Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Nevis' Historical Legacy
BONI is proudly headquartered on the idyllic island of Nevis, renowned for its warm and inclusive Caribbean culture. Our presence signifies a prominent representation of this vibrant region within the distinguished global banking industry.
Nevis, a picturesque island spanning 36 square miles, is nestled in the Eastern Caribbean, just two miles southeast of its sister island, St. Kitts. Its strategic location offers accessibility, with a three-hour flight from the United States and an eight-hour journey from Europe. Nevis is recognized by its distinctive circular shape, dominated by the magnificent Nevis Peak, a cloud-kissed mountain reaching 3,232 feet in the island's heart.
Historically, Nevis holds a place in the annals of exploration, as it was first sighted by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage and christened 'Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves.' English serves as both the official and commonly spoken language on the island, creating an environment of ease for international interactions and business endeavors.
Nevis has taken full advantage of the autonomy afforded to it under the Constitution and has enacted a suite of legislation that continues to make it a competitive, relevant and respected centre for international finance. Dedicated legislation has been enacted and refined with respect to international banking, international business corporations, limited liability companies and trusts, to enable service providers to better meet the wealth management needs of clients. In 2004, legislation was introduced governing insurance, mutual funds and multi-form foundations.
The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is shared by eight other countries, comprising the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. The XCD has been pegged to the United States Dollar (USD) at a rate of XCD2.7169 to USD1 since 1976.
The legal system of Nevis is based on the common law of England, as varied by local statutes. Decisions of Nevis' High Court can be appealed to the regional Court of Appeals of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which are in turn appealable to the Privy Council in London. The Privy Council's jurisdiction does not extend to overriding Nevis' laws.
Nevis and St. Kitts have maintained enduring political stability and achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1983, jointly forming the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, also known as the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis. Although an independent nation, both islands have adopted governance models rooted in the Westminster system and English common law, as outlined in the Federation's Constitution.
The Constitution grants Nevis a degree of national sovereignty, enabling self-governance in specific areas, while the Federal Government maintains authority over foreign policy decisions for St. Kitts and Nevis. Additionally, Nevis possesses its own autonomous legislative body, responsible for enacting laws that foster economic development in areas such as trade, industry, and finance.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II serves as the symbolic Head of State, represented in St. Kitts by a Governor-General and in Nevis by a Deputy Governor-General. Any legislation passed in the Federation Parliament requires the Governor-General's consent on behalf of the Crown. Similarly, legislation passed in the Nevis Parliament necessitates the Deputy Governor-General's approval on behalf of the Crown.
NEVIS TAX REGIME
Distinctions for Domestic and International Entities
The tax system in Nevis is differentiated for domestic and international legal arrangements. All entities incorporated under Nevis’ international financial services laws are tax exempt so long as they do not transact business on the island. Thus all Nevis International Trusts, Nevis Business Corporations, Nevis Limited Liability Companies and Nevis International Insurance Companies that do not transact or conduct business in Nevis are not subject to:
Any corporate tax, income tax, withholding tax, stamp tax, asset tax, exchange controls;
Any fees or taxes based upon or measured by assets or income originating outside of Nevis;
Any fees or taxes in connection with other activities outside of Nevis; or in connection with matters of corporate administration which may occur in Nevis.
The Nevis Multiform Foundation is afforded a special election to select Nevis as its tax regime and that election can be changed on an annual basis.
Corporate entities established under the international financial services laws of Nevis, that transact or conduct business on the island are subject to taxation of 35%. There is no personal income tax in the Federation, however, a social services levy is payable.
Save as set out above, withholding tax in Nevis is levied at 10% and is deducted from individuals and companies that conduct business in Nevis, and are remitting payments to persons outside of the Federation from profits, administration, management or head office expenses, technical service fees, accounting and audit expenses, royalties, non-life insurance premiums and rent.
In addition, there is no net-worth tax, gift tax, capital gains tax or inheritance or estate duty in the Federation.
The following activities will not constitute doing business in Nevis:
Maintaining bank accounts in Nevis;
Holding board meetings in Nevis;
Maintaining corporate or financial records in Nevis;
Maintaining an administrative or managerial office in Nevis with respect to assets and activities outside of Nevis;
Being a partner in a Nevis partnership;
Acquiring real property in certain industrial or tourist facilities in Nevis approved by government.
GLOBAL FORUM OF TRANSPARENCY AND EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION FOR TAX PURPOSES
The Phase 2 Peer Review of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, conducted in 2013/2014, concluded that the Federation's legal framework and its practical implementation largely adhere to the Global Forum's standards, ensuring accessibility to ownership, accounting, and bank information. Consequently, the Federation received an overall rating of 'Largely Compliant' with International Standards.
As of the present date, the Federation has entered into 21 Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with various countries and jurisdictions, including Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Curacao, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Guernsey, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saint Maarten, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
DOUBLE TAXATION CONVENTIONS (DTCS)
The Federation as of late 2012 had entered into DTCs with Canada, Denmark, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. The Federation is a signatory to the Caribbean Inter Regional Double Taxation Agreement, with other signatories being Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, and Trinidad-Tobago.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE
The Confidential Relationships Act, Cap 21.02 applies to all those in the financial community, and provides that anyone disclosing banking, financial and international trust documents, that are not required in other laws and/or without a court order is subject to criminal penalties, including fines or imprisonment.