Individual income tax rates in Cura├žao are progressive up to 38%. A surtax of 30% kknown as island surcharge also applies. Therefore, the tax rate is 49.4%.
Taxable income (ANG) Tax on lowest amount (ANG) Tax Rate on excess
up to 25,514 - 10%
25,514 to 38,271 2,551.40 16%
38,271 to 53,154 4,592.50 21%
53,154 to 79,730 7,717.90 27%
79,730 to 112,685 14,893.40 32%
Over 112,685 25,439.00 38%
The social security contribution rate is 9.35%. Certain types of income may benefit from special rates of 5% (savings income) or 15% (substantial interest income).
Employment income is subject to wage tax and social security contributions (levied by withholding). Several deductions and allowances may be available.
Qualifying pensioners (penshonado) may benefit from a special regime. An individual of at least 50 years of age who was a resident of a foreign country for at least 60 consecutive months prior to taking up residence in the Netherlands Antilles may qualify as penshonado after requesting a residence permit. The individual is also required to purchase a residence in the Netherlands Antilles with a value of at least ANG 450,000 within 18 months after registration with the civil register. In addition, the individual's income must be derived from foreign sources, such as pensions or dividends and capital gains derived from investments made primarily outside the Netherlands Antilles, interest on funds held in Netherlands Antilles bank accounts, or, from another foreign source such as an annuity. The penshonado may choose between being taxed at the rate of 10% on worldwide foreign-source income or on a fixed amount of ANG 500,000 at the normal rates. In the latter case, he will not be entitled to the benefits of the Tax Regulation for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Once the individual has made an election, it will apply for at least three years.
Individuals resident in Cura├žao are subject to personal income tax on their worldwide income. Non-residents are liable for personal income tax only on Cura├žao source income. The residence of an individual is determined by actual circumstances in respect of the centre of his vital interests. One of the most relevant considerations is whether the individual has permanent personal or economic ties with the Netherlands Antilles.
The tax year equals the calendar year. With the exception of employment income, business income and certain periodical payments, the net income of married persons is considered to be joint income for tax purposes from the first tax year commencing after the date of marriage.
Individual income tax is levied on the total net annual income derived in the Netherlands Antilles or abroad. The tax is assessed each year on the aggregate of the net amounts from each category of income realised during the preceding year.
There are four categories of income, namely:
(1) income from real estate (an exemption is available for capital gains)
(2) income from movable capital (an exemption is available for capital gains)
(3) business and employment income; and
(4) rights on periodical payments.
The Inheritance Tax Act provides for two forms of taxes, gift tax and inheritance tax. In general, these taxes are payable by the person receiving a donation or an inheritance. There are several exemptions for both gift tax and inheritance tax depending on the circumstances. The rates are the same for both taxes and depend on the value of what is received and the degree of the relationship. There is a minimum rate of 2% and a maximum rate of 24%.
Basis - Cura├žao residents are taxed on their worldwide income. Nonresidents are taxed only on Cura├žao source income.
Residence - An individual is resident if he/she spends more than 3 months of the tax year in the Netherlands Antilles.
Tax Filing status - Joint filing is not permitted. Each individual must file a separate tax return.
Taxable income - Income is taxed under a schedular system. Employment income, including most employment benefits, and profits derived from the carrying on of a business by an individual, are taxable.
Capital gains - Capital gains are included in profits and taxed at the normal rates.
Tax Deductions and tax allowances - Subject to certain restrictions, deductions are granted for medical expenses and insurance, retirement annuities, mortgage interest, etc. Personal allowances are available to the taxpayer and his/her spouse, children and other dependents.
Other taxes on individuals:
Capital duty - No
Stamp duty - No
Capital acquisitions tax - No
Net wealth/net worth tax - No
Inheritance/estate tax - Both an inheritance and gift tax apply.
Social security - Employed and self-employed individuals are required to make social insurance payments, with the amount based on the individual's salary. The social security system covers on the national level old age (AOV), widows and orphans (AWW) and exceptional medical expenses (AVBZ) and on the employer-level sickness (ZV) and accident insurance (OV). The collection of the taxes and social security contributions is being divided between the Island Collector (EO), the Land Collector (LO) and the Social Security Bank (SVB).
Cura├žao Tax year - Curacao tax year is the calendar year.
Tax Filing and tax payment - A self-assessment regime applies in Cura├žao. The tax return must be filed within 3 months after the year end.
