Antigua & Barbuda — June 11, 2013 at 5:52 am

Antigua and Barbuda Tax Rates 25%

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Antigua & Barbuda Personal Income TaxAntigua-and-Barbuda-TaxRate

Individual income tax rates in Antigua & Barbuda is progressive to 25%.

Taxable Income (EC$)        Tax Rate
0 – $144,000.00                   10%
Over $144,000.00                25%

Notes
– Salaries including benefits in excess of $40,000.00 monthly or the fortnightly, weekly or daily equivalent and annual
allowances in excess of $60,000.00 should be referred to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to ascertain the amount
of tax to be deducted.
– All resident individuals whose total assessable income is $36,000.00 per year or less are not liable to tax.
– Tax should not be deducted from the income of persons whose salaries or wages including employment benefits are:-
(1) $3,000.00 per month or less;
(2) $1,389.00 fortnightly or less;
(3) $ 697.00 weekly or less;
(4) $ 140.00 daily or less.
– Pensioners: Individuals 60 years of age or over are entitled to claim a pensioner’s deduction of $24,000.00 in addition to the personal allowance.

Antigua reintroduced Personal Income Tax from 2005. There is an annual personal allowance of ECD36,000, and the first ECD60,000 of pension income is exempt. To become a resident of the jurisdiction for tax purposes, individuals must either have their permanent place of abode in the islands, or reside there for a minimum of 183 days in a year.

Non-residents are taxed on their income from sources in Antigua and Barbuda. Income of non-residents is taxed at a flat rate of 25%.

Basically, residents have their permanent place of abode in Antigua or are present in Antigua for 183 days in a year. If expatriates arrive late in a tax year but are resident in the following year, they qualify as resident in the year in which they arrive. The same rule applies when they leave.

Taxation of Capital Gains
Capital gains are not subject to taxation in Antigua.

Land Value Appreciation Tax
Non-resident individuals transferring property ownership in Antigua are subject to the land value appreciation tax levied at the rate of 5%. The tax base is the property’s selling price or market value less acquisition costs and improvement costs throughout the property’s holding period.

Property Tax
Property tax is levied on all properties located in Antigua, but not in Barbuda. The taxable value is based on the property’s current construction replacement cost. The applicable tax rates depend on the classification of the property; whether it is a residential property or commercial property.

Land Tax
Land tax is levied at Antigua and Barbuda, depending on the type and size of the property.

Antigua & Barbuda corporate taxation

Incorporated, registered or continued companies are charged a 25% tax on profit in Antigua & Barbuda.
Directors’ fees and proprietors’ salaries are deductible, capital gains are not subject to taxation.

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda made some reforms on the taxation system. The first step was the reintroduction of the personal income tax in April 2005, along with the reduction in the rate (from 10% to 5%) of customs service tax on those items included in the basic basket of goods, the elimination of the 2% turnover tax, the reduction in the rate of corporation tax, the elimination of Radio License, TV License, and the 15% Entertainment Tax on local promoters. The government also eliminated the 3% tax on loans to non-citizens and removed the 1% foreign exchange levy.

Investment Banking and Financial Services comprise an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include: Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and Scotia Bank among others.

Despite its financial travails in recent years, Antigua & Barbuda at present remains a favourable environment for the high-net-worth expat or investor with a light tax burden, a well-regulated offshore sector allowing the establishment of tax-efficient IBCs or trusts, a banking system that conforms to international standards, and relative political and economic stability.

Property tax

Residential –  tax on residential properties is based on the current construction replacement cost of the property. In addition, there is a surcharge (0-20%) depending on zoning regulations.

Commercial –  hotels are taxed at a rate of 1/5 of 1% of their taxable value. Other commercial properties must pay 3/4 of 1% taxable income.

Export duties
Antigua and Barbuda does not impose any export duties, except for those on lobsters, sea island cotton, sugar, molasses and fish.

Permanent Residence Scheme

In June 1995, the government introduced a permanent residence scheme to encourage a limited number of high net worth individuals to establish tax residency tax in Antigua and Barbuda. As residents all their income would be free of local tax.

