global offshore company formations, with more than 600`000 total incorporations to date and 250-300 new companies registered every day. The huge popularity of the British Virgin Islands IBC reflects in fact that in many regions of South-East Asia an International Business Company is often called “a BVI”.
Following a thorough upgrade in the underlying corporate legislation in 2005 (which also involved a somewhat controversial modification of the IBC name itself), the future is bright for the brand-new BVI Business Company.
The British Virgin Islands consists of some 50 rocky and hilly islands in the Caribbean, situated some 1100 miles southeast of Miami and 40 miles east ast of Puerto Rico, with a total land area of some 60 square miles. The biggest island of the BVI is Tortola, where the country capital Road Town is located. The population of the British Virgin Islands is approximately 22 thousand, but in reality it looks quite a lot more – much in thanks to some 2.5 million visitors that come to the British and US Virgin islands every year.
BVI is a British Crown territory, therefore politically stable, democratic and substantially more prosperous than most of the other Caribbean nations. The legal and judicial system of the BVI is based on the English Common Law, with domestic legislation passed by the BVI Legislative Council. Great Britain is responsible for the islands´ defence, foreign affairs, internal security, and the administration of justice.
BVI has a taxation system, rather characteristic to a modern-day offshore tax haven. The corporate or personal income is for all intents and purposes abolished, neither there is any tax on capital gains. The Government makes 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 is contributes substantially to the BVI`s economy.
The official currency of the BVI is US dollar. Accordingly, the Government is unable to artificially restrict or regulate the issue of currency and there are no exchange controls – while, certainly, the national economy depends on the money market situation of the American dollar, with all its highs and lows as they may happen. Despite still having a de-facto monopoly on telecoms by Cable & Wireless, the BVI has good communications infrastructure. Access by air to the BVI is provided by its international airport, although it`s somewhat limited by its inability to land jumbo-jets. By sea, there is a scheduled ferry service with the neighbouring US Virgin Islands and, during the winter season, the islands´ population tends to be tripled every other day by the visiting cruise ships.
For more geographical and practical information on British Virgin Islands, please feel free to go to the full BVI country description.
BVI Business Companies
British Virgin Islands earned its success in the offshore services industry by adopting, as it turned out, an extremely well-written and flexible law on offshore corporations – the BVI International Business Companies Act 1984. Under this law, hundreds of thousands of BVI International Business Companies were registered during the past 22 years. The Act proved to be so good, that it was widely imitated by other aspiring offshore jurisdictions, in Caribbean and elsewhere.
The recenly adopted BVI Business Companies Act 2005 represents a further modernisation of the BVI offshore services laws. The new law successfully resolves many of the modern age problems faced by the offshore services industry, in particular the criticism against discrimination and lack of “even playing field” between domestic and offshore companies. Quite notably, the new Business Companies Act replaces the two earlier laws, which regulated domestic and offshore companies separately. Corporate income tax is now abolished for all companies, including domestic. For all practical intents and purposes, there is no legal distinction between a local BVI company and an offshore BVI company. The new BVI Business Company also represents a more sophisticated offshore corporation than the former IBC.
Apart from being virtually a tax-free company and at the same time legally qualifying as a domestic entity, the new BVI Business Company has a few more remarkable features. It does not need to state the monetary value of its authorized capital. There is no requirement to file the particulars of directors or shareholders with the Registrar of Companies – but a company may choose to do so. No financial reports or accounts are required for filing. No operational objects need to be stated in the Memorandum of Association of the company, however, the company may choose to do so by becoming a “restricted purpose company”. In reverence to the international pressures, bearer shares have been burdened by new “immobilisation” rules and much higher government fees.
For a full and detailed review of all corporate features of the BVI Business Companies, please follow the link to BVI Business Company.
The new BVI Business Companies Act 2005 features a new roster of the government registration fees. The minimum government registration fee for BVI Business Companies is $350 per year, for a company having up to 50`000 shares and no bearer shares. The government fee will go up, incrementally, to $1350 per year for a company having more than 50`000 shares of which some or all ar bearer shares, if the bearer shares are not kept with a BVI-licensed custodian. While not among the lowest in the word, BVI companies definitely remain competitive due to the good recognition and value that they represent.
For a complete list of fees and charges in relation to BVI incorporations, including the professional fees of Fidesta Ltd in the BVI, please click away to the BVI company pricelist.
Our services in the BVI
Fidestas Ltd is an independent general trust company, licensed in the BVI under the BVI Banks and Trust Companies Act 1990.
The firm provides a full range of offshore corporate services in the BVI – Business Company registration and administration, Registered Agent and Registered Address services, directorsÂ´ and company management, shareholding and custodian services, bank introduction and account management, virtual office and secretarial services, assistance with licensing of special offshore corporate vehicles (notably, mutual funds) and a full administrative support to BVI companies.
For a full description of the BVI Business Company registration process, please follow the link to BVI registration procedures. Initial contact and placement of BVI company formation orders is available online through the BVI Company Order Form.
The full particulars of Fidesta Ltd in the BVI are:
Street address: Charles Court, 1st Floor
189 Main Street
British Virgin Islands
Mail address: PO box 4406, Road Town, BVI
Telephone: +1 284 494 8789
Fax: +1 284 494 8945
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