Penalties - The Inspectorate of Taxes will levy a fine if the tax return is filed too late.
Cura├žao corporate tax rate is a flat 34.5% (30% plus 15% island surtax) which applies to all companies.
With the introduction of the New Fiscal Framework (NFF) which came into force on January 1, 2000, the Offshore Regime in Cura├žao is abolished. The offshore tax rates for N.V.'s also have been abolished, but tax rates for offshore N.V.'s have been grandfathered up to the year 2019 as part of the transitional legislation.
With the New Fiscal Framework in force, a NABV (limited liability company) in Cura├žao is subject to a flat 34.5% profit tax on its worldwide income.
Below you can find some basic information about the New Fiscal Framework (NFF), and taxes applying to different types of businesses in Cura├žao.
The New Fiscal Framework (NFF) - Abolition of the Offshore Regime
On December 29, 1999, The Netherlands Antilles has approved three tax bills, which are known as the New Fiscal Framework (NFF). The NFF came into force retroactively to January 1, 2001.
The most important features of the NFF are:
Abolition of the offshore regime. The distinction between offshore taxpayers and onshore taxpayers was in principle abolished as of January 1, 2001. The NFF provides for a 34.5% flat rate (consisting of a 30% profit tax rate and 15% island surtax), which is applicable to all taxpayers. This flat rate is applicable from January 1, 2000.
Transitional legislation. The NFF provides for a transitional legislation granting the advantages of the present offshore regime to qualifying offshore companies incorporated before January 1, 2002, provided certain conditions are met. These companies can benefit from the present offshore regime until the year 2019. However, taking into account the level one commitment of the Netherlands Antilles Minister of Finance to the OECD with respect to the abolishment of harmful tax regimes in the Netherlands Antilles, the grand fathering period may be shortened.
The elements of the NFF in the Profit Tax Ordinance are as follows:
- Introduction of a Tax Exempt Company (NABV) i.e., a company that is exempt from both the corporate income tax and the new dividend withholding tax.
- Introduction of a participation exemption.
- Extensions of the period for loss carry forward.
- Introduction of merger provisions.
- Introduction of a fiscal unity treatment (consolidated tax group).
The NABV is a limited liability company with very flexible corporate regulations for easier access and understanding by clients from both civil law and common law jurisdictions.
- must be incorporated by at least one person or entity
- the articles of incorporation can be made in any language that the notary understands
- is subject to a profit tax of 34.5% on the net profit. Nevertheless through tax treaties and in case of some specific activities a lower rate may be applied
- the capital of an NABV may not be negative. At least one voting share with the right to participate in the profit must be issued and remain outstanding at all times;
- can issue non-voting shares
- all shares must be registered. Bearer shares cannot be issued
- the board of directors must consist of at least one Managing Director who must be a resident of Cura├žao (individual or legal entity
- must prepare annual financial statements
- general meetings of shareholders must be held in Cura├žao
- must obtain an offshore business and director's license in order to be operative
- must obtain a foreign exchange license to be exempted from paying 1.3% Government Tax for payments to foreign countries.
The NABV is subject to a flat 34.5% profit tax on its worldwide income (consisting of a 30% profit tax rate and 15% island surtax)
The NABV can use the fiscal incentives under the NFFNA for international tax planning
In case of receiving dividends from a Dutch B.V. the effective tax rate can be as low as 1.7%.
The NABV can apply to be exempted from taxes under the following conditions:
- the board of directors holds a shareholders register containing the names and addresses of the ultimate beneficial owners having an interest of 10% or more in the NABV;
- the board of directors consist only of one or more individuals resident of the Netherlands Antilles or licensed Trust Service Providers;
- annual financial statements must be made and audited;
- the statutory purpose and actual activities of the NABV are exclusively: portfolio investments, financing and holding of term deposits;
- The NABV may not act as a bank or other financial institution, which is under the supervision of the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles.
Tax treaties are not applicable for the NABV with a tax exempt status In case of the above mentioned the NABV cannot make use of any tax treaties, which may be favourable to it.
The Naamloze Vennootschap, abbreviated as N.V. is the traditional Limited Liability Company with its capital divided into shares and may be compared with the Spanish S.A. and the U.S. Corporation.
With the introduction of the New Fiscal Framework of the Netherlands Antilles (NFFNA) on January 1, 2000, the offshore tax rates for N.V.'s have been abolished. These tax rates for offshore N.V.'s have been grandfathered up to the year 2019. The N.V. can still be used for international tax planning under the NFFNA.
