Amendments made on 12 November 2012 to the Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003 (MLAT Act) and the Partnership Act, 1996, (PA Act) have reformed the record keeping requirements for all companies and limited partnerships registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
BVI companies pursuant to section 98 of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 have always been required to keep records that are sufficient to show and explain their transactions and which would, at any time, enable their financial position to be determined with reasonable accuracy, however, the MLAT Act amendment reinforces this requirement and goes a bit further by requiring such companies to maintain “records and underlying documentation” and to keep such records and underlying documentation for a minimum of five years. This requirement also now applies to partnerships.
The amendments to the MLAT Act and PA Act expressly state that the term “records and underlying documentation” includes the “accounts” of the company or partnership respectively. The term “accounts” is not defined but is believed to mean basic accounting entries at a minimum and not necessarily full fledged financial statements.
The records and underlying documentation can be kept at any location(s) but if they are not kept at the office of the registered agent of the company or partnership in the BVI then the company or partnership must provide a written record to its registered agent of the physical address where the records and underlying documentation are kept.
Where any changes are made to the location(s) of the records or underlying documentation, the registered agent must be notified of the new location(s) within fourteen days of the change