EVEN wondered, British Virgin Islands (BVI), a country of 30,661 people only has more than 1 Million registered companies and even today Wealthy Business Owners and High Net-worth Individuals keep registering their off-shore companies in British Virgin Islands. There are approximately 30 registered companies per head of population in the British Virgin Islands, which is highest ratio in the world. The British Virgin Islands, or BVI in short, is a group of fifty islands in the Caribbean forming part of British Overseas Territory. It is often called as – land of sand, sea and secrecy.


The economy of British Virgin Islands is presently focused on financial services and tourism. More than 45% of off shore companies are incorporated in British Virgin Islands. Last year the Government of British Virgin Islands, presided over by a British Governor, collected $180 Million from company registration fee and license fee from off shore companies registered in BVI, which amount to more than 60% of total revenue of British Virgin Islands.

Investors from all over the world comes to British Virgin Islands for its tax neutrality, respected legal system, political and economic stability, effective regulatory framework and flexible and modern corporate regime. It provides a safe and neutral platform to pool and access capital, which is very well recognized by international investors, banks and financial institutions. In addition, British Virgin Islands companies provides maximum confidentiality and anonymity. Unlike many other countries, there are no disclosure requirements. The BVI government generally has no idea, who actually owns these tax – free companies and what business they do in the country. During the incorporation process, the only significant and material information provided to the Registering Authority is the name of Company’s agent, which is a local professional services provider firm, who do all the paperwork for incorporation and receives hefty fee for their services and annual maintenance fees. Even under some kind of legal obligation, the Agent has to disclose the names, he will be able to take the names of nominee directors and/or shareholders, based in Dubai, Nevis or somewhere else, where the other government is powerless.

The British Virgin Islands companies are most popular form of off-shore companies in the world and they are available for residents of any part of the world. The major benefits of registering a Company in British Virgin Islands are: –

  • It offers high level of privacy and confidentiality, as there is no requirement of publishing names and other details of Company’s Directors, shareholders and officers and beneficial owners. Further there is no reporting requirements for initial and ongoing change in Directors, shareholders and beneficial owners;
  • Only one Director and Shareholder is required. The Director and shareholder can be of any nationality and doesn’t have to be resident in British Virgin Islands necessarily;
  • There is no requirement of holding Annual General Meeting. The meeting of Board of Directors can be held anywhere in the world;
  • Directors and shareholders can be Individuals or natural person and/or corporate entity or legal person;
  • It has zero corporate tax;
  • It has zero capital gain tax;
  • It has zero tax on profits;
  • It has zero gift tax, sales tax, value added tax, inheritance tax;
  • No stamp duty except for land transactions in the British Virgin Islands itself;
  • It has no restriction on doing business anywhere in the world;
  • It has no restrictions and fee on transfer and repatriation of money outside British Virgin Islands;
  • There is no Dividend tax, interest and royalties to be paid;
  • It has double taxation avoidance agreements with Japan and Switzerland only, which means the Government of BVI is under no obligation to share the information about companies registered in their jurisdiction and about their directors and owners, their incomes, profits or other financial transactions with any other government in the world.
  • The British Virgin Islands has never been blacklisted by Financial Action Task Force and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which makes it one of the most attractive destination for registering off-shore units around the world.

Salient Features of British Virgin Islands Companies

Incorporation process for a British Virgin Islands company is very fast and simple. It only takes around 48 hours to register a Company in British Virgin Islands. It has minimum financial reporting requirements, which means founders can spend more time focusing on product development and business growth and less on corporate filings and paperwork. These companies can be operated from anywhere in the world, which makes these companies ideal for start-up companies. The constitutional documents of a BVI company is its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. The Memorandum and Articles of Association sets out the terms and conditions of operations and governance of the Company and its relationship with its Directors, its shareholders and any third parties. Like India, the affairs of a BVI companies are managed by its Board of Directors of Sole Director.

The BVI companies are not required to hold any certain number of shareholders or Directors meeting in a financial or calendar year. The meeting of Directors and shareholders can also be held by telephone of video conferencing. Every BVI companies are required to have a register of Directors and Members, though these registers are not available for general population for inspections, which ensures full confidentiality for founders and investors.

BVI Company Corporate Bank Accounts

After incorporation, Directors and Shareholders are not necessarily required to personally present in the BVI to open a Corporate Bank Account for the newly incorporated company. A BVI company is well recognized and respected in the financial service industry across the world. You can practically have a corporate bank account for a BVI company in any major financial centres of world including London, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and elsewhere.

The Next Steps

We help HNIs, wealthy business owners, start-ups in setting up their International Business Company in British Virgin Islands. Get in touch with us at prashant@prathamlegal.com. Or +91 9821008011 or visit us at 122, 1st Floor, Antriksh Bhawan, 22, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi –110001, India to incorporate your business in the British Virgin Islands. To know more about Pratham Legal, please visit www.prathamlegal.com

Post from Prashant Kumar, Partner, Pratham Legal.

Fellow Member of the ICSI, commerce and law graduate. Partner, Pratham Legal.

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