Major Aspects of the N.V.
- must be incorporated by at least one individual or entity
- must obtain a declaration of no objection from the Minister of Justice on its articles of incorporation
- the time frame of incorporating the N.V. is approximately ten working days;
- the capital of a N.V. must be at least $30,000 of which at least 20% must be issued and remain outstanding at all times
- can issue non-voting shares and the shares must have a par value;
- the shareholders are not personally liable for the actions of the N.V. towards third parties
- the board of directors must consist of at least one Managing Director who must be a resident of Cura├žao (individual or legal entity)
- must prepare annually financial statements, which are to be approved by the annual meeting of shareholders
- general meetings of shareholders must be held in Cura├žao
The N.V. having non-resident shareholder(s), an offshore business license and a foreign exchange license qualifies for the offshore tax rates.
The offshore N.V. has been abolished with the introduction of the NFR as per 1st of January 2000.
The offshore tax rates will be grandfathered and are in effect up to the year 2019 for offshore N.V.'s incorporated prior to July 1999 and may under certain conditions also apply for offshore N.V.'s incorporated prior to January 1, 2000.
Major Aspects of the Offshore N.V.
- the offshore N.V. must obtain an offshore business and director's license in order to be operative
- the offshore N.V. must obtain a foreign exchange license to be exempted from paying 1.3% Government Tax for payments to foreign countries
- the offshore N.V. is only allowed to conduct business outside of the Netherlands Antilles.
Purpose of the Offshore N.V.
The standard purpose clause of the offshore N.V. provides for:
- portfolio investments
- investments in real estate in general
- acquisition of royalties
- acting as a holding company
The offshore N.V. is allowed to conduct offshore banking as well as other activities, which would make it a credit or financial institution. A special banking license would be required by the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles.ÔÇĘÔÇĘ
Offshore Tax Rates
The N.V. is subject to a profit tax on its worldwide income. The 1940 Profit Tax Ordinance (as amended) grants special reduced tax rates to the offshore N.V. These special tax rates are applicable to offshore portfolio investments, holding, finance, and royalty companies.
The profit tax rates are from 2.4% on the first Awg 100,000 or US$ 56,000 and 3% on the balance. Capital gains derived by the above types of offshore N.V.'s are exempted from taxes and capital losses are not deductible.
Profits derived from real estate located outside of the Netherlands Antilles are not subject to profit tax in the Netherlands Antilles.
Offshore N.V.'s that receive management, consultancy trading or any other income which does not qualify for the aforementioned special low rates, are subject to a profit tax rate of 24% to 30%. However in many cases it is possible to obtain a special tax ruling from the Inspector of Taxes reducing the effective tax rate.ÔÇĘ
An offshore N.V. which does business through a permanent establishment outside the Netherlands Antilles and which is subjected to tax in that country will be taxed in the Netherlands Antilles at 2.4% to 3%.
There are no withholding taxes in Cura├žao on dividend, royalties and interest paid by an offshore N.V.
Cura├žao Private Foundation
General Information on the Private Foundation
The Netherlands Antilles have amended the laws regulating the foundation creating a Private Foundation (Stichting Particulier Fonds, abbreviated SPF) especially for international tax planning purposes, such as international asset management & estate planningÔÇĘÔÇĘThe SPF is a legal entity without shareholders or members and stands on its own. The purposes of the SPF are to the same extent as that of an Anglo-Saxon Trust, with the exception that it is regulated according to civil law and not common law.
Major Aspects of the SPF
- is a legal entity without shareholders or members and consisting of a board of directors and beneficiaries as yet to be named. A supervisory board may be installed as well as a protector
- must be incorporated by at least one founder
- is exempted from profit tax and gift taxes in the Netherlands Antilles
- the assets or capital brought into an SPF must be at least $ 60,000 (Nafl. 100,000)
- is allowed to make distributions to beneficiaries, being the incorporators and/or others
- is not allowed to run a business or enterprise for profit. Nevertheless, managing its assets, to act as a holding company and actively investing in its assets is not considered as "running a business for profit". There are no limits on the type of investments
- the board must consist of at least one Director who must be a resident of Cura├žao (individual or legal entity)
- must prepare annual financial statements
- the Tax Inspector may require for the SPF to file tax returns with financial statements to verify that the SPF is not running a business or enterprise for profit
- must obtain a foreign exchange license to be exempted from paying 1.3% Government Tax for payments to foreign countries
- the SPF is very flexible and its articles of incorporation can contain a wide variety of regulations and stipulations regarding the managing of the assets and the distribution of the profits made
- The SPF is exempted from profit tax in the Netherlands Antilles (insofar no business or enterprise is conducted for profit)
- Distributions or gifts made by the SPF to beneficiaries or third parties are exempt from gift taxes in the Netherlands Antilles
- Contribution of assets or capital to the SPF by a non-resident is not subject to gift taxes in the Netherlands Antilles
- Contribution of assets or capital made by a resident of the Netherlands Antilles is subject to a gift tax rate of 25%.
