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The Exchange of Tax Information Portal is an initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of its member jurisdictions' ability to co-operate with other tax administrations in accordance with the internationally agreed standard. The standard provides for exchange of information on request where it is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. Effective exchange of information requires that jurisdictions ensure information is available, that it can be obtained by the tax authorities and that there are mechanisms in place allowing for the exchange of that information. The Global Forum's peer review process examines both the legal and regulatory aspects of exchange (Phase 1 reviews) and the exchange of information in practice (Phase 2). The EOI Portal will track the development of these peer reviews, including changes that jurisdictions make in response to the Global Forum's recommendations.

Peer Review: Peer Review Report Phase 1 Legal and Regulatory Framework - Virgin Islands, British

This report for Virgin Islands, British has been published on 12 Sep 2011. You can buy this report, or browse it online below.

Skip directly to the Executive Summary. You may also want to view the tables of determinations and ratings.


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Determinations and Recommendations

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   It is not clear under the Virgin Islands Anti Money Laundering legislation whether service providers are required to identify all beneficial owners or only certain owners. Consequently, full ownership information may not be available where a company has issued bearer shares.  The Virgin Islands should clarify its laws to ensure availability of full ownership information where a company has issued bearer shares. 
It is only in relation to trusts which the trusts service provider regards as presenting a ‘higher level of risk’ in terms of money laundering or terrorist financing, that beneficiaries with a vested right in the trust have to be identified.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that information that identifies the beneficiaries of a trust is available in all cases. 
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   There is no consistent obligation for partnerships and trusts to keep reliable accounting records.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that reliable accounting records are required to be kept by partnerships and trusts in all cases. 
Consistent requirements for companies, partnerships and trusts to keep underlying documentation are not in place.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that underlying documentation is required to be kept by all relevant entities and arrangements. 
Except in limited cases pertaining to mutual funds or persons licensed to carry on financial services business, no minimum retention period to maintain accounting records and underlying documentation exists.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that all relevant entities and arrangements maintain accounting records and underlying documentation for a period of at least five years. 
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   The powers of the Virgin Islands competent authority to obtain and exchange information under an information exchange agreement applies only to (a) information held by a bank or other financial institution, or any person acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity, including a nominee or trustee, or (b) information that relates to the beneficial ownership of a company, partnership or other person.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that its competent authority has the power, for the purposes of tax information exchange, to obtain information from any person that may be in possession or control of information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. 
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Although 21 TIEAs concluded by the Virgin Islands, to date 9 have been ratified and entered into force. Of the other 12 agreements, 8 were signed almost two years ago and in the case of 7 TIEAs the Virgin Islands only needs to send a notification to its treaty partner, meaning that not all steps have been taken by the Virgin Islands to bring them into force.  The Virgin Islands should take all necessary steps to bring its EOI agreements into force as quickly as possible. 
The Virgin Islands legal and regulatory framework does not allow its competent authority to fully comply with the terms of its TIEAs due to limited access powers.  The Virgin Islands should amend its legal and regulatory framework in order to be able to fully comply with the terms of its TIEAs. 
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   The Virgin Islands has a network of EOI arrangements with relevant partners but they have not been given full effect through domestic law.  The Virgin Islands should ensure it gives full effect to the terms of its EOI arrangements in order to allow for full exchange of information to the standard with all relevant partners. 
  The Virgin Islands should continue to develop its EOI network with all relevant partners. 
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.