Further Guidance on BVI Annual Returns: Exemptions and Privacy

In previous articles we analysed in depth the BVI Annual Financial Return requirements and listed the key information you need to be aware of.

In this article we touch upon three important elements of the BVI Annual Return that many of our clients ask us about, Exemptions and Privacy of the Return, as well as what happens in cases you fail to file your Annual Return. These clarifications were released by the BVI Financial Services Commission itself and are as follows:

Companies Exempt from Filing Annual Returns
The Order exempts the following entities from filing annual returns in line with section 98A(5) of the Act:
(a)    Companies listed on a stock exchange;
(b)    A company that is already compelled by other BVI financial services legislation to provide financial statements to the Commission, i.e. regulated entities;
(c)    A company which files its annual tax returns and financial statements with the Inland Revenue Department; and
(d)    A company in liquidation whose annual return becomes due after liquidation commenced.

Privacy of Filed Returns
As the annual returns are filed with the registered agent, the details of such remain confidential and within the custody of the agent, who must make the information available whenever requested pursuant to an obligation under an enactment. For example, the BVI Financial Service Commission may request the information in accordance with the powers granted to it under the Financial Services Commission Act, 2001; such would also be the case with regard to a request by the International Tax Authority under the Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003, the Financial Investigation Agency under the Financial Investigation Agency Act, 2003 and the Attorney General under the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act, 1993.

Implications of Failure to File
Where a company fails to file its annual return within the nine (9) months allotted, such company will have failed the test of good standing in accordance with section 235 of the Act. The company will also become subject to penalty fees as outlined in Schedule I, Part II of the Act, and risk subsequent striking off the register and dissolution in accordance with section 213 of the Act.

You can see the original annoucement of the BVI Financial Services Commission here.


You can contact us anytime at contact@bviaccountants.com for any clarifications you may need and for more information on how we can assist with the preparation of your BVI Annual Return.