E-Zones (Cura├žao Economic Zone Companies)
Companies with registered address in an Economic Zones in Cura├žao which meet the conditions of the Ordinance, are subject to profit tax at a rate of 2% on profits obtained from export until January 1, 2022 whereas no import duties, turnover tax and property tax are applicable. The company must be able to generate at least 75% of yearly sales outside of Cura├žao. Economic Zones are intended for export-oriented companies.
Also, expatriated employees working in the E-zone will qualify for a so- called 'expat ruling' that offers considerable tax advantages to both the employer and employee.
To qualify for the favourable tax rate, the company must be registered in a so-called E-zone. Only companies with capital divided in shares qualify for establishment. This can be a Netherlands Antilles limited liability company, but also a foreign company, for example with its seat transferred from the Netherlands.
E-zones are as such designated areas by the island authorities that have to meet all kinds of conditions. The E-zones are set up and maintained by E- zone operators, who offer domicile and services to E-Zone companies. To qualify for establishment in an E-Zone a company must file an application with the island authorities. Thereby it is assessed whether the company can be considered to contribute to the economic development of the Netherlands Antilles by advancement of employment, currency intake and the trade reputation of the country. In addition, the company must meet a number of formal conditions.
The activities of an E-Zone company must be aimed at exporting goods or performing services for international customers. In respect of 'services' the National Ordinance explicitly mentions 'trade - and trade supporting and other service granting activities which can be performed with or for electronic communication'.
In light of the above, the E-Zone can be considered an excellent alternative for conducting all kinds of e-commerce business, such as match making, brokerage, internet gaming, software downloads, product keys and product updates.
In the same sense the E-Zone can be considered a good alternative for trading activities with transactions taking place on a server in the E-Zone.
The low profit tax and absence of other taxes in the E-Zone offer an improved performance and as a result, a stronger and more competitive position. This is especially attractive for companies that obtain and offer their goods and services in an international market.
OTHER TAXES IN CURA├çAO
Property Transfer Tax (Overdrachtsbelasting)
A 4% property transfer tax is levied on the acquisition of real estate situated in Cura├žao. Cura├žao does not levy capital duty on the issued share capital of a NV.
Net Worth Tax
No net worth tax is levied in Cura├žao.
Land Taxes (Grondbelasting)
A land tax is levied on real estate located in Cura├žao at an annual rate of 0.5% on the value of undeveloped land and 0.6% of the value of built-up land. The 15% island surcharge also is applicable.
Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT)
Benefits in kind are fully taxable on the basis of their real value. Fringe benefits include free housing, free cost and lodging. Certain fringe benefits are not taxed. For expatriates, a beneficial tax treatment towards certain fringe benefits is available.
Cura├žao does not levy withholding taxes on dividends, interests, royalties and rentals nor on personal services. A Dividend Withholding Tax Act has been introduced, and will enter into force on a date to be set by Decree.
Inheritance tax is levied on gifts and death. The tax rate ranges from 2% to 24% depending on the relationship to the deceased and the size of the capital.
In 1999, Cura├žao introduced a turnover tax. The rate of Turnover Tax is 5%.
Turnover tax is levied on the provision of services and deliveries by entrepreneurs and companies. A limited number of services and deliveries are exempt. "Services" do not include advisory and management services provided to or by offshore companies and offshore banks.
The turnover tax both in Cura├žao is a cumulative tax. There is no credit for input turnover tax when goods or services are delivered at a subsequent level of the transactional chain. The turnover tax, however, is deductible for the calculation of the taxable profit for profit tax purposes. The tax is levied from entrepreneurs established in the Netherlands Antilles.
Cura├žao levy excise duties on beer, cigarettes, liquor and petrol.
An entrepreneur liable to the turnover tax must file a declaration with the Tax Inspectorate before the 16th day of the following month at the Tax Collector's office.
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Last Update: Nov 2010
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