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Gov’t hires second attorney to help keep BVI off EU blacklist

Thousands of offshore, financial services companies are registered in the BVI. (Photo by Andre ‘Shadow’ Dawson)

Government has hired a second attorney from the United Kingdom to draft legislation intended to keep the BVI off the European Union’s (EU) blacklist of tax haven jurisdictions.

Cabinet approved for junior counsel Jack Rivett to assist the previously hired Queen’s Counsel, Michael Furness, in drafting the laws.

According to a Cabinet’s statement on its October 3 meeting, the government will not be incurring any additional expenses for the second attorney.

Government initially retained the first attorney, Furness, at a cost of up to $400,000 but his legal fees have been reduced to $300,000.

Junior counsel Rivett will now work in conjunction with Furness at a cost not exceeding $100,000, government said.

Furness and Rivette were specifically hired to draft local laws in an area of financial services known as ‘economic substance’, within which the EU says the BVI is deficient.

The EU wants the BVI to show it has economic substance by ensuring the taxes it collects within the financial services sector were generated through real economic activity in the territory. In other words, proof that an offshore company is paying taxes in the BVI because it largely does its work and earns its profits in/from the BVI.

The BVI government has been instructed to implement the requisite legislation that supports economic substance by the end of December 2018.

The BVI will be added to the EU’s dreaded ‘blacklist’ and subjected to diplomatic sanctions if it does not have these laws in place by the mandated time.

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7 Comments

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  1. Cut and paste says:

    Active/passive with deminimus and exemptions? I hope we come up with something new rather than just copy legislation fother territories!

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  2. Retired says:

    Economic substance??? BVI offshore companies doing work, earning profits and paying taxes in the BVI???

    It appears to me that BVI offshore companies only do 2 types of ‘work’ regularly in the BVI:

    1)Print loads of notices and legal documents in the BVI newspapers.

    2)Spend lots of time in the Commercial Court suing each other or the Registrar of Companies.

    Is that sufficient ‘economic substance’ to avoid the grey & black lists?

    Like 6
    Dislike 5
  3. Want2Kno says:

    People were upset that ONE lawyer was getting $400,000 and now his friend was hired for $100,000….isn’t it the same $400,000 being spend but repackaged?

    • Jacperlance says:

      @want to know, I totally agreed with you. I was saying the same thing. Sometime in the week, listening to the news it was report the cabinet retains Michael Furness at a reduced rate of $300,000 then to my dismay, I heard a junior counsel was hired to assist him with a salary of not more than $100,000. It work out to the same $400.000. As I often said, this NDP administration look upon us as fools.

      • Oh says:

        Experienced lawyers retained for $400K to assist us with saving our $200mil annual revenue stream and its a problem. Hmmm! I have lost hope for the people of these islands. Go right ahead and vote out the NDP, go right ahead! This movie has been played before and it didn’t end well.

  4. rastarite says:

    From my understanding there is no corporation/company tax in the BVI. There are annual fees… Financial business is wide ranging and diverse including company incorporation, captive insurance,trust companies,investment in various interest producing instruments etc etc.

  5. Wow says:

    We cant do a d@mn thing for ourselves. Every time something has to be done they bring in the consultants and pay them a ton!

    Why didn’t this specialist hire a local lawyer as his junior and pay him the $100 gran. Then we would get the training and the money. But No. We too stupid to realise that all the money still going in the same pot.

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