BVI News

Goal post shift: Emergency amendment to new economic substance Act disrupts HOA

A number of regulations governing the procedures of the House of Assembly were yesterday suspended so legislators could make unscheduled amendments to the Economic Substance Companies and Limited Partnership (Amendment) Act of 2018 — a law only implemented less than a month ago.

The emergency amendments were brought and passed to continue the BVI’s campaign to keep off the European Union’s blacklist of ‘tax haven’ jurisdictions.

In explaining why there came to be amendments only weeks after the initial law was passed, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said: “The EU — which is the author of the whole substance argument — was changing and introducing new requirements even up until late in the game.”

Premier Smith also said there were some typographical errors in the initial law. These errors were made because of the ‘haste’ in which legislators had passed the law in the first place, Dr Smith said.

No room for legal loopholes

The premier further said there were changes made to the phraseology in sections of the legislation so as to avoid any legal loopholes. These phraseological changes include adding certain words to the legislation.

“The addition of these words makes clear that the legislation is satisfying the fundamental requirements … it is simply clarifying what has been intended.”

The intended purpose of the law, as mandated by the EU, is for financial services companies registered in the BVI to set up physical, appropriately-staffed office spaces in the territory, if they are to continue doing business with/through the BVI.

BOSSs Act also amended

Since financial services companies registered in the BVI before January 1 have until June 30 to start complying with the economic substance requirements, one key amendment to the legislation provides for it (the law) to work in conjunction with the territory’s Beneficial Ownership Secure Search system (BOSSs) Act. Amendments, therefore, also had to be made to this BOSSs Act in Tuesday’s sitting of the House.

For both laws to work hand-in-hand, amendments to the BOSSs Act will not be made come into effect until June 30 — the required deadline for companies to start showing compliance.

Under the BOSSs Act, companies are required to report who is the beneficial owner (the ultimate owner) of that company.

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5 Comments

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  1. Mick says:

    This is how it works when rich and powerful nations can wantonly throw their weight around on smaller territories. No matter how impractical or unfeasible their demands are, within the local context. Too bad we do not have anybody to properly represent our interests on the big stage, and we just have to ask “how high?” when they say jump!

    Like 8
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  2. Hmmm says:

    When it rains it pours…

  3. RealPol says:

    The UK , the Mother country of BVI, and a member of EU, albeit for a few more days, so what is the UK doing to help the navigate through the shoals? Well, the UK is part of club so are they going along and h**l with the BVI. On the other hand, the UK has its own Brexit issues. Further, if rush something, it will come out bad; want it bad, you get it back.

    • Mick says:

      The UK does not have any swagger within the EU right now. Just look at the hell they are catching as they try to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU. Trump might well be the only person on the planet who is powerful enough to stand up to the EU right now. Nobody else.

  4. Typos??? says:

    We have people debating this who cant read properly!

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