website website
Bank Accounts website
Flag Theory website

British Virgin Islands

Business Company (Company limited by shares)

The British Virgin Islands is one of the world’s largest offshore financial center and a leading center for offshore company incorporation.

The British Virgin Islands has a strong offshore regulatory environment. They have a distinct combination of oversight and a laissez-faire approach which makes it both easy to do business – yet reputable with banks and other jurisdictions around the world. The British Virgin Islands has reputable compliance and regulatory body, which makes it very simple and easy to bank with a BVI company.

Business companies in BVI are commonly used as asset protection vehicles, very often in combination with a trust as a holding. The directors of the BVI BC may protect the assets by transferring its assets to another company, trust, foundation, association or partnership; the directors can also merge or consolidate with any other company or can re-domicile the BC to another jurisdiction entirely.

The BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 states that all international business companies formed in BVI must establish and maintain a Register of Directors, whereby the initial director is appointed within 30 days of incorporation. Further statutory requirements are minimal and flexible.

There are no requirements to appoint a local director or a secretary, no minimum capitalization required, BVI BCs can re-quire and re-issue their own shares.

Shares can be issued for a consideration other than cash, with or without par value, and be denominated in any currency.

BVI is one of the few places in the world where bearer shares are still commonly used. Although they have undergone significant changes within the past decade (specifically the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, as amended) bearer shares still exist. The main requirement for bearer shares is that an “Authorized Custodian” maintain the following on file:

  • the full name of the beneficial owner of the shares; and
  • the full name(s) of any other person(s) having an interest in the share(s) or a statement to the effect that no other person has any interest in the share(s).

Corporate Maintenance of BC companies is simple:

  • Annual meetings are not required to be in the British Virgin Islands, in fact, there is no statutory requirement to hold annual general meetings.
  • No financial statements, annual return filing, no yearly audits
  • Only one shareholder is required.
  • You are permitted to run a BVI as a single directorate.
  • Corporate Books, minutes and records can be stored anywhere.

Incorporation can take place within one or two days. Shelf companies can be transferred even quicker as needed.

Details of shareholders and directors are not disclosed in a public registry.  Furthermore, nominee directors and shareholders are commonplace and can be used to further increase privacy at a slightly higher price, in order to ensure the utmost privacy and protection.

BVI International Business Companies are exempt local taxes and stamp duty, even if they are administered in BVI. Only registration and annual license/franchise fees will apply. Furthermore, unlike other offshore vehicles, the BVI Business Companies Act allows BCs to conduct business and own real estate in the British Virgin Islands.

In addition, BVI has a modern infrastructure and good telecom systems. They also speak English and use a legal system derived from English common law. The BVI Government is quite responsive to the needs of offshore companies and has fostered a pro-business environment. The legislation is flexible, with the goal being to entice legitimate offshore activities, and to keep out money-laundering and other criminal activity.

The British Virgin Islands is a compliant jurisdiction, which has never been blacklisted by the FATF and the OECD. It has started to implement OECD’s automatic exchange of information for tax purposes (AEoI) through the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in 2017.

The BVI is one of the most popular, oldest, and most reputable offshore jurisdiction, which makes it very simple and easy to bank with a BVI company. Particularly in Asia, a British Virgin Island company is a very popular legal entity. 

An adequate economic substance is required for BVI Business Companies conducting relevant activities pursuant to the recently enacted Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018.

Relevant activities include:

  • Banking Business
  • Insurance Business
  • Fund Management Business (any activity that requires an investment business license under the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010)
  • Finance and Leasing Business
  • Shipping Business
  • Pure equity holding business – which will be subject to reduced substance requirements
  • Intellectual property Business – those carrying out High-risk intellectual property business will be subject to enhanced substance requirements
  • Distribution and service center business – trading goods with or providing services to foreign affiliates

Economic substance will be mainly assessed according to the following criteria:

  • the relevant activity is directed and managed in the BVI;
  • adequate numbers of suitably qualified employees who are physically present in the BVI (whether or not employed by the relevant legal entity or by another entity and whether on temporary or long-term contracts);
  • adequate expenditures incurred in the BVI;
  • appropriate physical offices or premises in the BVI; and
  • where the relevant activity is the intellectual property business and requires the use of specific equipment, the equipment is located in the BVI.

All BVI Business Companies must provide information on an annual basis to enable the International Tax Authority in the BVI to assess whether a business is carrying out relevant activities and, if so, whether it is meeting the economic substance requirements.

Relevant BVI business companies incorporated on or before December 31, 2018, will have until June 30, 2019, to meet substance requirements.

Automatic exchange of information will be made to relevant foreign competent authorities if it is found that an entity is not complying with the economic substance requirements or conducts certain IP business or claims to be tax resident in a jurisdiction outside the BVI.

Failure to comply with substance requirements may lead to a minimum penalty of USD 5,000 and to a maximum penalty of USD 50,000 (High-risk IP) or USD 20,000 (other businesses).

