Archive for the ‘British Virgin Islands’ Category

BVI Finance commissioned report on the role of BVI companies in global economy

Friday, June 30th, 2017

The report written by Capital Economics and funded by BVI Finance states that the British Virgin Islands are strongly contributing to the global economy and facilitating international trade and investment. It is estimated that US$1.5 trillion worth of assets are currently moved through the BVI companies and structures, and BVI is named a “sound and reliable centre which has worked harder than many bigger nations to meet international standards, and not some supposed tax haven.”

According to the report, the jurisdiction is no longer used for tax benefits alone, and has a very strong legal framework that draws heavily on US law and helps facilitate cross-border transactions. It is also emphasized that the BVI has increased transparency and information sharing – companies must now disclose the names of their directors and beneficial owners. However, ownership information can be obtained only through a court order or with the company’s permission.

Capital Economics claims that the BVI is a “substantial net benefit to governments worldwide”, and estimates that, globally, US$750 million is saved in taxes, compared to $15.7 billion that is generated. In the UK the investments made through BVI companies generate $3.9 billion in income and corporate tax.

Indian Income Tax Department issued guidelines related to British Virgin Islands

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Indian Income Tax Department has asked its field officers to be specific when requesting information from the BVI authorities, and provide prompt replies to their queries. This was done in connection with growing number of information requests that are pending with the British Virgin Islands, which is the most popular location for offshore accounts of Indian businesses. The Income Tax Department said the replies must be given within 15 days to make the process faster.

On May 12, an internal guidance to officers was issued by the Department, concerning requests for exchange of information made to BVI, asking the officers not to opt for ‘Request to refrain from notifying the taxpayer’ in the proforma. Such request should be made only if its is essential and can be justified by documentary evidences.

It is only in some exceptional cases when the request can be made without notifying the taxpayer/holder – when the information is very urgent, and prior notification of the taxpayer will delay supply of information and thus be against the interests of investigation.

The guidance also gives some background on the procedure for BVI company incorporation and shareholding/directors rules for BVI companies, highlights that the details of shareholders of BVI company remain not publicly available, and cites legal provisions in BVI on “keeping shares registered in the name of nominee and not in the name of actual owner”.

U.N. reports on investments into offshore jurisdictions: BVI and CI are the leaders

Friday, May 6th, 2016

According to the recent U.N. report, last year companies invested US$72 billion into two British offshore jurisdictions – the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands. Investment flow into the BVI and the CI was corresponding to the historical averages, but the source of investments in the last years were developing countries.

In the years 2010-2014, Hong Kong, the US, China and Russia were the top four investment sources. The U.N. report said that companies moving money between jurisdictions to save on taxes are “a key concern for policy makers”. It noted that “special purpose entities” (SPEs) were typically subsidiaries that had little connection to the local economy but held assets or liabilities or raised capital.

Panama law company located in BVI issues statement

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Mossack Fonseca, the legal firm having an office in the British Virgin Islands, which suffered from the leak of its confidential financial services records, has issued a complete ‘Statement Regarding Recent Media Coverage’, trying to defend the reputation of the company and the countries involved in the international case, primarily the BVI as the country mentioned in most leaked data.

In the statement, the company mentioned the measures the BVI has taken to fight tax evasion: “Panama, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and the United States have agreed to terms for financial institutions in their jurisdictions to comply with the US Treasury’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This act ensures that American citizens with accounts in these territories declare and pay any taxes on income or investments earned in them that are due to the US Internal Revenue Service.”

The leaked documents show that Panama law firm incorporated more than 100,000 secret companies in the British Virgin Islands. There were also other companies registered in various tax havens. Mossack Fonseca stated it has limited ability to manage the use of these companies, and it regrets any misuse of its services and takes steps to prevent it. The company also said that allegations that it provides shareholders with structures specially designed to hide the identity of the real owners are ‘unsupported and false’.