The Caribbean is a region comprising the Caribbean Sea and the islands and countries surrounding it. Located in the southeastern part of the Gulf of Mexico and bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the southwest part, this area covers about 7,000 islands with 16 countries and 24 dependencies. (source: Wikipedia)
The Caribbean is home to the best sand beaches, warm waters, and great outdoor adventures. This place is so well-known that many Hollywood movies were filmed here - if not inspired. The popularity of this spot makes it very attractive to tourists that around 30.2 million visitors have flocked here in 2018 according to Caribbean Tourism Organization. As someone looking for investment opportunities overseas, here’s our guide to help you maximize the investment opportunities in the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago
If you’re thinking of establishing a business as a foreigner, one good thing to keep in mind is the economic status of the country. A stronger economy yields greater profit as consumers have lower unemployment rates and have more confidence in patronizing products or services.
Trinidad and Tobago has the strongest economy among all Caribbean nations according to Investopedia (as of May 2020). This country is the wealthiest nation in the Caribbean and also has one of the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product.
Here are some of the Small Business Investment Opportunities in this country:
- Agriculture Production
- Garment Construction
- Jewelry Design and Manufacturing
- Photography Business
- Day Care Centers
- Beauty Salons
- Computer Repairs
- Car Care Services
How to start a business as a foreigner?
According to the Foreign Investment Act of Trinidad and Tobago, a foreigner can acquire properties in this country for business purposes but should not exceed a total of five acres of land area. To start a business in Trinidad and Tobago, see the step-by-step process below.
- Propose at least three names for your business
- Go to the Companies Registry and submit the completed Name Approval/Name Reservation form (Form 25).
- Get the stamped form after 4 days
- For sole proprietorship, complete the “Registration of a Business Name” form and submit it to the Companies Registry and pay the applicable fees.
- For LLC,
5.1 Go to the Ministry of Legal Affairs website and download the “Articles of Incorporation” form. Submit the completed form along with the applicable fees to the Companies Registry.
5.2 Submit a statutory declaration form (Form 31) to the Commissioner of Affidavits.
5.3 Fill out Form 1 and pay the stamp duty on the “Articles of Incorporation'' and get it embossed. Also, contact the Board of Inland Revenue.
5.4 Submit the duplicate copies of the documents Form 25, Form 1, and Form 31 along with Form 4 (Notice of address of registered office), Form 8 (Notice of directors), and Form 27 (Notice of secretary) to the Commercial Registry with the applicable fees to get the certificate of incorporation and legally bring the company into legal existence which will take four days for the whole process.
5.5 Create an official company seal.
- Apply for a Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) File Number for paying taxes and file returns.
- VAT Registration
Sole proprietors must fill out VAT Form No. 1 while partnerships and LLCs must fill out VAT Form 1 and Form 2.
Register for VAT if your company sells or expects to sell goods and services over and above TT$200,000 in value a year (within 12 months from the VAT registration date) however, you can operate without VAT registration till the time your profit reaches the TT$200,000 limit.
When it comes to paying taxes, the Cayman Islands is considered a tax haven as this country imposes a 0% income tax rate on individuals or corporations. In addition, this British Overseas territory also does not take capital gains, property, or gift taxes at all. This tax-neutral status is one of the dreams of all investors since lesser expenses mean more income.
Business investment ideas in the Cayman Islands
- Recruitment Services
- Financial Services
- Haulage Business
- Vehicle Spare parts sales
- Business Consultancy
Steps to start a business in the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands’ company registration law requires all companies to register their business to operate within the islands. To register, you will need to file to the Cayman Registry of Companies and wait for the approval. All companies must have at least 60% Cayman ownership or provide goods and/are services essential to the country as a requirement for registration.
The business structure options in the Cayman Islands are no different from other countries. A single person wanting to establish a business can file as a sole trader, if there will be two or more owners partnering for the business venture, they can apply for partnership. You can also register as a company that will protect the officers from liability just like a corporation and, if you already have a company elsewhere, you can also branch out in the Cayman Islands.
Non-resident companies branching out in the Cayman Islands are charged an annual fee of $400 and $565 accordingly. For foreign-owned companies, the fee is $850 every year.
As mentioned before, the Cayman Islands does not tax businesses and workers with an exemption of workers earning $24,390. If you are to put up a business in the country, you will not have to worry about taxes, but if you also plan on working while running a business, be ready for tax charges if you go within or beyond the limits.
In all Latin America, the 9th largest economy is the Dominican Republic. This country also has the largest GDP within all Caribbean nations. This country is also the second-largest producer and exporter of sugarcane, and in addition, they also export bananas, cigars, and refined petroleum. The Dominican Republic is also included in the list of most visited countries in the Caribbean with around 2.4 million visits in 2020 (amidst the pandemic). Source: Caribbean&co
One of the most significant benefits of putting up a business in the Dominican Republic as a foreigner is a simple and affordable process.
- Decide on the type of business (Single Member Limited Liability Company (SMLLC)., Public Limited Liability Company, Simplified Public Limited Company, Limited Liability Company (LLC), etc.)
- Register the Trade Name at the National Industrial Property Office.
- Payment for the Subscribed and Paid Capital must be completed at the General Directorate of Internal Taxes (known in Spanish as DGII), according to the type of company and capital.
- The constituent documents of the company should be subsequently drafted and submitted at the Chamber of Commerce and Production of the area where the company will have its headquarters; this will depend according to the type of company, but we can point out the following
- Minutes of Constitutive Assembly.
- Shareholder Payroll of the Constitutive Assembly
- Bylaws that govern the company
- List of subscriptions of social contributions.
- Finally, to obtain a National Taxpayer Registry (known in Spanish as RNC), you would need to go to the Internal Tax Office (DGII).
Any form of investment comes with all sorts of risks, but if you have the right knowledge and resources, you can find ways to minimize the risks or lessen the impact. The Caribbean area is one great place to start investing as a foreigner with its flexibility and high demands. We hope this article helped you and if you’re also interested in living in the Caribbean, check out our article about What's the Best Place to Live in the Caribbean?
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