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Saint Kitts: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Introduction

St.Kitts and Nevis offshore legislation, which applies on both islands, includes the Companies Act 1996 and the Trusts Act 1996. A Merchant Shipping Act and Foundation Act were added in 2002 and 2003.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has however aimed primarily at attracting industrial and tourist investment with very tax-friendly incentive legislation under the Fiscal Incentives Act 1974 and the Hotel Aids Ordinance.

Nevis emerged as an offshore jurisdiction after enacting its Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance in 1984, based upon American corporate law of the state of Delaware. Trusts are created under the Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance of 1994, as amended to September 2000. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) which have emerged as Nevis's star product, are formed under the Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance, 1995. Mutual funds were added to Nevis's offshore product range with the Nevis International Mutual Funds Ordinance 2004. Captive insurance companies were added by the Captive Insurance Companies Act 2006.

All offshore finance businesses in the Federation need authorisation under the Financial Services (Regulations) Order, 1997. This includes deposit-taking business, investment business, insurance business, trust business and corporate service provision.

Saint Kitts and Nevis maintains a high level of confidentiality for offshore entities under the Confidential Relationships Act of 1985. The Confidentiality Act safeguards investors by prohibiting disclosure of any information obtained in the course of business. The law is considered to provide the most rigid secrecy in the Caribbean region as it applies to banks and professionals as well as Government officials.

 

 

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