The British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a small chain of islands in the Caribbean situated between Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. The BVI has been a top sailing destination since the days of Sir Francis Drake. The BVI is a British Overseas Territory, meaning that although the BVI has a locally elected government, the British Crown exercises control over the territory and those born in the BVI are British citizens. However, since the leak of the so-called Panama Papers, the BVI has become known as a tax haven due to the perception that it is easy to register a company in the BVI without disclosure of company’s owners. Although the BVI issued a $440,000 fine against Mossack Fonseca for violating the BVI’s existing money laundering laws (the largest in the BVI’s history), the British government has expected the territory to do more.
When many people think of the United States Virgin Islands (“USVI”), they think of beautiful beaches on secluded islands. This is certainly correct, but many people do not know that the USVI is also home to some of the most lucrative tax incentives available to American citizens and permanent residents. For decades, Congress has allowed the USVI the ability to grant tax incentives to individuals and businesses located in the USVI. The United States Department of the Interior, which administers territories such as the USVI, touts these incentive programs as providing for economic stability of the territory.
Below are the basics to understanding USVI’s taxation laws and its tax incentive programs:
Foster Garvey’s International practice group comprises a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. A number of attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.