The British Virgin Islands are a preferred jurisdiction for offshore company formation, given the fact that the incorporation process is an easy one and that there are no stringent accounting and reporting requirements for companies. The services provided by a team of accountants in BVI concern the observance of the regulatory obligations as well as other financial services, as needed or requested.
Business owners are asked to observe a number of minimum reporting requirements and they can prepare the annual accounts and records using a set of standards, as they see fit (for example, the International Financial Reporting Standards, IFRS). Working with accountants in BVI simplifies the process and allows foreign investors to rest assured that an experienced team will observe the key reporting dates. If you wish to open a company in BVI, you may want to request the services of an accountant.
What are the main regulatory obligations in BVI?
Companies in the British Virgin Islands are not subject to complex annual accounting and reporting requirements, as may be the case in other jurisdictions (depending on the type of size of the company). However, certain types of regulated entities, for example banks, investment or insurance businesses, are subject to requirements that have to do with annual auditing (in some cases) and record keeping.
Some examples of the documents that are kept for accounting and reporting purposes are listed below by our team of accountants in BVI:
- Annual return: this applies in case of funds in the BVI and it includes summary financial information on the reporting periods as well as information on the registered agent; our team can give you more details;
- Audit: this is a requirement in plane only for selected entities, such as banks and other companies that offer insurance services;
- Records: the records that are to be kept only need to indicate/explain the financial transactions of the company;
- Register of directors: legal entities in BVI file a register of their directors upon incorporation; when a change occurs (the appointment of a new director or a resignation), the relevant amendments need to be made;
- Others: the company is also expected to keep the minutes of the meetings and the resolutions passed by the directors.
The company’s records are to be stored for a minimum period of five years, however, the law does not impose a location where these records should be kept, only that, in the situation in which they are not stored with the registered agent, the agent must then be informed of their location at all times.
Our team can give you more details on the documents that need to be kept by your company, depending on its type and the industry in which it activates.
We can also help you during the preliminary incorporation steps, when you open a bank account.
Additional information about audit requirements in BVI
The Securities and Investment Business Act of 2010, more simply referred to as SIBA, is the one that includes the regulations applicable to companies that are required to prepare the financial statements and have them audited. It should be noted that these to not apply to all companies in the jurisdiction.
Companies that hold an investment business license, recognized private funds or registered public funds are required to prepare the financial statements each year as well as appoint an auditor. These regulated entities submit the financial statements to the BVI Financial Services Commission within no more than 6 months following the end of the financial year.
Investors in the British Virgin Islands should know that certain exemptions can apply from submitting the annual audited financial statements. In some cases, this can apply to mutual and private investment funds. The exemption is granted by the Financial Services Commission following a special application that is made in writing.
Our team can guide you throughout this application. The exemption is granted under the Miscellaneous Exemptions Regulations in relation to a public fund, a private or professional fund or incubator, or for private investment funds. Applications are taken into account if they are submitted to the Financial Services Commission, include the attached mandatory documents and the applicant has also paid the relevant fee for this process.
The timeframe for submitting the application for the exemption is within:
- – 6 months after the end of the relevant financial year in case of public funds that have never commenced business, as well as for private funds, professional funds, private investment funds, incubator and approved funds (in all circumstances);
- – 3 months after the end of the relevant financial year in case of public funds that have engaged in business activities within the concerned financial year.
Part of the documents that are submitted when applying for an exemption form the requirement to submit the audited financial statements (in case of funds) are the motivation for the application, the fund’s unaudited financial statements for the relevant financial year (when the fund has had business in the said year – in copy), proof of good regulatory standing, evidence that the fund investors are aware of the decision to seek the exemption, other details (total assets, total number of investors, others).
Exemptions are also in place in case of funds who wish to be excused from the requirement to appoint an auditor. This is possible only in case of private and professional funds. The application for exemption is also submitted in written form with the Commission and for this to be possible, the fund must not have commenced business.
Working with our team of accountants is recommended if you wish to know more about particular issues. You can reach out to us if you have questions about the audited financial statements for regulated companies, or if you wish to apply for an exemption.
Our team can also help you with information on how to apply for an extension of time for submitting the financial statements. This is also applicable in case of mutual and private investment funds that are in need of additional time to prepare the annual financial statements and submit these documents. Investors who are interested in applying for this option should do so within 6 months of the end of the relevant financial year. The extension can be granted when the fund auditor needs more time to complete the annual audit, as well as when the annual audit is delayed due to inconsistencies in the audits for the previous years or in other cases such as a change in the fund’s auditor during the course of the financial year, which results in a delay.
We invite you to watch a short video about accounting in BVI:
Is it mandatory to work with accountants in BVI?
Offshore companies in BVI can benefit from choosing to work with a local professional. The company’s owner(s) will rest assured that the company will maintain proper accounts and that the annual maintenance services will be provided by a team that is fully aware of the laws in force as well as any applicable accounting and reporting changes. While the requirements to file financial information as well as information about the directors is minimal, it is advisable to choose local services as this will mean that the company will dead with these submissions in a timely manner.
Accountants in BVI are non-regulated entities according to the Financial Services Commission. However, when doing business here, investors will wish to choose the services provided by a certified public accountant with proper licensing.
You can choose to start working with our specialists after you finish the process to relocate to BVI.
How can your team help me?
Our team can help you with complete accounting, incorporation and financial services in BVI. The main reasons for setting up an offshore company in BVI include the low costs for incorporation as well as the fast-track procedure to open a new offshore company. The jurisdiction is a tax-neutral one, meaning that there is no corporate income tax applicable on the income derived by the business during the course of its offshore activities.
Working with our accountants in BVI will help you better understand the local regulatory requirements as well as comply with the rules in force.
Our team provides solutions for all types of companies in BVI, as well as regulated ones who are subject to the special reporting requirements set forth by the Financial Services Commission. We can assist with:
- – Accounting for branches in BVI as well as subsidiaries of international companies;
- – International insurance companies;
- – Investment funds, alternative investment funds, special purpose vehicles.
Our services include not only accounting and regulatory assistance and advice, we also help our clients with statutory and regulatory audits, technical accounting advice, risk assurance and consulting, among others.
Our services focus on your business goals, not only on the financial processes and the regulatory issues that concern regulated companies in BVI.
As per the Q1 2021 statistical bulletin released by the Financial Services Commission, the number of companies in the British Virgin Islands was the following:
- – there was a 46.58% increase in the number of incorporations in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020;
- – there was a 26.59% increase in then number of incorporations in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020;
- – as per the released data, the number of quarterly incorporations in Q1 2021 was 7.732.
Contact us if you need more information on the regulatory obligations. Our accountants in BVI can help answer any questions and provide the services you are looking for.
We can also help you with different types of services, such as those needed if you move to BVI.