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Offshore Trusts Report: British Virgin Islands

The Trustee (Amendment) Act, 2003

This Act was introduced with a view to making BVI trusts significantly more attractive in the commercial context, including a new section (which will only apply if there is a statement to this effect in the trust instrument) which enables trustees to create various forms of charges of trust assets in favour of creditors. The legislation made a substantial number of other amendments to the Trustee Act, including the following:

  • The Act repeals section 83 of the Trustee Act and replaces it with a new set of conflict of laws rules relating to trusts. The new section contains robust, comprehensive and carefully crafted provisions protecting BVI trusts (and dispositions to their trustees) against “forced heirship” claims, which also prevent foreign judgments based on such forced heirship claims from being recognised or enforced in the Territory.

  • The BVI’s purpose trusts legislation has been comprehensively overhauled in the light of amendments which have been made to other offshore jurisdictions’ legislation, various commentaries which have been written by experts and some issues which have arisen in practice since this legislation was originally introduced.

  • Section 92 of the Trustee Act, which deals with the payment of trust duty has been replaced by a comprehensive new section which makes it clear what documents are subject to trust duty and how this must be paid.

  • Trusts which are exclusively charitable are now exempted from trust duty; but the section included a modest increase in duty from $50 to $100.

  • The Act includes a number of further sections dealing with charities, variation of trusts, illusory appointments, the power to compromise claims, flee clauses and the jurisdiction of the BVI’s courts.

The Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2003 abolishes the requirement that deeds executed by individuals need to be sealed.

The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas Barbados Bermuda British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Cook Islands Cyprus Gibraltar Guernsey Isle of Man Jersey Liechtenstein Madeira Malta Mauritius Monaco Nevis New Zealand Panama Seychelles Turks & Caicos Vanuatu


British Virgin Islands News

BVI To Review Taxes And Fees
Monday 15/3/2010
British Virgin Islands Prime Minister, Ralph O’Neal has said that the territory will run a budget surplus during 2010, although the government still intends to review indirect taxes and fees on financial services.

Caribbean Explores Fiscal Cooperation
Tuesday 9/3/2010
Ahead of the World Bank meeting, to be held on March 11-12, where CARICOM Finance Ministers will meet to discuss challenges that the region faces, CARICOM Secretary General, Edwin Carrington said it was vital for Caribbean economies to increase economic cooperation and remove fiscal barriers, for the prosperity of the region going forward.

China Clarifies Tax Treatment Of Corporate Income Earned Abroad
Wednesday 27/1/2010
The Chinese Ministry of Finance, acting through the State Administration of Taxation, has issued a Circular to clarify corporate income tax provisions with regard to income earned abroad.

OECD Reports On Its Progress With International Tax Standards
Wednesday 20/1/2010
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the focus of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information is now shifting – from commitments and agreements to achieving an effective implementation of the standards.

UK's Wealthy Head For Sunnier Climes As Tax Storm Brews
Wednesday 16/12/2009
New research would appear to confirm that, while not quite the 'exodus' popularly characterized in the press, there is nevertheless a steady stream of wealthy financiers, entrepreneurs and bankers leaving Britain as a result of the Labour government's recent tax increases.

BVI Signs TIEAs With China And Ireland
Wednesday 9/12/2009
The government of the British Virgin Islands took a further step on December 7 to conclude Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development model Tax Information Exchange Agreements, signing texts with Ireland and China.

OECS States Agree Upon Draft Outline For New Treaty
Wednesday 25/11/2009
The new Treaty of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States will be signed in the St. Kitts capital, Basseterre on December 29.

Crown Dependencies Welcome Foot Report Findings
Monday 2/11/2009
The British Crown Dependencies have welcomed the findings of the UK government's review of the dependencies, published on October 29, which recognizes their economic benefit to the United Kingdom, and efforts to achieve compliance with international standards.

BVI Makes OECD White List
Monday 17/8/2009
The British Virgin Islands has signed its 12th Tax Information Exchange Agreement after concluding an agreement with New Zealand, meaning that the jurisdiction is now considered to be "substantially" in compliance with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's tax snoopers' standard.

BVI Signs OECD Model Agreements With Nordic States
Wednesday 20/5/2009
The British Virgin Islands government announced this week the signing of bilateral tax information exchange agreements with the six Nordic countries, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at the Icelandic Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 18.