St. Christopher (St. Kitts) is located in the northern sector of the Antilles chain of islands in the Eastern Caribbean. St. Kitts and Nevis form a twin island federation. Flight time from New York is 4 hours. The native language is English, and the currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XC$). St. Kitts is an independent, self-governing state based on the Westminster model of government following independence from Britain in 1983, and is a stable parliamentary democracy. Queen Elizabeth II is head of State and is represented on the islands by a Governor-General. Basseterre is the capital of St. Kitts as well as the administrative capital of the Federation. The approximate population is 42,000. Below are some of the characteristics of an International Business Company as well as opportunities available to investors:
- Business Legislation
- Banking and Professional Services
- Citizenship By Investment
- Reporting Requirements
- Restrictions on Name and Activity
- Local Requirements
- Tax Treaties
- Company Mobility
There are two laws governing companies in the Federation, namely: -The Companies Act 1996, which has effect in St. Kitts and Nevis, and The Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance 1984 has effect only in Nevis.
Banking and Professional Services
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and The Eastern Home mortgage Bank are headquarters in St. Kitts. Three international banks are represented in St. Kitts and two in Nevis. There are several accounting firms and law firms of international standing. A full range of legal, accounting, management and trust company services are available.
A minimum of one shareholder is required and either registered or bearer shares may be issued. Bearer shares must be deposited with a regulated company in St. Kitts. Nominee shareholder service is available for registered shares.
A private company must have at least one director. Every company must have a secretary and may have one or more assistant secretaries who, or each of whom, may be an individual or a body corporate. Every company must hold an annual general meeting unless all the members of a private company agree in writing that an annual general meeting should be dispensed with, then so long as that agreement has effect, that company is dispensed from holding an annual general meeting.
No annual returns required.
There is substantial flexibility as to naming your company, yet certain words are prohibited.
All companies must have a registered office in the Federation to which communications and notices may be addressed, however a registered agent is not required.
Every company must keep a register of members but inspection of the register by persons who are not members or officers of the company is not permitted in the case of a private company which is an exempt company (i.e. a company which is exempt from all taxes under the Companies Act).
The Federation is party to double taxation treaties with Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (limited to social security benefits).There are no Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties in effect.
Companies are exempt from all taxes as long as they conduct their business exclusively with person or persons whom are not resident in the Federation.
A company is called an exempt company if it qualifies for the tax exemption mentioned above. An ordinary company is a company which is not an exempt company.
No estate, inheritance, succession or gift tax, rate, duty, levy or other charge is payable by any person with regard to any property owned by, or securities issued or created by or in respect of, an exempt company.
No stamp duty or other tax is payable by any person with regard to any transaction in any securities issued or created by or in respect of an exempt company.
Individuals and ordinary companies remitting payments to persons outside of the Federation must deduct 10% withholding tax from profits, administration, management or head office expenses, technical service fees, accounting and audit expenses, royalties, non-life insurance premiums and rent.
This tax does not apply to trusts, limited partnerships and exempt companies or to enterprises which have been granted a tax concession.
There is a capital gains tax of 20% on profits or gains derived from a transaction relating to assets located in the Federation which are disposed of within one year of the date of their acquisition.
The legislation allows for redomiciling of private exempt companies.
Citizenship By Investment
Foreign individuals can obtain citizenship under sub-section (5) of Section 3 of the Citizenship Act 1984 which stipulates that a person is entitled, upon making application to the Minister in the prescribed manner and upon payment of any fee that may be prescribed, to be registered as a citizen of the Federation without any rights of voting under and in accordance with the provision of any law governing the qualification of voters, if Cabinet is satisfied that such person has invested substantially in the Federation.
The minimum investment requirement may be satisfied in any of the following ways:
- A minimum of the equivalent in XCD of USD 200,000 in 10-year Treasury Bonds issued and guaranteed by the Federation (Treasury Bonds are issued at their nominal or par value and no interest is paid on the). or
- A minimum of the equivalent in XCD of USD 250,000 in an investment project approved after March 1996 or
- A minimum of the equivalent in XCD of USD 150,000 in a real estate development approved before March 1996
The registration fees currently in force are the XCD equivalents of:
- USD 35,000 for head of household (male or female)
- USD 15,000 for spouse
- USD 35,000 for each adult family member or other adult.
Each citizenship certificate of registration is USD 47 and the cost for each passport is USD 13.
The appropriate citizenship registration fees must be paid to the Government at the time of making the application. Funds for the payment of the required investment must be deposited by the applicant with a bank in St. Kitts. If the application is accepted, then the bank will be requested to release the funds to pay for the required investment. If the application is not accepted, the fees paid to the Government and the funds for the payment of the required investment will be returned to the unsuccessful applicant.
Every citizenship application must be made on the prescribed form which must be submitted together with various documents relating to the applicant's identity, civil status, criminal record, financial resources, and health. All documents must be in English or translated into English, and all photocopies of any document submitted must be notarized and properly certified.
A passport is valid for ten years, unless otherwise stated. It remains the property of the Government of the Federation and may be withdrawn at any time. Citizens of the Federation who are also citizens of foreign countries cannot avail themselves of the protection of the representative of the Federation, against the authorities of that foreign country, and are not exempt by reason of possessing the citizenship of the Federation from any obligation (such as military service) to which they may be liable under foreign law. A person having some connection with a Commonwealth or foreign country (i.e. by birth, by decent through either parent, by marriage or by residence) may be a national of that country, in addition to being a national of the Federation. Acquisition of the nationality of the Federation by a foreigner does not necessarily cause the loss of nationality of origin.