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BVI Business Law

In 1984 the BVI revolutionised company legislation with the creation of the International Business Companies Act – a regime of corporate governance that was robust, yet flexible and efficient. It enabled international businesses and individuals to manage assets and investments both efficiently and cost effectively without imposing additional unnecessary layers of administration or taxation.

It was a model that would be replicated the world over. Since 1984 the main changes in BVI company legislation have been in response to evolving standards of corporate governance, compliance and transparency. In doing so, the BVI has remained compliant and "white listed" by OECD, the FATF and many other supranational organisations.

At the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, the BVI has passed further legislation to adopt prevailing standards of corporate governance and in particular, transparency. Central filing of the Register of Directors and local custodianship of beneficial ownership information will ensure that the BVI remains in the top league of International Financial Centres adhering to modern expectations and obligations.

To continue to compete in the global economy, all financial centres will need to replicate the stance taken by the BVI, as they did with the 1984 IBC Act.


These measures will ensure that the BVI remains a reputable, efficient, substantial and compliant international financial centre embracing the current core values of the modern global economic climate.

As the international tax planning and transparency agenda driven by the G20 and other supra-national bodies develops, it is now clear that offshore companies will perform a different role in the global economy in the future.

Uses of offshore companies to obtain "double non-taxation" of profits (i.e. no tax in the country of "source", as well as no taxation in the offshore centre where corporation tax is normally absent) are now a thing of the past as the industrial nations limit tax planning opportunities using offshore companies.

Future advantages of offshore companies will be qualities including political neutrality, administrative expertise or convenience, or legal advantages outside the tax arena. This is certainly a niche which the BVI will wish to exploit.

The changes to the company law and anti-money laundering regimes are significant and numerous. We have set them out briefly in our articles.

A more detailed summary can be found here.

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 John Swann

John Swann

Director, Business Development
T: +44 (0)117 918 1427

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