The Hon. Ronald Toppin, M.P. Minister of International Business and Trade for Barbados, Invest Barbados and the Caribbean Council hosted the Barbados Global Business and Wealth Management Seminar which was kindly hosted at the London offices of Charles Russell Speechlys LLB.
An introduction to the Barbados Jurisdiction for global business was given by the Hon. Ronald Toppin. He emphasised that the goal of the current administration was to make Barbados a Financial Services Centre of Excellence.
The Government were faced with stringent deadlines from the OECD and the administration had 6 months from June to December 2018 to become compliant to the OECD international taxation requirements. 14 pieces of legislation had to be repealed and in doing so the government took the opportunity to review the entire tax structure for business in Barbados.
Domestic companies were paying 30% corporation tax and International companies 0.25% to 2.5%. In order to create a level playing field the tax rate was converged to a maximum amount of 5.5% and a minimum of 1% for all companies. The title of international and domestic businesses was removed and replaced with the title regular business companies. If the company earns the majority of its revenue in Foreign exchange the company can apply for a Foreign Exchange Permit.
The tax reform created a low tax jurisdiction for Barbados and therefore the Economic Substance Legislation (ESL) had to be revised for the OECD and the EU. The revised ESL has been submitted to the OECD and the final decision regarding the revised legislation will be taken next week. The EU has requested some clarifications on the revised ESL and these clarifications will be submitted to the EU this week.
Barbados continues to be recognised as a preferred jurisdiction for foreign investment, and an expanding network of double taxation agreements and bilateral investment treaties with countries across the globe adds to its attractiveness. To date Barbados has 40 double taxation agreements in force and over 4,000 registered international business entities.
Barbados is committed to the maintenance of high standards and places emphasis on competitiveness, while offering clients predictability and transparency in their investments. The country promotes an environment which encourages the establishment of business of substance and its range of financial services legislation allows investors the flexibility to create the types of corporate structures specifically suited to their needs. Barbados’ sound regulatory framework has led to consistently high world rankings in banking stability, transparency, human development and global competitiveness, to name a few.
Additionally, Barbados is enhanced by the availability of a core of skilled local professionals providing services at competitive costs and ensuring continuity of personnel. The country’s business infrastructure feature modern telecommunications and information technology, with related disaster contingency capability, reliable local utilities and international air and seaports.
Two presentations were made during the event. One by Mr. Kevin Hunte, Director, International Business Ministry of International Business and Industry who spoke on the consequences of BEPS Action 5 and EU and the Barbados’ response and one by Mr Wayne Lovell, Tax Consultant and Financial adviser who outlined Barbados’ tax structure and benefits. Overall this event highlighted the latest measures introduced by the Barbados government to ensure Barbados continues to be a wise choice for investors engaged in international business