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BVI Issues Action Plan On Transparency

by Mike Godfrey,, New York

12 July 2013

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) on July 05, 2013 issued an action plan to prevent the misuse of legal persons and legal arrangements through the use of Tax Information Exchange Agreements, alongside other measures.

The plan states that BVI recognizes and supports the need for transparency in relation to the establishment of corporate entities, including legal arrangements, and is committed to supporting initiatives that seek to establish international standards in that respect.

It goes on to note a number of measures which the British Virgin Islands has undertaken to promote transparency. Some of those measures are as follows:

  • To date, the British Virgin Islands has concluded 24 Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) and is in the process of negotiation with other countries for more TIEAs;
  • In order to ensure better coordination and response to tax information exchange matters, the British Virgin Islands established the International Tax Authority (ITA) within the Ministry of Finance with the primary responsibility of facilitating assistance to foreign tax and law enforcement authorities in tax and tax-related matters;
  • The British Virgin Islands was the first jurisdiction to develop and implement a paper on immobilizing bearer shares in order to remove the anonymity associated with bearer share companies and this regime is well-established and enforced under the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004;
  • The British Virgin Islands subscribes and adheres to the Statement of Best Practice for Trust and Company Service Providers issued by the then Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors (now transformed into the Group of International Finance Center Supervisors) and accordingly licenses and supervises to high standards all trust and company service providers in the Territory;
  • All licensed trust and company service providers are supervised for their anti-money laundering and terrorist financing obligations, including the availability of beneficial ownership information, and periodic inspections are carried out in respect of the licensees to establish compliance and, where shortcomings are identified, appropriate enforcement action is taken;
  • The British Virgin Islands, in consonance with its long-standing policy of not encouraging or welcoming those who choose to break laws applicable to them, has committed to and is actively engaged in negotiations with the US Treasury in finalizing an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) to facilitate the exchange of tax information; the British Virgin Islands is similarly engaged with Her Majesty’s Treasury and has committed to the G5 Multilateral Pilot Project on the automatic exchange of tax information.
TAGS: compliance | Finance | Offshore | tax | law | Virgin Islands | enforcement | standards | British Virgin Islands

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