To obtain a permanent residence certificate an applicant must:
– maintain a permanent place of abode in Antigua and Barbuda;
– obtain an alien landholding licence costing 5% of the property value;
– pay a purchaser’s stamp duty of 2.50%;
– pay an annual levy of US$20,000/annum;
– reside in Antigua and Barbuda for not less than 30 days a year.

International Business Corporations Act of 1982

The prevailing offshore legislation provides for speedy formation of international business corporations (IBCs) at very competitive charges. The formation can be carried out by a locally registered trust company or by an accountant or attorney. Formation can usually be completed within 24 hours and full corporate and trust services are available to both private and corporate investors including:

1. Registration and maintenance of corporate charters for offshore companies;
2. Reception, management, and disbursement of the assets of offshore companies;
3. Provision and maintenance of a registered office;
4. Maintenance of the company’s records and statutory register;
5. Preparation of all necessary corporate returns and reports to the Director;
6. Provision of directors and officers on request;
7. Incorporation and management of offshore banks and captive insurance companies; and
8. A full range of traditional trust services.

Some of the benefits provided to offshore companies formed under the IBC Act include the full exemption of all direct taxes in respect of any international trading, investment or commercial activity including withholding taxes and stamp duties. For banking there is a 3% tax on gross income (i.e. interest income and fees derived from the operations and investments of the banking business minus interest expense). No minimum capital is specified for an IBC and shares may have a nominal or no par value. The transfer of the charter of an IBC to a foreign jurisdiction, or vice versa, is explicitly permitted. The board of directors of a corporation may consist of a single member. In the case of banking, trust and insurance corporations, at least one director must be a citizen and resident of Antigua and Barbuda.

Confidentiality Provisions

The IBC Act provides criminal penalties for any disclosure of the business affairs of customers regarding banking or trust matters. The only exception for the disclosure of information relates to sound evidence regarding an alleged criminal offence that is triable in Antigua (or which would have been triable, if it has been committed in Antigua).

There are specific advantages for Canadian entities to form an IBC in Antigua that generates an active business income, because dividends paid out of income earned in Antigua are considered to be paid out of exempt surplus. Antigua is one of the countries listed in the Canadian Regulation 5907 (ii) which allows this arrangement. There are no tax treaties with European countries, except in the case of the UK and this is being updated through negotiations.

Incorporation Procedures

Every IBC must have a registered office and a resident agent in Antigua. This function is regularly performed by the trust company or by the professional who performed the incorporation process. The resident agent is responsible for paying the annual government fees and for keeping the company in good standing. The annual government licence fee for an IBC is US$300; for an IBC licensed to carry on international banking it is US$15,000 and for an IBC licensed to carry on an international insurance business it is US$10,000.

Fees charged by trust companies or professionals for incorporation and annual maintenance will vary, but fees for the formation of an IBC without an international banking or insurance licence start at about US$725, with an annual maintenance fee of US$350. Thus the total cost for an IBC formation (including the government licence fee) is typically US$975, with an annual maintenance fee of US$600. If the applicant for an IBC wishes to have a registered agent serve as its corporate director, an additional fee will be charged, between US$250 and US$1,000 for each director.

Incorporation and maintenance fees for an IBC with an international banking or insurance licence are higher and may be related to the level of required management services. Fees for trust management services are also dependent on the nature and value of assets and the required level of service.

Ship Registry

In 1985, Antigua enacted the Merchant Shipping Act, which further expanded the facilities of its offshore centre. The designated port of registry in St John’s, Antigua, is under the supervision of the Registrar of Ships, Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping. Registration can also be carried out in Germany by the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping, Patentbusch No. 4, 26125 Oldenburg, Germany.

