Barbados is a high quality center for International Business and is known as an important financial services center throughout the world. The factors which contribute to Barbados’ continued growth in the offshore financial sector include one of the highest degrees of political and social stability in the world, low rates of taxation, excellent communications, skilled expertise and a sensible regulatory environment.
The financial services and international business sectors are the fastest-growing sectors of Barbados’ economy and are destined to lead the economy in this new millennium. Our legislative initiatives, judicial system and high ethical standards make Barbados a preferred low tax destination for the international business community.
The legal system in Barbados is grounded in English common law. Commercial legislation in Barbados is modern and is continuously under review in order to ensure that it meets the needs of the business community. There is a modern Companies Act and an Income Tax Act. As of November, 2013, the legislative framework was enhanced by the enactment or amendment of several pieces of legislation. These include pieces of legislation in the areas of trusts, banking and insurance. Much work has also been done in the area of intellectual property.
Legislation is designed to attract international financial and business services. Over the years Barbados has amended legislation to keep its business services up-to-date and it continually seeks new services, or “products” to offer. At the heart of Barbados’ financial services business and a principal reason for its attraction, as an international business domicile, is its network of tax treaties. It is this network that also establishes Barbados as a low-tax jurisdiction. Please see the latest update on the bilateral treaty network.
As a financial services center, Barbados has put in place infra-structural services to support its financial services sector. It has expertise in legal and accounting services to provide necessary business operations and information to this sector. In addition, Barbados has modern communication facilities including direct distance dialing to all parts of the world. International telecommunications are facilitated by reliable high-speed data transfer through fiber optic cables to allow up to T1 connection. Businesses both offshore and onshore can avail themselves of various services, including digital subscriber lines (DSL), automatic telex, worldwide facsimile transfer, and international private leased circuits for voice and data. Barbados has a rapidly growing number of headquarter companies and the offshore businesses are well served by skilled human resources. From the outset, Barbados was determined to present itself as a low-tax jurisdiction, and not as a tax haven. Investors who choose to use Barbados to structure their investments can do so using different vehicles.
These vehicles fall under the following pieces of legislation:
– International Business Company (IBC) Act Cap.77
– International Financial Services Act Cap.325
– Exempt Insurance Act Cap. 308A
– Societies with Restricted Liability Act Cap.318B
– The International Trusts Act Cap.245;
Barbados’ Investment Framework
What distinguishes Barbados from other offshore locations is its relatively large pool of highly educated, motivated and trainable personnel, its reputation for quality, its network of tax and investment treaties and its lower operating costs. Among the advantages in choosing Barbados are: – Advanced communications infrastructure – Political stability – Well developed corporate and support services infrastructure – Strong links with Britain and Canada – Offshore incentives – Manufacturing incentives – An incentive regime for Offshore Banks – Free trade agreements – Sophisticated banking system – Excellent air/sea links to world markets in North and South America and Europe – Tax holidays and other incentives for tourism and hotel projects – Modern Shipping registry – Income tax concessions to employees of companies operating in the international business sector – Competitive cost structure – Unique cosmopolitan life-style – No estate or succession duties – Well-established confidentiality laws Barbados acknowledges that economic prosperity is increasingly based on the creation and exploitation of knowledge and that the current shift to knowledge-based economies is reflected in the externalization of certain activities by industrial firms. This phenomenon has created considerable opportunities for small states such as Barbados. Barbados recognizes that trade in services is growing rapidly and this is likely to continue at an even faster rate in the future. Barbados sees services as the most viable option for future development and has sought to diversify its services sectors to keep up with global trends. With this in mind the Government of Barbados has articulated a renewed vision for the future development of Barbados into a first world economy premised on the expansion and diversification of the services sector. Through its array of special legislative measures and expanding investment treaty network and with an indigenous crop of world-class service providers located in our jurisdiction, the Government is focusing on creating Barbados as an international financial and wealth management centre of choice. Barbados has built up a clear strength in a range of service exports including professional services, technical testing and analysis, telecommunications, health, services incidental to mining, distributional services, and communications services.