The key considerations for business travelers exercising employment in Barbados are the determination of residency and the obtaining of a work permit before commencing employment.
Liability for income tax
Under the provisions of the Income Tax Act of Barbados (ITA) an individual is resident in Barbados in an income year when they spend more than 182 days in Barbados in that income year, or is ordinarily resident in Barbados in the relevant income year. An individual is considered to be resident in Barbados in an income year if they have a permanent home in Barbados and have given notice to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue that they intend to reside in Barbados for a period of at least 2 consecutive income years, including the current income year.
Permanent home means accommodation in Barbados, which is permanently available for the use of the person in question, but does not include accommodation retained for his/her use in Barbados solely as a vacation property. The ITA does not define domicile but makes reference to the calculation of assessable income for a person who is resident but not domiciled.
Resident taxpayers are taxable on their worldwide income. Income from various sources and categories are aggregated and the tax thereon computed. Non-domiciled residents (companies and individuals) are subject to tax on income derived from Barbados and on foreign-sourced income, provided the income is remitted to Barbados. Non-residents are subject to tax on income derived from Barbados only.
Types of taxable income
The assessable income of residents includes income from business, profession, property, offices, employment and, specifically, dividends and interest arising outside Barbados such as royalties, annuities, directors’ and other fees, retirement allowances and partnership profits. However, some categories of income are subject to final withholding tax at the source.
Tax trigger points and tax rates
Taxable income is assessable income less allowable deductions. The income tax rates are 17.5 percent on the first 35,000 Barbados dollars (BBD) (17,500 US dollars (USD)) of taxable income and 35 percent thereafter.
There is a basic personal allowance of BBD25,000 (USD12,500). The personal allowance is BBD40,000 (USD20,000) for pensioners who are 60 years of age or over and receive a pension. An allowance of BBD3,000 (USD1,500) annually is also available in respect of a spouse who had no income for the income year, was wholly supported by and lived with the taxpayer in the year. In addition, an allowance of BBD1,000 (USD500) is available in respect of the support of each of (but not more than) two children of the taxpayer.
However, for a non-resident, no deductions or allowances in respect of the calculation of assessable income shall be made in respect of income or the production of income not derived from Barbados.
Consolidation Tax (CT)
Liability for Consolidation Tax
The Consolidation Tax Act (CTA) provides for the imposition of a tax on the gross income from all sources of individuals with gross income exceeding BBD50,000 (USD25,000) in any income year. The tax, called “consolidation tax” (CT), came into effect on 1 September, 2013 and is expected to be eliminated by March 31, 2015. It is calculated on an individual’s gross income at the following rates:
|50,000 to 75,000
|75,001 to 100,000
|100,001 to 200,000
The CTA applies a specific rate to annual gross income of individuals from all sources rather than varying rates to income layers.
The CT is applied to expatriate employees eligible for exemptions under special enactment on their gross income less exemptions.
Liability for social security
Under the provisions of the National Insurance and Social Security Act of Barbados (the Act), any person over the age of 16 years and under pensionable age, who is gainfully employed in Barbados under a contract of service, is required to be insured under the Act. The rates of national insurance contributions for employees are 10.10 percent and for employers 11.25 percent, up to a maximum insurable earnings of BBD4,360 (USD2,180) per month from income in the year 2014.
Where a reciprocal agreement exists between Barbados and an individual’s home country, the individuals may apply to continue paying social security in their home country and be exempt from contributions in Barbados.
Employee compliance obligations
For employees, the tax year is the calendar year. Individuals are required to file an income tax return on or before 30 April of the year following the income year, where their assessable income is greater than BBD25,000 (USD12,500). Note that spouses are taxed separately and there is no option for joint taxation.
Employer reporting and withholding requirements
A wages tax system applies in accordance with which the employer deducts tax whenever any payment of remunerations is made to an employee. Under the provisions of the ITA, every person paying to any other person salary or wages shall deduct or withhold there from such amount as is prescribed, and shall (at such time as is prescribed) pay the amount deducted or withheld to the Commissioner as a prepayment of tax for the person to whom that amount would otherwise have been paid.
The rate of tax for individuals is 17.5 percent of every complete dollar of taxable income up to and including BBD35,000 (USD17,500); and 35 percent of every complete dollar of taxable income above BBD35,000. This amount is to be deducted from salary and remitted to the Department of Inland Revenue within 15 days after the period to which it relates.