The procedures for ship registration or parallel (bareboat) registration are efficient and can be organised through several of the offshore operators. With the submission of required documentation, the Department of Marine Services provides quick response. The registration fees are competitive with other jurisdictions and are transparent, with no hidden costs. No age is set for the acceptance of ships for registration, but all ships over 499GRT must be in class. The Department of Marine Services does not duplicate safety inspections, but complements and controls the work of class societies. Unlike some other registers, Antigua has no nationality requirements for manning vessels. For more information please see the Antigua and Barbuda international shipping register website at http://www.antiguamarine.com

Antigua and Barbuda’s Financial Sector

Establishing a Financial Institution

An international banking licence to an IBC is granted at the sole discretion of the Supervisor of Banks and Trust Corporations. The supervisor may revoke the licence at any time if, in his opinion, the revocation is in the public’s interest. The minimum capital requirement is currently five million US dollars or its equivalent in another major currency. However, it is exempt from any exchange control or foreign currency levy. IBC banks are required to appoint an auditor and to file unaudited quarterly returns and annual audited accounts with the Supervisor of Banks and Trust Corporations. The accounts are provided in a consolidated form.

Internet Gaming

Internet gaming facilities are deemed to be financial institutions under the law. They are regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRC), which gives the internet gaming operators a high level of comfort in the jurisdiction and in the ability to conduct business on a predictable basis. It is useful to take note of the following points:

(a) A 3% tax is payable by operators on their “Net win” defined as “the difference between the gross stakes laid and the winnings paid out”.

(b) Operators are entitled to deduct software licensing or software development costs from (a) above, capped at no more than 40% of the Net win for all companies provided claims for the deduction of such costs are accompanied by documentary support evidencing the costs.

(c) Operators are entitled to deduct charge backs on credit cards for a period up to 18 months after the original charge was made provided claims for the deduction of such charge backs are accompanied by documentary support evidencing the original credit and the charge back.

(d) The 3% tax on Net Win and the deductibles, as described at (a), (b) and (c) above, are fixed until 2006, after which they will be subject to review by the Government and the representatives of the Industry.

(e) Operators are entitled to a maximum cap of US$50,000.00 per month on taxes and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue would have no interest in the books of entities that pay the full cap. However, such operators are obliged to continue to maintain financial books and records and to provide access by the Government through its authorised agencies in the event of the need to examine such books and records in accordance with the laws of the State particularly the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, the International Business Corporations Act and the Proceeds from Crime Act and their amendments.

(f) The maximum cap of US$50,000.00 per month on taxes and the terms and conditions described in (e) above would remain unchanged until 2004, after which they will be subject to review by the Government and representatives of the Industry.

(g) Gaming Licence fees are US$75,000.00 per annum for those Operators who maintain a primary server and operations in Antigua and Barbuda and who pay the tax as described above.

(h) Wagering Licence fees are US$50,000.00 per annum for Operators who maintain a primary server and operations in Antigua and Barbuda and who pay the tax as described above.

The internet gaming industry benefits from high quality telecommunication facilities provided by Cable and Wireless. The costs of such telecommunications are highly competitive and are lower than in the vast majority of jurisdictions which provide a home for internet gaming.

Insurance License

An internal insurance licence permits an IBC to engage in any insurance business other than domestic insurance. The Superintendent of International Insurance Corporations is empowered to revoke or suspend the licence if its registration is deemed to be detrimental to public interest. A stated capital of at least US$250,000 must be maintained at all times. Annual audited accounts must be filed with the Superintendent of International Insurance Corporations.

Trust Services

Trusts administered by Antigua and Barbuda trust companies are not subject to any legislation imposing taxes on inheritance, profits, income, or on any capital assets, gain or appreciation on any assets or dividends, and interest paid out by an IBC as a trustee on behalf of a non-resident of Antigua and Barbuda, for a period of 20 years from the date of incorporation of the IBC.

Although there is no requirement that a trust instrument be recorded, it may be recorded in the non-public records of the Director of International Business Corporations who will issue a Certificate of Recordation attached to the original of the trust instrument.

There is also no restriction on accumulations by trusts and the rule of law known as the rule against perpetuities does not apply to any property vested in a trust corporation. The minimum capital requirement for a trust corporation is US$500,000. The IBC Act and domestic laws governing trusts, based on the British Common Law, which was adopted by Antigua as a colony and readopted after independence, still apply to all international trusts.

