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Small businesses can incorporate for less under new law

-Micro Business Companies Act brought to HoA to give more protection to small locally owned businesses
Mirco Business Companies Act aims to aims to give small businesses more protection from some of the legal and financial vulnerabilities that larger companies are subjected to. Photo: VINO
Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture, in welcoming the bill emphasized that local business owners want to be protected if they decided to incorporate their business, but the cost has always been an issue. Photo: VINO/File
Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture, in welcoming the bill emphasized that local business owners want to be protected if they decided to incorporate their business, but the cost has always been an issue. Photo: VINO/File
WICKHAM’S CAY II, Tortola, VI - During the Eleventh Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on November 16, 2017 at the Ritter House, members of the House welcomed the Micro Business Companies Act 2017.

The Act aims to give small businesses more protection from some of the legal and financial vulnerabilities that larger companies are subjected to.

In addition, the proposed bill will allow low fees to be charged when small companies seek to incorporate and the businesses that are being targeted are small locally owned operations that comprises of 10 employees or fewer, and have an annual earnings of $2 million or less.

Low fees and protection for small local operators welcomed

Honourable Julian Fraser RA, Third District Representative, in supporting the bill stated that the low fees are welcomed because the costs to keep businesses complaint reduces the revenue of small businesses.

He said, “The expenditure that you have to put out to keep your company compliant, it becomes somewhat less than feasible to maintain.”

Hon Fraser further mentioned that the international component of the bill makes it financially driven, while warning the government to ensure that the local businesses do not become overburden by fees over a period of time.

Even though the bill focuses mainly on local businesses, international business will be allowed to incorporate their micro businesses using the legislation, once they have access to the internet.

Meanwhile, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture, in welcoming the bill emphasised that local business owners want to be protected if they decided to incorporate their business, but the cost has always been an issue.

“The truck drivers, the restaurants and all of these persons, many of them want the protection that comes along with incorporation, but the cost has been a problem. When you want to incorporate a BVI business company, the cost can run you anywhere between $700 and $1,400 or so if it’s local. It can be very expensive,” Hon Walwyn explained.

Fees will be published on website

Minister of Finance and Premier, Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), in closing stated that he is pleased that the bill can be used by local residents at a reduced cost, even though it has an international component, while adding that this shows the cooperation between the government and the financial services industry.

Premier explained, “What I find interesting too is that the fees will be published on the website of the Financial Services Commission, and this will remind persons from the community who wish to use this bill to work.”

The Finance Minister indicated that the provision is made for businesses that are incorporated under the Micro Business Companies Act can eventually register under the Business Companies Act, once their business grow.

To inform small business owners of the benefits under the new legislation, the members of the House acknowledged that there must be an education campaign.

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