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BVI Premier Delivers Budget 2014 Address

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, New York
16 January, 2014

The Minister of Finance for the British Virgin Islands, Orlando Smith, said in his 2014 Budget Address, which was issued on January 14, that international tax transparency initiatives have had a negative impact on the territory's financial services industry in recent times.

The minister observed that the BVI's financial services, which are integral to its economy, have faced pressure recently from increased international scrutiny in tax and transparency matters as well as increased competition from other financial services jurisdictions.

He said that company incorporation figures for the first three quarters of 2013 fell 15 percent year-on-year as a result of international regulatory changes related to tax transparency and exchange of information and increased global competition. This has prompted the government to explore ways of diversifying its revenue base and widening the scope of the BVI's financial services offerings.

He insisted that the government's economic strategy is "placing us once more on a growth trajectory."

In reviewing the BVI's accomplishments, the minister pointed out that the territory's International Tax Authority, which was established in July 2012 to address tax information exchange procedures, has "made significant inroads in the management and fulfillment of the BVI's international tax obligations." He went on to say he expects the unit to produce a "paradigm shift in the manner in which the BVI deals with its international tax obligations."

Mr Smith also noted that the BVI's government continues to support the United Kingdom's agenda on tax, transparency and trade and is committed to supporting the work of the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax purposes and the Financial Action Task Force.

The BVI's revenue this year is expected to reach USD301.7m, of which USD282.7m will come from taxes, Mr Smith said.

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