Off Shore Banks and Companies

In 1982, the Government introduced the International Business Corporations Act permitting off shore banking, insurance and trust corporations.
The benefits of the Act include:

– no control on exchange and freedom to operate bank accounts anywhere
– no minimum capital requirement
except for:
(i) banking where US$5 million is required together with the filing of quarterly returns;
(ii) Trusts where a minimum capital requirement of US$500,000 and the filing of quarterly returns; and
(iii) Insurance companies which must file annual reports and have a reserve capital of US$250,000

The formation of an off shore company costs US$975 and is renewable every year.

The legal basis for Antigua and Barbuda’s tax holidays for investors is codified on the Fiscal Incentives Act. The length of the ‘holiday’ depends on the amount of value added in Antigua and Barbuda. The definition of local value added is the amount realised from the sales of the product over a continuous period of 12 months, minus:

a) Cost of imported raw materials, components, parts of components, fuels and services;
b) Wages and salaries paid to foreign nationals;
c) Profits and dividends distributed to foreign nationals;
d) Interest, management charges and other income payments to not-residents (including companies);
e) Depreciation of imports of plant, machinery and equipment.

The government offers numerous concessions to investors, particularly if the investment is substantial. Typical concessions include:
– Freedom from the payment of Corporate Tax on the profits arising out of the profitable operations of the company for a period of 15 years in the first instance which is eligible for renewal for a further 15 years;
– Waiver of all import duties on consumption tax on the importation of materials and equipment used in the operations of the company;
– Grant of an export allowance in the form of an extended tax holiday on the exportation of goods produced in Antigua and Barbuda;
– The right to repatriate all capital royalties, dividends and profits free of all taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. The government allows a company to import a standby electricity generator free of all import duties and consumption taxes. All office equipment and vehicles to be used in the company’s operations can be imported free of duty and consumption taxes. The government grants all work permits and the necessary residential status to all expatriates who are key to a company’s operations.

Below is a description of the investment opportunities and benefits: Investor considerations
– English speaking.
– Stable government.
– Good communications.
– Development potential.
– Currency tied to US Dollar

Business environment
– Private sector predominates.
– Generous incentives for economic development.
– Good labour relations.
– Membership in trade blocs.
– Tourism of primary importance.
– Growing financial services industry.

Foreign investment and trade opportunities 
– Tax holidays and ready repatriation of capital and profits.
– Positive attitude of local persons and businesses.
– Preferential trade agreements.
– Good international communications.

Investment incentives
– A tax holiday of 5 to 15 years is available, with a 5-year extension under certain circumstances.
– Companies incorporated under the international Business Corporations Act 1982 enjoy a wide variety of incentives.
– Export-oriented businesses are eligible for tax rebates.
– Relief is given from customs duties and other indirect taxes.
– Exemption from exchange control regulations is possible.
– A guaranteed number of work permits are provided for foreign nationals.
– Trade bloc memberships include: Caricom, Lome Convention, CBI, and Caribcan.

Restrictions on foreign investment and investors 
– Capital and earnings can be repatriated.
– Hundred per cent foreign ownership is permitted.
– A wide range of enterprises is available for investment.
– Joint ventures with local persons are encouraged but are not essential.
– An exchange levy of 1 per cent is charged on outward movements of currency unless exemption has been given.
– Local borrowings by a foreigner are subject to a 3 per cent stamp tax unless exemption has been given.
– Land purchases require an alien landholder’s license.

Regulatory environment 
– Price controls are imposed on staple goods.
– Licences are required for certain operations.
– Most goods may be freely imported under an open general license.

Banking and finance 
– Full commercial banking services are available from international banks.
– Centre for offshore financial services, including banking, insurance and trust operations.
– Exchange Control approval is required for local borrowing by non-citizens.

