Following ever increasing pressure from its Colonial Master Great Britain to dilute its privacy features the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) Legislature has passed amendments to its International Business Companies (and related) Legislation.
The amendments give rise to a significant number of regulatory changes which all take affect through 2016. These changes include, as regards each International Business Company registered (or to be registered) in the BVI:
- Introduction of a (publicly accessible) register of directors for all BVI International Business Companies (“IBCs’) including comprehensive director information;
- Full identifying details as regards the underlying beneficial owner/s of each BVI IBC must be held at the office of the IBC’s BVI registered agent;
- The location of each BVI IBC’s accounting records must be disclosed to, and held on file at the office of, the Company’s BVI Registered Agent;
- The name and address of the person responsible for keeping the accounting records must be disclosed to, and held on file at the office of, the Company’s BVI Registered Agent; &
- All BVI Companies must maintain records sufficient to show their financial status at any time
Failure to comply with requirement number 4 will attract a fine of US$50,000.00 applicable to the company and the Registered Agent as opposed to just the company itself.
The changes continue a trend which we have seen happening consistently in hitherto British Protectorate/Territory Tax/Privacy Havens. Changes forced from above have seen countless such Tax Havens’ privacy laws emasculated including in The Channel Islands, The Bahamas, The Turks & Caicos Islands, Anguilla and more.
The good news is the majority of Offshore Financial Centre Privacy Havens have declined or refused to reduce (or dilute) their privacy features and still boast no public register of directors, shareholders or owners.
Consequently it is anticipated that we will see a wholesale migration of BVI Companies to these remaining Offshore Privacy Havens over the coming months/years.
That said, if you are the owner of a BVI Company and are keen to ensure that details of who directs and or owns your company remain private, feel free to contact us for FREE advice on (a) where to migrate your Company to and (b) how to structure your IBC to minimize the chances of your IBC’s earnings being discovered or attacked onshore.