General Knowledge About Offshore Companies

Are offshore companies required to keep books and financial records?

While BVI law requires that the business companies keep accounting records, these requirements are rather simple and generally reflect what a reasonable company owner would keep for the company at his own will even if not required by law. The Article 98 of the BVI Business Companies Act 2004 prescribes, in one general sentence, that a company shall keep records that are sufficient to show and explain the company's transactions; and, at any time, enable the financial position of the company to be determined with reasonable accuracy.

Further, the 2012 and 2014 amendments to the Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003, explain and specify a little the requirements:
- The company must keep the records and the underlying documentation which means all sums of money received and expended by the company and the matters in respect of which the receipt and expenditure takes place, all sales and purchases of goods by the company and the assets and liabilities of the company.
- Documents can be kept either at the Registered Agent in the BVI or in any other place as the directors may decide providing the Registered Agent with a written confirmation of such address.
- All documents must be retained for at least 5 years after the completion of each particular transaction or after the end of business relationship to which they refer.

At the same time, there are no requirements to prepare or file financial accounts and no auditing requirements. Consequently, none of the financial information becomes public.