Exporting to Antigua and Barbuda – tips for exporters
– Few restrictions are imposed on imports.
– Customs duty exemption is available for new hotels and approved industries.
– The services of a local agent are desirable to obtain speedy customs clearance.

Business entities
A locally incorporated company in Antigua is the most common vehicle for foreign investment, and often this is the most tax-efficient method. A branch of a foreign corporation can cause tax problems in the home territory.

Capital requirements
The minimum share capital is EC$2. There is no maximum.

Founder’s requirements
Two subscribers are required to form a private company; a public company requires five. Company formation is a very simple matter, requiring the drafting of a memorandum and articles of association and filing these with the Registrar of Companies. The cost is approximately EC$1,000 (US$370).

Foreign ownership/Participation in Management 
Once approval for the project has been obtained, a foreigner may be a director. Employees may serve as directors at the discretion of the shareholders.

Repatriation of funds 
Normally consent would be obtained from the outset. Provided any relevant taxes have been paid, Exchange Control approval will be given to remit profits in normal circumstances.

Liquidating an investment 
This involves the appointment of a liquidator, who would normally be an accountant or lawyer, to wind up the co affairs. If a company owned land and a non-citizen wished to buy, an alien landholder’s license would be needed.

Tax considerations
Incorporated companies pay tax at 40% of profits. Businesses that are not incorporated pay a 2% tax on gross income. Companies and businesses can deduct justifiable directors’ fees and proprietors’ salaries in arriving at a taxable profit. The tax advantage of the local company is that if a tax holiday is given, profits may be accumulated and not necessarily taxed in the country in which the foreign shareholders reside until distributed as dividends. This is not always the case, of course, and depends on the tax laws of the country concerned.

Professional advice It is essential to discuss the matter in detail and in advance with the investors’ own tax advisers and with local tax advisers to ensure a tax-efficient structure.

Labour relations and social security
– All levels of staff are available locally, but skilled labour is not plentiful.
– Employer-employee relations are simplified by the Labour Code and the Industrial Court Act.
– Social security and medical benefit schemes are in operation, but there are no unemployment benefits.

Tax system
– The bulk of government revenue comes from indirect taxation.
– Resident individuals are not assessable to a personal income tax.
– Capital gains not subject to taxation.
– Tax incentives are available.

Taxation of corporations 
– Capital gains are not subject to taxation.
– Withholding taxes are levied on certain overseas payments, including management fees.
– Restriction is placed on losses available for carry forward.
– A wide range of industries qualify for tax concessions.
– Tax holidays of up to 15 years (with five-year extension possible) are available for qualifying business.
– Companies involved in banking pay a 3% tax on gross income. That is, interest income and fees derived from the operations and investments of the banking business minus interest expense.
– Companies involved in internet gaming, sports books and virtual casinos pay a 3% tax on gross handle. That is, gross take-in minus payouts to clients on bets.

Regulatory Control

To focus regulation more closely, the Government established a statutory authority in 1998, known as the International Financial Sector Authority (IFSA) and charged it with responsibilities to supervise and develop the sector. Concerns were later raised, however, that the IFSA depended upon the private sector for assistance. In response, the Government amended the legislation, to separate the IFSA’s functions for supervision from any promotional activity. It also provided for a new International Financial Sector Regulatory Authority (IFSRA) that is fully independent of the private sector.

Banking Secrecy 

The confidentiality afforded to clients by banks will not provide a safe harbour to criminals. In fact, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of the MLPA will stand as the governing Act, notwithstanding any obligation to secrecy or other restriction regarding the disclosure of information by any law or otherwise. Bank clients need not to be concerned with this issue. It is only relevant to those who are the subject of a criminal investigation involving the offence of money laundering and when the Court in Antigua has, on application by the competent Antiguan authority, ordered the disclosure of information. In other words, the privacy of customers’ banking information remains fully confidential unless it can be established in a Court of competent jurisdiction that a crime has been committed.

