The International Business Companies (IBC) Act of the British Virgin Islands was first passed in 1984. The Act itself was amended on several different occasions and subsequently was replaced with the BVI Business Company Act of 2004. The BVI Company came into full effect on January 2005. Although...

BVI IBC

The International Business Companies (IBC) Act of the British Virgin Islands was first passed in 1984. The Act itself was amended on several different occasions and subsequently was replaced with the BVI Business Company Act of 2004. The BVI Company came into full effect on January 2005. Although the International Business Company of BVI cease to exist it was very popular and helped make the British Virgin Islands the very important and popular offshore jurisdiction it is today. The International Business Company has been replaced by the BVI Company, the Act which removed any differences which existed between onshore and offshore companies.

International asset protection is becoming a vital part of business. Dual nationality programs in Nevis allow investors to purchase real estate or to contribute to the Sugar Investment Diversification Fund. Approved agents are licensed by the authorities for helping interested investors and families. Second passports are helpful in many ways, some of which include assuring personal safety, freer travel with less visa restrictions.

The British Virgin Islands International Business Company was not permitted to carry on business with or on behalf of residents of the British Virgin Islands. The International Business Companies were restricted from owning interest in real estate in the British Virgin Island but special provisions were made which permitted International Business Companies to lease property which could be used as an office space. An International Business Company registered in the British Virgin Island was not allowed to business transactions it was not licensed to carry out; this included banking business and services, insurance agent or broker. On the other hand according to the Act IBC’s were allowed to make deposits with banks. The services of professionals such as lawyers, accountants, barristers, administrative companies and bookkeepers could be used.

International Business Companies were registered with the Registrar of Companies of the British Virgin Islands. The registration process involved the submission of Memorandum and Articles of Association. This documents had to be complete with information such as; the name of the company, the name and address of the registered agent, the objectives of the company, the authorized share capital of the company, the currency in which the shares will be issued and the type of shares to be issued. The documents contained the by-laws of the companies which governed the shares, meetings and other pertinent matters of the companies. The International Business Company Act only allowed for the registration of Companies limited by shares. The Companies were allowed to register bearer shares, registered shares, voting shares, common shares and limited shares among other categories of shares. The Memorandum and Articles of Association when registered were considered legal documents which obliged the members to the company. Upon incorporation the International Business Company was given a Certificate of Incorporation.

The companies registered under the International Business companies Act were required to have the following words or the corresponding abbreviation as part of its name: Limited, Corporation, Incorporation, Societe Anonyme, and Sociedad Anonima. Company’s names should not have had the following words in their names: bank, chamber of commerce, trust company, cooperative Imperial, royal or assurance. The names of International Business companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands were not authorized to suggest any affiliation to the royal family of the United Kingdom, the Government of Great Britain or connections with any local authority of the British Virgin Island or Great Britain.

As an offshore jurisdiction or tax haven the laws of the British Virgin Islands allowed International Business Companies who gained all incomes, dividends, capital, royalties or interest outside of British Virgin Island Territory or with non- residents of the BVI to go tax free. These companies paid no capitals gains tax, inheritance tax, corporate, tax, income tax or any taxes on wealth and assets accumulated outside of the jurisdiction. Stamp duty on transfer of shares was also nonexistent for International Business Companies.

The BVI IBC registration process offered clients of knowing that personal information concerning the true owners of the companies was not filed with the Registrar of Companies. These companies were not obligated to keep financial records and if this was done they could have been kept anywhere in the world. Shareholders meetings could also be kept anywhere in the world.

The British Virgin Island has moved away from registering International Business Companies but this did not diminish its stature as an offshore jurisdiction. The new act has many advantages including the incorporation of different types of companies.

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