1. ITA access to economic substance information

The Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Access and Disclosure) Regulations, 2020 were gazetted on 15 October 2020. These Regulations permit the International Tax Authority (ITA) to access economic substance information on the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search (BOSS) system for the purposes of:

  • enforcing and monitoring obligations placed on corporate and legal entities by the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018; and
  • disclosing information held on registered agent databases to the persons (ie, relevant overseas competent authorities), in the circumstances and on the terms set out in the economic substance requirements under Schedule 4 of the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act, 2017, including where an entity is in breach of the applicable economic substance requirements and where an entity claims to be tax resident outside the BVI.
  1. BOSS annual fees suspended for small corporate service providers

On 19 October 2020, BVI Finance issued a notice regarding the agreement of the Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Andrew A Fahie, to the temporary suspension of the 2020 annual fees payable under the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (Fees) Regulations, 2019. The suspension related to the 2020 annual fees payable by small corporate service providers with no more than 1,250 registered companies.

  1. GIFCS report on compliance with its standard on the regulation of TCSP's in the BVI

In November 2019, the BVI Financial Services Commission (FSC) was assessed by the Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors (GIFCS) against its Standard on the Regulation of Trust and Corporate Service Provides (TCSPs).

The BVI is the third jurisdiction to be assessed under the Standard, which is a benchmark for establishing regulatory frameworks and supervisory practices for the robust oversight of trust and corporate service providers. The BVI received the top two available ratings in 70% of the areas assessed. The FSC is now engaged in diligently addressing areas for improvement identified in the report.

  1. BVI financial account reporting system (BVIFARs) update

On 29 December 2020, the ITA issued a notice informing all reporting entities and constituent entities that the version 1.0 schema will only be available on the BVIFARs for reporting obligations until 13 January 2021. Any reporting after that date must be submitted in accordance with the version 2.0 schema. BVIFARs will undergo configuration for the version 2.0 schema from 16 January to 5 February 2021.

  1. Temporary extension of company name reservations

The Registry of Corporate Affairs (the Registry) has provided a temporary extension to facilitate new company incorporations expected in January. All company names reserved at the Registry during the period of 21 December 2020 to 22 January 2021 will remain reserved until 12 February 2021.

  1. Financial Services Sector Money Laundering Risk Assessment 2020

The FSC has announced the publication of the Virgin Islands Financial Services Sector Money Laundering Risk Assessment 2020. The Assessment identifies and analyses the BVI's current money laundering risks within the banking, financing, money services, insurance, investment, insolvency and trust and company services provider sectors. The FSC has taken steps to address any issues identified within the report.

Licensed entities are encouraged to use the information in the report when carrying out their own risk assessments. The report can be found in the dedicated AML section of the FSC's website.

  1. Annual fees due

The FSC has published a reminder of the following deadlines

  • 31 January 2021:
    • annual licence fees due - banks, trust companies, company management licensees, financing and money services business licensees and authorised custodians.
    • prudential returns due - banks, trust companies, company management licensees, money services business licensees.
    • large exposure reports due – banks.
  • 28 February 2021:
    • annual licence fees due - all insurance licensees.

Download >> Caribbean Regulatory Update - Q1 2021 (PDF)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.