Economic Substance

Legislation in the British Virgin Islands and in the Cayman Islands requires certain entities that are incorporated or registered in those jurisdictions and which conduct one or more of a set list of relevant activities to comply with local substance requirements known as ‘economic substance’.

The following specifically defined activities are considered relevant activities and relevant entities must comply with the economic substance rules in the relevant jurisdiction:

  • Banking business
  • Insurance business
  • Shipping business
  • Fund management business
  • Financing and leasing business
  • Headquarters business
  • Holding company business
  • Intellectual property business
  • Distribution and service centre business 

In order to help you to determine whether or not your entities are required to comply with economic substance requirements and to help you do so, we perform a full review of your entities to determine and advise on all aspects of compliance with substance legislation and, where appropriate, what actions must be taken. 

For clients that do need to establish and demonstrate substance in the British Virgin Islands or in the Cayman Islands we are perfectly positioned to provide bespoke and integrated legal and administrative solutions. We work closely with the professionals at Harneys Fiduciary (our affiliated fiduciary business, to provide a full suite of governance, resident director and accounting services. Our domestic BVI commercial law practice group can work with you to obtain trade licences, work permits, premises, specialist equipment, or dedicated human resources.

BVI Economic Substance Classification Solution

We have created the BVI Economic Substance Classification Solution, designed by our industry leading lawyers, to deliver concise, efficient and effective guidance through an interactive questionnaire. Our innovative solution is accessible through an online platform which the user can access at their convenience and is provided at a flat fee.

Following the completion of the interactive questionnaire, an entity will be provided with a formal classification certificate and details of the bespoke obligations upon that specific entity going forward. This can be used to demonstrate that the entity is fulfilling regulatory responsibilities with regards to the Act and prepare the entity's registered agent for reporting obligations.

It is due for release as soon as the BVI Economic Substance Code is finalised. To register your interest in using the BVI Economic Substance Classification Solution, please email escsolutions@harneys.com

If you manage or own an entity that may be affected by substance rules based on the nature of its operations, please contact one of the key contacts below.