Tax Haven Antigua

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Tax haven Antigua undertook its first offshore operations in 1982 through the enactment of the International Business Corporations Act CAP 222. At the time, Antigua financial service activities were under the administration of the Ministry of Finance, but given the extent of development that was experienced in the island’s financial services sector within a span of about 8 years, major decisions were taken by tax haven Antigua’s government in an effort to ensure the continued advancement of the sector. Most actions involved the enactment of various pieces of legislations and the formation of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission which spearheaded the expansion and direction of the sector.

Country Overview

Tax haven Antigua is one of the islands of the twin island union of Antigua and Barbuda. Once a colony of Britain, the official language is English and the legal system is based on English Common Law, although slight amendments have been made in the context of the island’s practical needs.

Tax haven Antigua is lined with white and pink sand coastlines to which hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to annually. Tourism accounts for more than 50% of the tax haven Antigua’s GDP. The island is relatively flat and is not as mountainous as the neighbouring islands of Dominica and St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

Official settlement by the British began in the 1630’s and the Her Majesty, the Queen of England is Head of State and id represented by Governor General, Louise Lake-Tack, who is presently occupies the post. The last general elections were held on March 12, 2009. Honourable Baldwin Spencer, leader of the United Progressive Party emerged winner and now holds the position of Prime Minister for the next five years, after which time new general elections will be called.

Antigua Fiscal Incentives and Advantages

Tax haven Antigua offers full tax exemption to all International Business Companies. There are:

  • No withholding tax on interests and dividends
  • No stamp duties
  • No income tax
  • No capital gains tax
  • No gift tax
  • No inheritance tax

Confidentiality is enshrined in tax haven Antigua’s offshore legislation. Antigua provides confidentiality to all IBCs and offshore activities. Criminal penalties are enforced for the disclosure of any information regarding the business or details of IBC owners, bank account holders and trust clients. Tax haven Antigua also boasts of top professional services provided by experienced and trained professionals in the areas of offshore banking, trusts, insurance, accounting, law, sales and business management.

Tax haven Antigua is a stable and secure jurisdiction with an advanced tourism and hospitality sector. The island is free from political strife and social unrest and is part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Antigua has one of the largest and most advanced international airports in the Caribbean, the V.C Bird International Airport, and provides for easy accessibility to and from most international centres via regularly scheduled and direct flights. Two factors that play a key role in Antigua as a tax haven are modern communication facilities and a convenient time zone, which facilitate business and allows for doing business within the same time zones of major centres such as Central America, New York and Toronto, including the UK which operates at 5 hours ahead.

Antigua Legislative Framework

Strengthening tax haven Antigua’s offshore legislative framework was instrumental to ensuring that the financial services sector was at par with international standards and established with a competitive edge that would attract large numbers of potential clients. Building tax haven Antigua as a competitive offshore jurisdiction meant constantly reinforcing the IBC Act by instituting a series of amendments. A strong legislative framework was also necessary if as a tax haven Antigua were to expanding its scope of offshore activities. Thus, as offshore structures became increasingly versatile, new laws incorporated a range of features that enabled Antigua offshore entities to meet the standards of other leading offshore tax havens.

Antigua Offshore services

Offshore services available in tax haven Antigua are services that are key to a successful offshore sector. Tax haven Antigua offers quick incorporation and efficient licensing services, among which are:

  • Licensing and registering international banking institutions
  • Incorporating international business companies
  • Establishment of international trusts
  • Interactive gaming licensing
  • Formation and licensing of international insurance companies
  • Provision of Non Banking Services and Products

Antigua Offshore Business Entities:

  • Antigua International Business Company
  • Antigua International Bank
  • Antigua International Trust
  • Antigua International Insurance Company
  • Antigua Offshore Gaming Company

Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

All institutions licensed under the International Business Corporation Act are regulated and supervised by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission. In addition to IBCs, the FSRC oversees nonbanking institutions such as cooperative societies, insurance companies, remittance agencies and the post offices.

The FSRC has a Board of four members, which meets two times a month to discuss matters pertaining to regulations and developing the sectors and the selection of Board members to hold shares and or hold senior managerial positions in institutions that are registered and licensed in Antigua and Barbuda. The FSRC of Antigua tax haven is divided into four main departments, namely, the International Banking and Trust Department, Registry of International Business Corporations, Interactive Gaming Department and the International Insurance Department.

Recent Developments

In response to the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act sponsored by US President Barack Obama and Senators Carl Levin and Norm Coleman, which placed Antigua, among 36 other offshore jurisdictions, on a list of abusive tax havens, former High Commissioner to the UK for Antigua and Barbuda stated that “lax regulation is to blame for the economic mess, yet it is the OFCs (Offshore Financial Centres) that are being made to suffer as new legislation targeting them is prepared by the world’s biggest countries”.

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