Transaction Record Keeping

The IBC Act as amended requires banks to maintain full details of all transactions in relation to deposits and withdrawals, and to retain the information obtained by the regulation for a period of five years. As no offshore bank may serve as originator or recipient in the transfer of funds on behalf of a person who is not an account holder, all transactions should be easily traceable in the event of an enquiry by the Supervisory Authority or from a correspondent bank.

Suspicious Activity Reports 

In keeping with international standards, offshore financial institutions are required under the MLPA as amended, to pay special attention to all complex, unusual or large business transactions, whether completed or not, and to all unusual patterns of transactions and to insignificant but periodic transactions, which have no economic or lawful purpose. On reasonable suspicion that a transaction could institute or be related to money laundering, the bank is obligated to promptly report the suspicious transaction to the Supervisory Authority. The Act also requires banks to pay attention to relations and transactions with persons, including business and other financial institutions, from countries that have not adopted a comprehensive anti-money laundering programme.

International Cooperation

In 1995, Antigua was amongst the first countries in the Caribbean region to sign a maritime law enforcement counter drug agreement and an updated extradition treaty with the US. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in criminal matters were signed with both the US and the UK in 1996. The jurisdiction is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and is in full compliance with all its requirements. In March 2000, Antigua became the first country to sign a commitment letter to the principals of the UN Offshore Forum (UNOF), which confirmed government’s agreement to adhere to the UN’s minimum performance standards relating to banking practices, transparency rules and international cooperation.

The cooperation provided under these various agreements and treaties is also supported under the MLPA. It allows for the Court or the Competent authority in Antigua to cooperate with the Court or other competent authority of another state, and to take appropriate measures to provide assistance in matters concerning money-laundering offences, provided the measures are in accordance with the MPLA and within the limits of their respective legal systems. Assistance includes providing original or certified copies of relevant documents and records, save that no information related to a client account held by a financial institution shall be disclosed unless the client is the subject of a criminal investigation involving the offence of money laundering and the Court has, on application by the competent authority, ordered the disclosure of the information.

Antigua has successfully cooperated with the authorities of the United States, the United Kingdom. Switzerland, Canada, Belgium and Ukraine in enforcing the law against money laundering and drug traffickers. The role of the authorities in Antigua has been publicly acknowledged and praised by the governments of the US, Belgium, Canada and the Ukraine.

In the fiercely competitive environment of offshore centers, Antigua has placed emphasis on ensuring that the reputation of its centre and the quality of its regulation meets international standards. The various steps taken to address the concerns of the international community will benefit the offshore financial institutions and their clients, as well as their correspondent relations with other banks. Antigua has made the decision to remain a strong competitor in the international financial market by maintaining a well-regulated sector in which financial institutions are committed to providing a secure environment for their clients, with full compliance to international standards.

Antigua & barbuda sales tax (abst)

Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) is charged at a standard rate of 15%.

There is also a transitional rate of 10.5% which is currently being applied to hotel or holiday accommodation, and a zero rate applicable to scheduled goods and services.

Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (“ABST”) is the name given to a value added type tax that was introduced in Antigua and Barbuda from January 29, 2007. Antigua & Barbuda government introduced the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax in conjunction with the removal of several taxes including the Consumption tax, Hotel (bed-night) tax, Hotel guest tax, Hotel guest levy, Restaurant and Catering services tax and the Telecommunications tax.

The ABST is levied on local consumption, and is intended to be borne by the consumer, having replaced several other consumption taxes. The tax is administered by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, supported by the Inland Revenue Department.

Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax is:
– A VAT-type consumption tax
– A broad-based tax on consumption
– A tax on supplies (goods and services)
– A multi-stage transaction tax
– Registrants and Customs will collect the ABST on behalf of the government
– Registrants will off-set ABST paid on purchases and other costs against ABST collected on sales

Who must register for Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST)?

Registration for Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) is required of persons who have made or are likely to make supplies to the value of EC$300,000 in a continuous period of twelve calendar months.

A taxable person for the purposes of Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) is a person (individual, corporate or otherwise) who is registered or required to be registered so as to collect and pay ABST. Taxable persons are required to file returns of relevant information and pay ABST to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue on a monthly basis.

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