The Business Companies Act of the BVI 

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BVI financial record-keeping system

According to the Business Companies Act, a corporation is required to keep financial records and underlying papers that can demonstrate the firm’s transactions. These documents may include but are not limited to, agreements, invoices, bank statements, and other documents of a similar nature. These records have to be stored away for at least five years if they are to be considered valid. Any location is acceptable for the storage of the documents; however, if the records are not held at the registered office, the company is required to inform the Registered Agent of the address where the records are being kept.

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Annual Government/Renewal Fees of the BVI 

The number of shares that have been issued is used to calculate the number of annual license fees or franchise fees that must be paid. For a business that has a maximum share of 50,000, the annual fees that must be paid beginning in the second year and continuing on into subsequent years will be $450 each. The fees might reach a maximum of $1,200 if the registered capital of the firm is greater than 50,000 shares. A Registered Agent is obligated to make an annual payment to the Registrar in the amount that is specified.

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BVI data privacy law

The introduction of the Data Protection Act, of 2021 (often known as the DPA) in the British Virgin Islands (BVI)  safeguards personal data that is handled by public and private organizations. The data protection regimes are comparable to the principles that are applicable in the United Kingdom and the European Union under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The major purpose of the DPA is to ensure the security of data and to encourage transparency and accountability in the processing of personal data. The DPA is applicable to all existing limited partnerships and incorporations in the BVI (collectively referred to as “Private Body”). A person who processes data in the form of commercial transactions, either directly or on behalf of a private business, is likewise subject to this regulation. This includes data processed on behalf of the body formed in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) or elsewhere outside of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

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BVI taxation law

Due to the fact that the vast majority of taxes are not required to be paid in BVI, the tax system in this jurisdiction is far easier to navigate than the definitive form of taxation used in other jurisdictions. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) do not have a tax on corporations, capital gains, value-added, sales, gifts, or inheritances. A payroll BVI tax on employees working within the territory, stamp duty (which only applies to the transfer of land and the transfer of shares in companies that own land), import duty, land tax, and a number of other minor ancillary taxes and permit fees are some of the other taxes that are imposed in the jurisdiction. The absence of taxes has made the British Virgin Islands (BVI)  a well-known tax haven for overseas investors.

Regarding offshore jurisdiction, for tax purposes, the company must comply with international obligations or global standards. Lately, there have been agreements between BVI and other countries like UK  and US in order to implement regulations to improve international tax compliance. The Tax Authority Act, BVI Limited Partnership Act 2018 has established International Tax Authority that supervises BVI’s compliance with international obligations in cross-border transactions. Apart from the above, BVI has imposed EU Union withholding tax on interest payments in the jurisdiction of persons residing within the European Union.   

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British Virgin Island (BVI) is one of the ideal places to initiate business with its flexible organizational structure, significant tax benefit, and hassle-free company establishment. Apart from that, a person can operate and carry out their business anywhere in the world with minimal financial reporting. However, there are some challenges with regard to a work permit, trade license, and audit requirements. Even if there is no legal need for a legal audit, companies might require an audited statement to prove the company’s lawful establishment in BVI. Apart from that, the Labor Code passed in 2010 requires a work permit which can take more than two months. Additionally, a trade license required to perform business in BVI may take around six weeks for approval, wherein a corporation must register with the Social Security Office and the Inland Revenue Department before starting operations.

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Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

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Working closely with patent attorneys along with international law firms with significant experience with lawyers in Asia Pacific providing services to clients in US and Europe. Flagship services include international patent and trademark filingspatent services in India and global patent consulting services.

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