Additional penalties may be applied if a company continues to fail substance requirements from a minimum amount of USD 10,000 to a maximum amount of USD 400,000 (High-risk IP business) or USD 200,000 (other businesses)

BVI BC companies are commonly used vehicles for offshore savings and investments, international corporate banking, forex, and stock trading, international trade, professional services, as well as a holding company, ship and aircraft registration, captive Insurance and estate planning.


Corporate income tax – The British Virgin Islands does not levy corporate tax, including no taxes on capital gains and investment income. All dividends, compensations, rents, and royalties are also exempted from BVI taxes.

No withholding tax is levied on dividend, interest and royalty payments to non-residents.

Although there is no tax on interest the BVI has implemented the EU savings directive which means that agents making interest payments to residents of an EU member state will automatically exchange information with the relevant member states tax authority with respect to the identity of the beneficial owner and the payment.

Other taxes – BVI does not levy direct personal taxes. Personal income, as well as, capital gains, net wealth and inheritances are not subject to taxation.

There is a stamp duty is imposed on the transfer of land in the British Virgin Islands. It is imposed on the contract value or the market value and ranges from 4% to 12%.

Land tax is levied annually at USD 50 for a half acre or less and USD 150 between half an acre and one acre. Each additional acre or part of an acre is taxed at USD 50.

  • Offshore Income Tax Exemption
  • Offshore capital gains tax exemption
  • Offshore dividends tax exemption
  • CFC Rules
  • Thin Capitalisation Rules
  • Patent Box
  • Tax Incentives & Credits
  • Property Tax
  • Wealth tax
  • Estate inheritance tax
  • Transfer tax
  • Capital duties
  • 0% Offshore Income Tax Rate
  • 0% Corporate Tax Rate
  • 0% Capital Gains Tax Rate
  • 0% Dividends Received
  • 0% Dividends Withholding Tax Rate
  • 0% Interests Withholding Tax Rate
  • 0% Royalties Withholding Tax Rate
  • 0 Losses carryback (years)
  • 0 Losses carryforward (years)
  • 0% Personal Income Tax Rate
  • 0 Tax Treaties

Country details

British Virgin Islands
Road Town
North America
e n - V G

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially the Virgin Islands, are a British overseas territory located on the Francis Drake Channel, east of Puerto Rico, in waters of the Caribbean Sea. The islands are part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands, the other islands being part of the United States Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands belonging to Puerto Rico.

The archipelago is made up of about forty islands, of which eleven are inhabited. The largest are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. Its population is 27 800 inhabitants, living 23 000 on the island of Tortola, where it is located Road Town, the capital.

The executive power of the British Virgin Islands is shared between the monarch of the United Kingdom who is represented by a governor. This governor is appointed directly by the Queen on the advice of the British Government. Defense and foreign affairs are under the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

The BVI is one of the most prosperous economies among the Caribbean states, with one of the highest GDP per capita worldwide. Political stable, with modern infrastructures and a pro-business environment. Its main sectors are offshore financial services and tourism. Due to its close relationship with the US Virgin Islands, the US Dollar is the official currency.

The British Virgin Islands is one of the world's largest offshore financial centers and a world's leading center for company incorporation. The sector accounts on over half of the jurisdiction’s GDP and incorporation fees account for more than half of Government revenue.

The other significant economic sector is tourism, which approximately contributes to nearly half of the national income and employs a great part of its population.

The islands are a popular destination for its numerous white sandy beaches, the Baths of the Virgin Gorda, scuba diving on coral reefs near Anegada, the well-known bars on the Jost Van Dyke, or chartered yachts for exploring the less accessible islands.


We can help you incorporate a Business Company (Company limited by shares) in British Virgin Islands for $2,350.

Click here to incorporate your British Virgin Islands BC.

Incorporate now


Although we use our best efforts to keep the information of this site accurate and up-to-date, we make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this website. We disclaim any warranties expressed or implied, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. We shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. The contents of this website are just for illustrative purposes and are NOT to be considered as a legal opinion or tax advice and should not be relied upon as such. Far Horizon Capital Inc., and any associated company, is not engaged in the practice of law or tax. If you wish to receive a legal opinion or tax advice on the matter(s) in this website please contact our offices and we will refer you to an appropriate legal practitioner. Use of our websites,,,, is subject to our terms and conditions.

Flag Theory Weekly Letter

Subscribe to receive Internationalization, Business-driven Structuring Intelligence directly to your inbox. You will also get the Flag Theory Master Course, a 1-month course with valuable and actionable information that you must consider when going global.

Your privacy is important for us and we will keep your information secure. View our privacy policy

View past newsletters


In order to better serve you, we ask that you please fill out the following form as accurately as you can and provide as many details as possible. Thank you.

Your privacy is important for us and we will keep your information secure. View our privacy policy