News ID: 209921
Published: 1018 GMT February 13, 2018

Island tax haven firms own 23,000 UK properties

Island tax haven firms own 23,000 UK properties
ALAMY

A quarter of property in England and Wales owned by overseas firms is held by entities registered in the British Virgin Islands, BBC analysis has found.

The Caribbean archipelago is the official home of companies that own 23,000 properties — more than any other country.

They are owned by 11,700 firms registered in the overseas territory.

The finding emerged from BBC analysis conducted of Land Registry data on overseas property ownership.

The research found there are around 97,000 properties in England and Wales held by overseas firms, as of January 2018.

It adds to concerns that companies registered in British-controlled tax havens have been used to avoid tax.

Close behind the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has a population of just 30,600, are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Of the properties owned by overseas companies in England and Wales, two thirds are registered to firms in the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Many foreign UK property owners are also officially headquartered in Hong Kong, Panama and Ireland.

The analysis provides a new picture of ownership of property by overseas companies in England and Wales following a decision last November to make the database public and free to access.

It found:

 

● Close to half (44 percent) of all properties owned by overseas companies in England and Wales are located in London

● More than one in ten (11,500) properties owned by overseas companies in England and Wales are located in the City of Westminster

● More than 6,000 properties owned by foreign companies are in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

 

The government of the British Virgin Islands said it was incorrect to label the country as a tax haven.

It said that there were many practical reasons why UK properties might be owned by companies incorporated in the BVI.

It argued that BVI companies can bring together multiple investors and owners, which is useful for big commercial property deals that have investors in more than one country.

The BVI also said that it shared ‘necessary information’ including ownership details with relevant authorities.

   
KeyWords
 
Comments
Comment
Name:
Email:
Comment:
Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 0/5582 sec