Consolidation Tax (CT)
Employers are required to deduct, withhold and remit consolidation tax on a similar basis to income tax which is payable under the ITA (PAYE). The relevant amount must be remitted to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue no later than the fifteenth of the month following the month in which the deduction was made as a prepayment of CT of the individual.
National Insurance Scheme (NIS)
The employee’s national insurance contribution should be deducted from salary and remitted along with the employer’s portion to the NIS office within 15 days after the period to which it relates.
Double taxation treaties
Double taxation relief may be obtained either under domestic law or by tax treaty.
Barbados has 33 double taxation treaties in force with other countries including the multi-lateral Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Treaty, which is counted as 10.
Permanent establishment implications
The term ‘permanent establishment’ is defined as a fixed place of business, through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on.
Under the provisions of the ITA, where services are contracted (directly or indirectly) to be performed in Barbados by non-residents other than by way of carrying on business through a fixed base, the individuals in Barbados who are under a contractual liability to pay for those services shall withhold the prescribed amount from the gross earnings of those non-residents and shall immediately thereafter (or at such other time as the Commissioner prescribes) pay to the Commissioner the amount withheld as payment in full of the tax payable in respect of those earnings.
Under the provisions of value-added tax (VAT), a person is required to register for VAT purposes if they supply goods and services in Barbados in the course of a business or other “taxable activity”, and if their annual taxable supplies are BBD80,000 (USD40,000) or more. Registration allows a person to recover all or part of their input tax incurred on purchases for use in their taxable activities.
A company carrying on international business is not required to be registrable for VAT purposes. Any VAT suffered is refundable on filing of the VAT return on the prescribed form. The company has up to 2 years within which to file the VAT returns, which must be accompanied by original receipts.
The VAT rate applicable to standard rated taxable supplies is currently 17.5 percent. There is a concessionary rate of 8.75 percent for hotel accommodationand a zero rate on certain supplies. Exempt supplies are not subject to VAT.
Where a transaction of purchase and sale to which a person carrying on business in Barbados is a party:
- the vendor controls the purchaser
- the purchaser controls the vendor
- the purchaser or the spouse of the purchaser is a relative of the vendor or the spouse of the vendor, with effect that the transaction does not take place at arm’s-length and the price is other than the fair market value, then, in calculating the assessable income of the vendor or the purchaser from carrying on business in Barbados, the transaction shall be deemed to have taken place at a price equal to the fair market value.
In addition, where the main purpose of a transaction is the artificial reduction of the assessable income of a person, then in calculating the assessable income of the individuals participating in the transaction, that transaction shall be disregarded or be deemed to be modified, whichever is more appropriate to achieve the effect that the transaction no longer results in the artificial reduction of the assessable income of that person.
Work permit/visa requirements
Under the provisions of the Immigration Act of the laws of Barbados a person who is not a citizen, permanent resident, etc., may not in engage in any occupation or accept employment without having first obtained a written permit for the purpose granted by the Minister. Additionally a person may not engage or employ another person who is not a citizen, permanent resident, etc., unless there is a work permit in force in relation to that other person and for the purpose of that engagement or employment.
Other immigration considerations
Local data privacy requirements
The legislation relating to data protection has not yet been enacted. However, it is expected that the Act will provide for the regulation of the collection, keeping, processing, use or dissemination of personal data; the protection of the privacy of individuals in relation to personal data; and matters related thereto.
Barbados has exchange control rules. Residents and non-residents are allowed to carry out foreign currency transactions but must first seek the permission of the Exchange Control Authority of the Central Bank of Barbados. Direct investment in Barbados by a non-resident investor is allowed, but this must be registered with the Exchange Control Authority. No one, other than an authorized dealer, is permitted to hold foreign currency in Barbados without the permission of the Exchange Control Authority.
All residents and non-residents and/or domestic companies are required to seek the permission of the Exchange Control Authority for any transaction in which any one of the parties is a non-resident individual or legal entity.
Non-deductible costs for assignees
Amounts withheld under NIS are not deductible. In addition, a disbursement or expense for the support of that person or their family, or for any other domestic or private purpose, is not deductible in calculating assessable income.