British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands ('BVI') is another well known offshore tax haven located 5 km north west of the United States Virgin Islands in the central Caribbean near Peurto Rico. The financial district is located at BVI's capital, Road Town, on the island of 'Tortola' which is the largest and most populated island with a population of 9,500. BVI consists of 60 islands and cays having a total land area of 150 sq. km with a total population of 23,000. BVI is a British dependent territory, not an independent country. The British Virgin Islands do currently maintain very close ties with the United Kingdom. The UK provides for the defense and handling of BVI's external affairs. The BVI government operates under a ministerial system under a constitution adopted in 1967. Similar to the Cayman Islands, the legal system is based upon Common Law, English Common Law with some local modifications and statutes.
The overall political and economic environment in BVI is that of being very stable enjoying a tax free jurisdiction status. English is the official language spoken, national currency is the US-dollar, crime and unemployment are both low. There are no exchange controls, non-residents are exempt from all domestic taxation. BVI levies no inheritance or sales tax, capital gains, capital transfer or estate tax. BVI withholding tax for residents is to a maximum of 15 percent for dividends, nominal rates for interest income and none for royalties. As of year 2006, income tax has been abolished, but a new payroll tax set at 14 percent has taken its place. There are no withholding taxes in the BVI. However, similar to other British dependent territories, the BVI has implemented the European Union's Savings Tax Directive effective since July 1, 2005. BVI has decided to applay a withholding tax (initially at 15 percent) to the returns on savings paid to nationals of EU Member countries. The Directive does not apply to corporate entities. For the most part, taxation is very low, if any at all as the government has been considering eliminating both personal and corporate tax on the Islands. It is this favorable low tax setting and ideology that has help to make the BVI economy one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean. Telecommunications services linking BVI to the rest of the world (telephone, telex, facsimile, Internet) are excellent. FEDX, DHL provide daily courier services, important for rush documents.
The British Virgin Islands is well known as a prudent place to incorporate an offshore company. In 1985, BVI began to offer offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate. The government passed Principal Corporate Legislation, The Companies Act 1985, International Business Companies Ordinance 1984 " International Business Company ('IBC')." BVI is a relatively inexpensive and ideal place to incorporate an IBC, this allows the owner total control over their assets with the advantage of privacy and privilege. These offshore companies can hold assets or execute transactions. Registering an IBC in the British Virgin Islands provides for secrecy as the identity of owner(s) is shielded. Further, an IBC does not pay any tax on its worldwide profits to the British Virgin Islands authorities. As of year 2004, there were over 550,000 companies in the offshore registry.
BVI has an established modern and sophisticated banking environment. For individual and corporate bank accounts, BVI provides banking & legal statutes to enhance bank secrecy. It is this advantage of BVI being a safe offshore banking system complimented with excellent infrastructure and sound legal system that BBz International Finance places the British Virgin Islands as a first class destination to diversify your wealth. BVI's banking framework of trusts & foundations, IBC, mutual funds creation, insurance services will help protect you from predatory legal suits, divorce, currency devaluations, etc. Although tourism is the largest industry, BVI is quickly becoming to be a major player as an international financial and banking centre on par with Jersey in the English Channel.