Since the introduction of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, the requirements for a BVI business company to maintain and hold financial records have steadily increased. This was done by amending the Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003 in 2012 and again in 2014.
The requirements have now been consolidated and expanded in amendments made to the 2004 Act by the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2015, which became effective at the end of 2015.
The current position is that a company shall:
(a) keep at the office of its registered agent or at such other places, within or outside the BVI, as determined by the directors, the records and underlying documentation of the company;
(b) retain the records and underlying documentation for at least 5 years from the date: (i) of completion of the transaction to which the records and underlying documentation relate; or (ii) the company terminates the business relationship to which the records and underlying documentation relate; and
(c) provide the registered agent without delay any records and underlying documentation in respect of the company that is requested by the registered agent in accordance with the Amending Act.
The records and underlying documentation shall be in such form as are sufficient to show and explain the company’s transactions; and will, at any time, enable the financial position of the company to be determined with reasonable accuracy.
For the purposes of these provisions “records and underlying documentation” includes accounts and records (such as invoices, contracts and similar documents) in relation to:
(i) all sums of money received and expended by the company and the matters in respect of which the receipt and expenditure takes place
(ii) all sales and purchases of goods by the company
(iii) the assets and liabilities of the company
Assuming that the records are not held at the registered agent’s address, the company must provide the agent with a written record of the physical address of the place at which the records are kept; and record the name of the person who maintains them.
Whenever required by the BVI Financial Services Commission or other competent BVI authority duly empowered by law, the registered agent shall request from the company, its financial records.
Given that the obligations have increased and become more complex, and the BVI authorities have this investigatory power, many companies are using qualified accountants to prepare financial statements for them.
Through our Accounting Services we can provide just such a service. If you need any assistance in please contact us.
Our Trust Company Accounting Services also provides an extensive range of accounting and tax compliance services in other offshore jurisdictions, as well as the UK.
Author: Philip Jacques
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