Additional amendments with specifications about how companies in the British Virgin Islands should ‘file’ their registers of directors with the BVI Registry of Corporate Affairs has been made to the BVI Business Companies Act.
Premier Andrew Fahie introduced the amendments to the bill in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, December 17.
“Specifically, the bill establishes a timeframe in which a BVI business company that has continued into the Virgin Islands must file its initial register of directors. The bill also makes provisions requiring the filing of a register of directors as a precondition for a BVI business company being restored to the register of companies,” the Premier stated.
He added, “In addition, the bill makes express provisions that allow the register to issue certificates of good standing to a BVI business company, that has not filed its register of directors, where the register of directors is not yet due to be filed under the act.”
Necessary move to prevent being blacklisted
Premier Fahie also said the bill was as a necessary move to further prevent the BVI from being blacklisted as a non-compliant tax haven jurisdiction by the international community.
He said: “The truth of the matter is that the big boys in these industries don’t want us in it and the goalpost keeps shifting. Most of what’s here are what we found out lately so it’s difficult for me to even come to some of my colleagues and tell them I want you to be involved before time.”
Requirements strangling local business owners
Meanwhile, Third District Representative Julian Fraser, who was among several of Opposition members who voted in favour of the bill said he believes the constant requirements by the international community are driving local people out of business.
“Local companies should not have to be subjected to the rigours and the scrutiny that foreign companies, multinationals, who can afford to establish a company for a single transaction and then liquidate. And here we are asking our local companies to meet the requirement of the international community,” Fraser stated.
He further said, “It is a legitimate request by the international community to have these foreign companies scrutinise. But the little store on Main Street who is a corporation needs to have a registered agent, which isn’t free, it’s about $400 per year, and now we come with this Economic Substance requirement, which a local company is subjected to the same registered agent for another $500 per year.”
The amended Act has replaced its predecessor, the BVI Business Companies Act 2004.
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