It has been widely reported that the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, will call upon the British Overseas Territories (BOTs) which are regarded as low tax jurisdictions to “get their houses in order” (The Daily Mail, 5 June 2013) and that offshore financial centres such as Bermuda, Cayman, BVI, Jersey and Guernsey will be urged to “sign up to greater tax transparency” (Royal Gazette, 6 June 2013).
Bermuda has always defended its status as a low tax jurisdiction, and has always made it clear that it is not a tax haven, nor a place where the fruits of tax evasion can be harboured. It is relevant to recall the efforts that Bermuda has made over the last 30 years to justify its claim to being a leading offshore financial centre, not a tax haven.
Bermuda now boasts a new licensing and supervisory regime for professional corporate service providers designed to enhance the efficiency of incorporations in Bermuda. The changes, which came into effect at the start of the year, are regarded as good news for Bermuda as they will eliminate double vetting, decrease the need for due diligence on shareholders with voting rights of less than 10 percent and improve the efficiency of registration by using an electronic system that gives immediate results.
In the ideal case a company could now be formed and registered within an hour.
The new regime was established under the Bermuda Corporate Service Provider Business Act (“the CSP Act 2012”) which came into effect on January 1st, 2013.