We are pleased to announce that following a meeting of the European Union’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council on October 17, 2023, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been removed from the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions for tax purposes (Annex I) and reinstated to the list of cooperative jurisdictions (Annex II).
The BVI was initially added to Annex I in February 2023 for the first time on a technical basis as a result of receiving a “partially compliant” rating from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). The BVI’s move to Annex II was preceded by the Global Forum granting the BVI a supplementary review on April 6, 2023.
In its statement, the EU Council noted that the “British Virgin Islands was removed from the list as it has amended its framework on exchange of information on request (criterion 1.2) and will be reassessed in accordance with the OECD standard. Pending this reassessment this jurisdiction has been included in Annex II.”
The reinstatement to Annex II recognises the legislative changes (including the amendments to BVI Business Companies Act and BVI Business Companies Regulations made in 2022) which came into force on January 1, 2023, to meet requirements set out by the Global Forum as part of its Peer Review Process. As such, the BVI has now been reinstated to the Annex II list, including jurisdictions committed to implementing reforms.
Commenting on the announcement, BVI Minister for Financial Services, Labour, and Trade, Honourable Lorna Smith, OBE said: “We welcome the announcement that the BVI has been removed from Annex I of the EU list, which reflects the current state of play in the BVI. As a world-class international financial centre, the BVI is committed to maintaining the highest international standards on transparency and regulation.”
Christopher Simpson, head of the Corporate and Commercial team at O’Neal Webster, commented that: “The reinstatement of the BVI to the EU’s list of cooperative jurisdictions (Annex II) reaffirms the BVI’s status as a well-respected jurisdiction with a robust regulatory framework that has always been fully committed to international compliance and cooperation.”