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BVI Legislative Changes

BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2015

The BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2015 (the “Amending Act”) was recently gazetted in the Official Gazette of the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) and introduces amendments to the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 (the “Act”) to provide further flexibility and certainty to transactions worldwide involving BVI companies anddemonstrates the BVI Government’s commitment to ensure the BVI remains at the forefront of international compliance and anti money laundering regulations.

Many of the provisions of the Amending Act clarify and enhance various provisions of the Act, making it clearer for practitioners, whereas some of the changes were required in order for the BVI to comply with international standards, such as those promoted by FATF.  These changes include a requirement that companies file their registers of directors with the BVI Registrar of Corporate Affairs.

The majority of the provisions took effect on 15 January 2016 and the provisions relating to the filing of Registers of Directors will take effect from 1 April 2016.

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Amendments to the BVI Eligible Introducer Regime

The BVI has recently amended its anti-money laundering regime with certain key changes to the existing Eligible Introducer Regime. The move can be seen in part as response to pressure from the UK Government and other authorities for international financial centres, and especially the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, to establish a central register of beneficial owners, and in part a welcome reform, bringing the BVI in line with international standards on transparency and further enhancing the BVI’s reputation and competitive standing as a leading international finance centre.

Effective from 1 January 2016, for all new companies incorporated in the BVI, the local registered agent will have to hold the following information in respect of the beneficial owners:

• Full name 

• Date of birth 

• Residential address

• Nationality  

For companies already incorporated in the BVI there is a twelve month transitional/grace period open to the registered agents to collect such information.

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Amendments to the Mutual Legal Assistance Act and the Introduction of CRS in BVI

On 1 January 2016, legislation came into force amending the BVI Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003. This legislation implements in the BVI the Organisation for Economic Co-Operating and Development (“OECD”) Common Reporting Standard for the exchange of tax information (“CRS”). BVI Financial Institutions (“FIs”) are now required to report to the BVI International Tax Authority (the “ITA”) certain information on the holders of “Reportable Accounts” which are tax-resident in “Reportable Jurisdictions”.

The information that is reported to the ITA will then be passed on to the partnering tax authorities in the home jurisdiction of the account holders where that home jurisdiction is contained in the list of participating jurisdictions.

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Key contacts
José Santos
Partner and Global Head of Corporate
British Virgin Islands
DD: +1 284 852 1899
Catherine Ross
Partner and Global Head of Funds

DD: + 44 (0) 207 0143 224
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