Company formation in BVI
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A BVI company: why it can still be useful
Offshore companies are still popular among the Russian entrepreneurs. BVI remains the most popular jurisdiction to incorporate an offshore company. The reasons are as following:
Company formation in BVI
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BVI as an offshore company
What for can the company be used?
1. The BVI companies are traditionally used for trade activities and for accumulation of the profit. The BVI companies are usually the last link in the chain of companies, which transfer dividends from high tax jurisdictions to tax heavens.
2. The jurisdiction is popular among yacht and ship owners.
If one wants to acquire a yacht or a ship he should register it somewhere. The registration is relatively cheap on BVI. A foreigner can not register a ship on its own name, but it can be done on behalf of the company registered on BVI. And besides, the ship registered on a company can be easily sold with this company. In this case there is no need for re-registration.
BVI is a part of Red Ensign group, which is a collaboration of ship registers. It has its own regulations and codes, so the ship registered on BVI receives high level of protection.
The more detailed information is here: http://www.bvi.gov.vg/departments/visr.
How to register a company
The procedure is simple. The most popular variant is a company limited by shares. The companies are registered by special agents who do all the paperwork.
The documents are supplied to BVI Financial Services Commission ( http://www.bvifsc.vg/registry-corporate-affairs).
The agent should identify the client and keep the information.
The agent is also obliged to present Annual Return. It is a document which contains the actual data about the company - its directors, registered address and so on.
The company should have an agent during the whole period when it operates.
What is new about the process is that since 2017 the all-country register of beneficial owners is formed. It is a search platform called BOSS (Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System). In respect of each beneficial owner, any registered agent is required to retain the following information: name; residential address; date of birth; and nationality.
The agents are obliged to keep the information about its clients updated. The register is not public. The authorities entitled to request the information are: the BVI Financial Investigation Agency; the BVI Financial Services Commission; the BVI International Tax Authority; and the BVI Attorney General's Chambers.
BVI is a tax heaven. For a company engaged in international business there are no taxes: no corporate tax, no withholding taxes on dividends, interest, royalties and etc.
Still a company has to pay annual fee in the amount of 450 USD.
Besides, there are some expenditures for the services of local agents (for receiving a Good Standing certificate, for submission of Annual Return and so on).
The company has no obligation to render financial reports, but is obliged to keep accounting records.
BVI and Russia
BVI has joined the automatic exchange of information. It means that its tax authorities collect the information from banks and other financial institutions about the foreigners' accounts and transfer it to Russian Federal Tax Service (or the tax authorities to other countries).
But as far as the accounts for BVI companies are usually open in the banks of another countries, the confidentiality of beneficial owners is preserved. BVI and Russia joined Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. This convention is about the help, that is to be given by administrative authorities (or the courts) of one country to the same of another country. As far as now the information about beneficial owners is accumulated in BOSS, there is a chance that Russian authorities can request and receive it.
EU and Great Britain fight for fair taxation, so BVI is under severe pressure. It is quite possible that in the nearest future this territory will not grant such preferences to the companies of international business.
Belize and Russia
Belize does not have a double tax treaty with the Russian Federation. It does not exchange tax information with Russia automatically. But BVI is likely to join the automatic exchange of tax information, as far it is going to be withdrawn from the list of non-cooperative countries. Federal Tax Service of Russia issued a draft on the new list of non-cooperative countries and territories. This document is not approved, but this is a matter of the nearest future. So if a company owned by a Russian has an account in Belizean bank (probably since 2018 or latter on), the information about it will be transferred to Federal Tax Service.
General partner of the company
Vita Liberta Limited
2012-2016: Bank of Asia, Russia, Vice President of international Business (responsible for the development of two departments: international correspondent banking department and international corporate clients’ department).
2016 - present - founder and General partner of Vita Limirta Limited company.
The information contained in this web page is intended as a guide only and every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information.
In no circumstances shall we be legally bound by any information contained in this document, and we shall accept no liability in respect of loss caused by reliance on such information.