St. Kitts and Nevis
Nevis forms part of the twin-island Federation known as St. Kitts and Nevis. It is located in the Eastern Caribbean, approximately 230 miles from Puerto Rico. Nevis has come under scrutiny in the past and faced challenges to regain offshore business and become a thriving Offshore Financial Center (OFC).
These challenges mirror the unilateral actions of the larger world banks, which have documented blacklists, classifications of customers, reports from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Stability Forum (FSF). These blacklists are the documentation providing world authorities and advisories about economic sabotage and money laundering and consequently impose economic sanctions.
Nevis has responded to the negativity and the challenges. Since the FATF alleges that the named jurisdictions were not doing enough in the fight against money laundering, Nevis has been committed to maintaining the highest degree of integrity and ensuring that only qualified and reputable persons are allowed to conduct business in its jurisdiction. Now extensive due diligence is completed to ensure legitimate business activity and background checks are conducted on all applicants.
The Financial Intelligence Unit Act created a new body responsible for collecting, receiving, analyzing and disseminating information relating to criminal proceeds and suspicious transactions and to investigate incidents or reports of money laundering. Furthermore, on the 8th day of November, 2000, the Nevis Island Assembly enacted the Nevis Offshore Banking (Amendment) Ordinance 2000. The enactment rests all regulatory jurisdiction over offshore banks in the hands of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. This action addresses the concern of the FATF and the CFATF with regard to the need for increased supervision of financial institutions.
Nevis has continued their commitment to privacy by new amendments to the changes in the Fraudulent Conveyance Provisions accomplishing the following :
· limiting the claims of a creditor alleging fraudulent conveyance to the property transferred in an alleged fraudulent transfer,
· defining a cause of action for purposes of starting the limitations time period as the earliest cause of action capable of assertion by the creditor against the settlor;
· requiring the creditor who wishes to allege fraudulent conveyance in the Nevis judicial proceeding to make all possible claims against all possible parties, including possibly the trust beneficiaries, at the time when the claims are first made, or risk being unable to raise such claims in future proceedings involving any such parties with a material interest and
· expanding the definition of creditor for these purposes to include not only those persons who allege a cause of action, but also any judgment creditor or assignee of a creditor.
The Confidential Relationship Act 1985 governs privacy of information; this act prohibits the disclosure of any information obtained in the course of business, and applies to banks, and professionals as well as Government officials. The act provides prison sentences for violation of secrecy provisions and insures complete confidentiality where foreign authorities seek private banking and financial records. Nevis has not entered into any exchange of information agreements.
A trustee is not required to register the beneficiaries of a trust. Moreover, a company or trustee wishing to open a bank account need not disclose the beneficial owner or beneficiaries. This provision applies to limited partnerships as well.
The confidentiality and the privacy of international trusts are ensured by legislation. Though a trust register is maintained, it only records the name of the trust and the date of settlement and is not a public document available for inspection. The only exception is where a trustee of a specific trust gives written authorization to a person allowing the inspection of the entry of that trust on the register. The Ordinance provides that all non-criminal judicial proceedings relating to the trust shall be heard in private and that no details may be published without leave of the court.
Trusts formed under the new Ordinance may claim the benefits of the Ordinance only if they are properly registered under the Ordinance within 45 days of creation. Such a provision would preclude trusts formed under the statutes of another jurisdiction from ever migrating or fleeing to Nevis . By definition, these trusts are not Nevis trusts and could not be expected to be registered in Nevis as a Nevis trust until it migrates in long after creation.
To address this issue, the Amendment provides that a foreign trust for which future migration might be a possibility should register with the Nevis registrar as a foreign trust, thereby becoming a “qualified foreign trust” (QFT). In so doing, it preserves the trust's ability to make such a move in the future if and when the need arises. This trust must be registered with the registrar within 45 days of the date on which the trust is created, settled or established.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has entered into a double taxation treaty with the United Kingdom , based on the OECD Model.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is party to double taxation treaties with Denmark , New Zealand , Norway , Sweden , Switzerland , and the United Kingdom .
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has entered into a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States .
Nevis taxes income on a source basis. Income earned outside Nevis is not taxed in Nevis . There is no Nevis income tax for individuals.
Corporations incorporated under the Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance 1984 do not have to submit annual returns and are exempt from Nevis tax. Corporations incorporated under the Companies Act 1885 are subject to a profit tax levied at a rate of 50%. Such companies may qualify for a tax holiday of up to 15 years for an approved project, as well as for exemptions on customs duty on imported goods. Limited liability companies incorporated under the Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance 1995 are fully exempt from corporate tax, income tax, withholding tax, stamp duty, asset tax, or other taxes on income originating outside Nevis .
There is no capital gains tax or withholding tax in Nevis . Nevis nationals pay a social services levy of 2% and a social security tax of 5%. There are import duties on certain goods, and there is a land tax that is based on the rental value of buildings and land.
Companies are not required to be audited, but they must have a local registered office. The name and address of the person or entity forming the company must be kept at the local office.
Nevis Trust Laws
The following criteria outline the qualifications for a Nevis International Exempt Trust.
1) At least one trustee must be either a trust company doing business in Nevis or a company incorporated under the NBCO.
2) The settler and beneficiaries must at all times be non-residents of Nevis .
3) The trust property must not include any land situated in Nevis or its sister island, St. Kitts.
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