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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: BVI Phase 2 Review

This report for Virgin Islands, British has been published on 31 Jul 2013. 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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Partially Compliant.  During the three-year review period (1 July 2009 until 30 June 2012), ownership information in respect of the shareholders of companies was not exchanged in some cases, while the person (the registered agent) who was requested to produce the information was required by law to have this information.   The Virgin Islands should ensure that ownership information in respect of companies is available in all cases in practice.  
The obligation on the registered agent of a company that has issued bearer shares to keep full ownership information on the owners of these bearer shares has been recently introduced.  The Virgin Islands should closely monitor whether registered agents keep full ownership information on the owners of bearer shares where their client is a company that has issued such shares. 
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   There are no consistent obligations for general partnerships and trusts to keep reliable accounting records, including underlying documentation, for a period of at least five years.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that reliable accounting records, including underlying documentation, are required to be kept by general partnerships and trusts for a period of at least five years in all cases. 
The requirements on companies and limited partnerships to keep underlying documentation do not specify the type of underlying documentation to be kept, which could result in an uneven application of the obligation to keep underlying documentation.  The Virgin Islands should clarify its requirements that underlying documentation must be kept in respect of companies and limited partnerships. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Non-Compliant.  Accounting information was not provided to requesting jurisdictions in many cases. It is not clear whether this was due to the fact that the information was unavailable. However, it is the case that, except for records to be kept by entities that are subject to licensing with the FSC, no system of monitoring of compliance with accounting record keeping requirements is in place, which may cause the legal obligations to keep accounting records to be difficult to enforce. In addition, a number of accounting record keeping obligations have only been introduced recently and are therefore untested in practice.   The Virgin Islands should ensure that its monitoring and enforcement powers are sufficiently exercised in practice to support the legal requirements which ensure the availability of accounting information in all cases. 
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
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 in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Non-Compliant.  In the three-year review period, the Virgin Islands competent authority’s practice was to serve a Notice to Produce Information only on the registered agent of the company or limited partnership, regardless of whether the registered agent was obliged to keep the information sought. This resulted in the Virgin Islands competent authority not always obtaining all information.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that the access powers of its competent authority are used effectively to obtain all information included in an EOI request. 
The Virgin Islands has not applied any compulsory powers in the three- year review period, even where information that should have been in the possession of the person who was served the Notice to Produce Information was in fact not produced in some cases.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that compulsory powers are applied where appropriate in cases where information is not produced. 
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     The Virgin Islands should continue to develop its EOI network with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Non-Compliant.  During the three-year review period, the Virgin Islands practices in accessing and exchanging information have resulted in sending incomplete responses in a significant proportion of the cases according to the input from peers.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that the responses it provides to EOI requests are sufficiently complete and provided in a timely manner. 
The Virgin Islands did not provide status updates where a request could not be answered within 90 days unless requested to do so. The procedures put in place by the new authority competent for exchange of information (the ITA) could not be assessed.  The Virgin Islands should monitor that status updates are provided to the requesting jurisdictions where relevant. 
Prior to the establishment of the ITA, no formal verification as to the content of the information transmitted to the requesting jurisdictions was made.  The Virgin Islands should ensure that its organisational processes provide for effective exchange of information.