BVI Incorporation
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BVI Incorporation
Author:xcd   Article source: xcdacc.cn  Hits:1096  Add time:2009-7-13  

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are the group of islands located about sixty miles due east of Puerto Rico. The principal islands are Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Road Town is the capital city and financial center of the BVI, located on the island of Tortola, which is connected by a toll bridge to Beef Island and where the international airport is situated. The islands of the BVI were christened by Christopher Columbus when sighted in 1493 on his second expedition to the New World as "Las Once Mil Virgines", in honour of St. Ursula and her maidens who sacrificed their lives for God in 4th Century Cologne. The Crest of St. Ursula is the national symbol of the BVI. The BVI is politically stable; under the 1967 constitution, the Governor represents the Queen and heads an Executive Council. There is 13-member elected Legislative Council.

As a British Overseas Territory with a long history of political stability, the BVI offers all the security traditionally associated with the British flag. The territory is responsible for its own internal self-government, and is governed by a democratically elected Legislative and Executive Council. Democratic elections are held at least once every four years. BVI Law is based on the British Legal System and English Common Law. The court system is made up of a Magistrates Court, a High Court and a Circuit Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court with final appeal to the Privy Council in England. International banking, commercial and financial services are available in Road Town, and communication facilities in the BVI are first rate.

The only significant tax in the BVI is income tax, which applies to the relatively few local companies and to individuals; there are customs duties and some real estate taxes. The population of 19,000 is of mixed European and Caribbean origin. There is minor tension between the settled population and recently arrived Caribbean economic migrants. The economy is highly dependent on tourism, with financial services also important. There is no pressure for constitutional change. The local currency is the US Dollar, and there are no exchange controls.

The BVI introduced its outstandingly successful International Business Company (IBC) in 1984; there are now more than 400,000 IBCs, with Hong Kong and Latin America the main sources of clients. The BVI has significant mutual fund and captive insurance sectors. Banking activity is, by design, quite minor. The BVI has tried hard to exclude money laundering, mostly with success, and has a relatively good reputation. Offshore business uses the International Business Company, the Limited Partnership and the Trust; all are exempt from taxation. In conclusion, the BVI Government has a clear understanding of the value and importance of the Financial Services Sector to the local economy. It is uncommon that any government devotes so much of its planning and resources to make the private sector so globally competitive. Government licence fees and charges by the BVI Companies Registry have remained unchanged and as such are extremely reasonable in contrast with other offshore jurisdictions. It is evident from observing the evolution of BVI law, and its resultant economic activity, that emerging worldwide markets will continue to assist this trend, making the British Virgin Islands a key international commercial and financial business center in the 21st Century.

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