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Real Difference For Companies In BVI And Cayman Islands

Are you thinking of setting up an offshore company and using an offshore bank account for a wide range of advantages? Perhaps you are holding back on doing these things as you believe the costs outweigh the benefits. The answers to these are: Offshore companies still benefit from tax savings, confidentiality, asset protection, financing and growing your business into other parts of the world. 

Opening an offshore company and an offshore account is becoming much more complicated, given the complexity of FATCA and OECD regulations. Most people think offshore companies have lost their status as safe alternatives to onshore companies, the authorities worldwide are going after tax cheaters and multinationals looking for tax-free jurisdictions. However, we still believe offshore companies can still bring the best out of each jurisdiction, mainly in BVI and Cayman Islands.

Both BVI and Cayman Islands offer a relatively low set up cost for an offshore company, although the set-up cost for Cayman Islands companies tends to be a bit cheaper than company formation in BVI.  Both jurisdictions provide the offer of advantages/ services for offshore companies.

No corporate tax levies on BVI companies

Fast and efficient registration system that is friendly to foreign investors

Zero inheritance and gift taxes on individuals

No capital controls

Reciprocal agreements of avoidance of double taxation with more than a dozen countries and territories on which BVI companies can benefit from

A solid legal framework

Confidentiality and Secrecy

The difference between BVI and Cayman Islands 

The difference for these jurisdictions really goes down to the use of offshore companies. Presuming an investor is seeking to set up a fund in BVI and Cayman Islands respectively, one will be authorized and regulated by BVI Financial Services Commission, the other by Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. Also, the investment vehicle that manages the funds will need to be in the form of Business Company. Unit Trust, or International Limited Partnership for BVI and Exempt Limited Partnership, or Exempt Company for the Cayman Islands.

Regulatory difference 

The real difference, though, is the regulatory framework. Both countries require investment funds to be audited, and the Cayman Islands requires companies engaged in funds to be audited on a local level, meaning local audit requirements will need to be followed. BVI, by contrast, does not require companies accounts to be audited locally, therefore no local audit requirements need to be complied with.

In terms of the custodian, the government of BVI stipulates that custodian be required but firms might ask for an exemption, whereas for Cayman Islands companies, no custodial requirements should be required.

Pre-approved functionalities of investment roles, such as managers, administrators, custodians, auditors, etc., licenses issued by China, Hong Kong, Brazil, the US, and the UK, are recognized by BVI, and thus no further approved functionalities needed. On the other hand, the government of Cayman Island does not grant pre-approved functionalities by other countries. As a result, this might add extra time, legal fee and money for companies to apply for a new regulatory license.


If you are are a  small business owner starting off with a tight budget, then we recommend that you incorporate a company in BVI. If you are a big business owner seeking to venture out and invest in the fund sector, then we recommend that you incorporate a company in the Cayman Islands. Both countries are known for tax savings, confidentiality, asset protection, financing and growing your business into other parts of the world, but the selection of which country to incorporate is really down to your needs and circumstances. 

What should you consider before forming a company in these two countries?

Perhaps most people are just thinking of an offshore company somewhere in the world but have never taken any actions. Perhaps many are so hesitant to think if an offshore company is worth having a go. As mentioned before, firstly, the cost could be a huge factor for business owners to incorporate a company in. Secondly, depending on what type of business you are in, certain business activities are regulated and authorized by the authorities, and you will need to apply for a license before engaging in the activity. Lastly, if you believe your business would grow and expand into countries you are not currently operating in, then you should take the first big step forming an offshore company exploring options for you to expand.

Courtesy of sindacorporation.com

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