St. Vincent Companies and St. Vincent Trusts

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General Introductory and Offshore Tax Information

As an offshore haven St. Vincent continues to offer premier services and corporate vehicles. Several measures have been implemented to ensure that St. Vincent safeguards its offshore sector and customers from around the world while retaining the confidents of counterparts globally.

In December 2009, St. Vincent offshore business entities totaled four offshore banks, 106 offshore trusts, 8 offshore insurance companies and 9,306 international business companies.

St. Vincent offshore banks receive tax exemption for a period of 25 years. These exemptions are on income tax, capital gains or other direct taxes on profits and gains earned from offshore banking business, as well as on stamp duty, inheritance, estate, transfer and succession tax. For offshore banks annual fees are payable to the Registrar and may vary accordingly. Likewise, St. Vincent offshore trusts enjoy exemption from income tax, tax on profit or gains earned by the trust or its beneficiary, Stamp Duty, excise tax and tax on transfers. Non-resident beneficiaries are liable to zero estate, succession, capital gains, gift, inheritance or excise tax, and annual fees are payable to the Registrar.

The same tax exemptions are applicable to offshore insurance companies incorporated in St. Vincent. However, new licensees are required to pay full annual fee along with registration fee in the case where an application was granted between 1st January and 30th June. Insurers with licenses granted between on or before December of each year are required to pay the annual license renewal fee and submit the relevant reports for filing purposes. Offshore insurance annual renewal fees paid after December 31 are subject to payment of the fee plus a late penalty of 1/12 of the renewal fee for the total number of months and or days of the month for which payment was late.

With the exception of corporate and income tax, these tax exemptions are also built in the fiscal regime for local companies and residents. As such, St. Vincent levies no tax on capital gains, inheritance and dividends. Plus, profits and capital amounting to USD100, 000 can be repatriated to St. Vincent free of taxation.

St. Vincent Offshore Business Entities:

  • St. Vincent International Trusts
  • St. Vincent International Banks
  • St. Vincent Offshore Insurance Company
  • St. Vincent International Business Company

St. Vincent International Trusts

Law

  • International Trusts Act, 1996

Formation Documents:

  • Trust Document
  • Certificate of Registration

Types of Offshore Trusts:

  • Ordinary Trust
  • Protective or Spendthrift Trust
  • Charitable Trust
  • Non-charitable Purpose Trust

St. Vincent Ordinary Trusts

Key Features:

  • Created only by instrument in writing
  • Presumed irrevocable despite being created inter vivos or by the settler or nominee voluntarily
  • Maximum duration of 120 years from date of creation
  • Not subject to the “rule against perpetuities and “rule against accumulations”
  • Appoints trustee by issuance of a letter of wishes

St. Vincent Protective or Spendthrift Trusts

Key Features:

  • Subject to dissolution upon the occurrence of a specified event
  • Subject to suspension or diminution if beneficiary becomes bankrupt or property is seized by creditors
  • Spouse or child of the beneficiary may be appointed as the beneficiary by the trustee in the event of death of the trust’s beneficiary

St. Vincent Charitable Trusts

Key Features:

  • Created for charitable purposes including education, poverty reduction, religion, protecting the environment or human freedom and rights
  • Not regarded as charitable unless purpose is considered substantial

St. Vincent Non-charitable Purpose Trusts

Key Features:

  • Required to have a reasonable and specific purpose capable of being accomplished
  • Purpose cannot be illegal, contrary to public law or immoral
  • Required to appoint a protector and a successor to the protector; protector may be a trustee
  • Required to stipulate the terms of termination of the trust
  • Must make provision for disposing surplus assets in upon termination of trust

St. Vincent International Banks

Law — International Banks Act, 2004

Licenses

  • Class A — granted for conducting general banking business
  • Class B — granted for conducting banking business only with non-residents

Main Features

  • The International Banks Act, 2004 repealed and replaced the International Banks Act, 1996
  • International banking business cannot be conducted from within St. Vincent
  • An international bank wishing to provide its services locally must apply for the relevant license
  • International banking licenses are valid until December 31 following the year of its issuance
  • International banking licenses are renewed on a yearly basis upon payment of the prescribed annual fees on or before January 15
  • Licensees are required to be physically present in the country; a physical place where business is done and books and records are maintained
  • International banks are subject to a minimum of 2 employees, one of whom is required to be of senior management level
  • All international banks are required to have a locally registered agent
  • Class A banks subject to a minimum fully paid-up capital of USD1,000,000 or equivalent in another currency
  • Class B banks are subject to a minimum fully paid-up capital of USD500,000 or the equivalent in another currency
  • Licensees are subject to filing returns on a quarterly basis in the prescribed format within 15 days at the end of the quarter

St. Vincent Offshore Insurance

Law

  • International Insurance Regulations, 1999

Main Features

  • Licensed insurers are subject to maintaining its accounts and records locally and are subject to include:
    • Minutes of all meetings, showing names and addresses of managers, officers and directors
    • A record of the licensee’s reinsurance programs or treaties indicating underwriting limits of each insurance class
    • A current record of payments for reinsurance and premium income and claims paid
    • A current list of the all the insurer’s agents
    • A register of the names and addresses of managers, officers and directors
    • Financial statements for the current year and the proceeding 3 years of business

St. Vincent International Business Companies

Law

  • International Business Companies (Amendment and Consolidation) Act, 2007

Formation Documents:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Continuation, Registration or Merger, as may be the case upon the continuance of an IBC originally formed in another jurisdiction

Corporate Forms

  • An IBC formed or continued in St. Vincent may be an/a:
  • company limited by shares
  • segregated cell company
  • limited duration company
  • company limited by guarantee that is authorized to issue shares
  • company limited by guarantee that is not authorized to issue shares
  • unlimited company that is not authorized to issue shares
  • unlimited company that is authorized to issue shares

Main Features

  • Required to have a locally based registered office at all times
  • Subject to trade only with persons not residing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Required to keep a copy of the Articles, document of appointment of first director, minutes of meetings and resolutions of members and committees of directors and of classes of members at the registered agent’s office
  • Minimum of one member, who may be both director and shareholder
  • Limited duration companies have a maximum duration of 30 years

Names and Endings

  • The name chosen for an IBC cannot be similar or identical to that of another IBC incorporated in St. Vincent and the Grenadines so that it misleads or results in confusion.
  • Any requested name may be reserved for a period of 30 days.
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