International Trade – Case studies

Using the British Virgin Islands for International Trade

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is considered to be one of the premier offshore jurisdictions in the world. Companies incorporated in the BVI have utilized the world over for international trade, property holding, personal service companies, and asset holding vehicles.

They are generally considered to be one of the most flexible corporate entities available. The jurisdiction itself benefits from a British-style legal system, common law legislation and has an excellent reputation for professionalism and credibility.

The most commonly utilized Company is the BC that is able to trade and bank globally whilst retaining a zero tax status. BCs have no requirement to file annual accounts with the authorities and pay a fixed Annual License Fee to the BVI Government of US$350 to US$1,100 (depending on share capital structure) per annum. However, TBA recommends that all Companies prepare annual accounts in the interests of good corporate governance.

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Benefits of BVI Business Company (BC)

Low start-up cost and low annual maintenance;

Excellent reputation and credibility;

Flexible Company legislation;

Minimal reporting requirements;

British style legal system;

Professional business environment;

World class financial institution based in the BVI;

Highly qualified, well-educated and multilingual labour force;

Democratic country with a free market economy;

Freedom of movement of foreign currency;

Political stability;

Efficient legal, accounting and banking services;

No capitalisation requirements for companies.

Operational International Trade BVI case study

Mr Hassan is resident in UAE, Dubai and is looking for a corporate vehicle with which to invest in the UK property market and invoice clients in various Middle Eastern countries for his consultancy work in the oil industry. Mr Hassan would also like to avail himself to the flexibility of a Common Law jurisdiction.

TBA incorporates a Company in the BVI for Mr Hassan and arranges banking facilities with a prominent world bank in London. Mr Hassan is appointed as the sole Director and Shareholder of the Company and arranges finance, with TBA’s support, through the bank for the purchase of a £1,000,000.00 property in Kensington.

The BVI Company is the registered owner of the property and registers itself under the Non Residents Landlord Scheme as the property is to be rented out to cover the finance payments. The BVI Company can also claim UK tax relief on the interest of the loan to set against any possible rental income profit.

Two years later, Mr Hassan decides that he would like to sell the property as the UK housing market has shown good growth. The House is sold for £1,500,000.00 and has made a Capital Gain of £500,000.00. No UK tax is levied on this gain as the property is owned by a BVI Company and the monies are able to be held with the bank in London for further use or reinvestment.

Throughout this time, Mr Hassan has also been providing consultancy services to major oil and petroleum companies in the Middle East. These Companies insist on being invoiced by a registered corporate entity. Mr Hassan is able to invoice them monthly through his BVI Company and have the fund remitted directly to his London based bank account without attracting taxation. Allied to this, Mr Hassan is also benefiting from the Limited Liability that a BVI Company affords him, so any threat of damaging litigation is greatly reduced. Mr Hassan is able to utilize his accumulated funds anywhere in the world as he is able to access his bank account over the internet and utilize a globally acceptable bank card on the account.
Mr Hassan has been able to realize the Capital Gain on the property and remove any possible tax burden on the UK rental income. He has also been able to utilize a world-renowned bank in London to finance the property purchase.

His consultancy services have been provided through an excellent corporate entity that is able to invoice globally and remit his fees to the London-based bank account. He has protected himself against any potential litigation and is able to utilize the BVI Company in many countries.

Potential issues for this BVI option

  • Perceived lack of credibility by countries;
  • Should not create a permanent establishment in another country as this could trigger a tax charge;
  • You should allow for the preparation of accounts in line with accepted corporate governance.

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