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REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A BUSINESS LICENSE

 

On Sint Maarten, the issuing of businesses is based upon the Business Licenses Ordinance. Via the investor friendly Business License Ordinance, there are no restrictions based on nationality. Regardless of your nationality, you can easily establish a sole proprietorship, limited liability company or any other form of business entity stipulated in Sint Maarten’s Civil Code.

The establishment of a Limited Liability Company is done through a registered Civil Law Notary, who will prepare all forms and ensure all necessary steps are taken, in order to make the process as worry free as possible. The procedural steps are:

 

  1. Articles of Incorporation are drafted by the Notary and are then submitted, along with any additional operational license requests, to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication on behalf of the client.
     

  2. For investors not living on Sint Maarten, the Notary must also request a Director’s License and Residency Permit for non-resident Directors who wish to reside on Sint Maarten. The request for a Director’s License is submitted to the Department of Economic Licenses and the Residency Permit is submitted to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
     

  3. The Deed of Incorporation, drafted by the Notary, must be submitted to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s Trade Registry.
     

  4. Applicants pay a non-refundable processing fee upon submission of the license application.
     

  5. Upon granting of licenses, applicants are required to pay all licensing fees at the Receiver’s Office and return with proof of payment to collect the approved licenses.
     

  6. License holders are required to pay the monthly or annual fees associated with the licenses. These fees are to be paid to the Receiver’s Office.

 
LABOR REGULATIONS

 

It is required by law that all companies established on Sint Maarten, register their business and employees. The business receives a Proof of Labor registration, after the business and its employees have been registered at the Department of Labor Affairs. The registration of the company should be updated annually.

There are several labor agreements that fall under Sint Maarten’s labor legislation, including:

  1. The agreement of contracted work

  2. The agreement for the performance of specific services

  3. The working agreement

All workers must firstly have legal residency and permission to work on Sint Maarten. Documentation can be sought at the Immigration Department (Residency) and at the Labor Affairs Department (Employment Permit). Persons must be 16 years and older to register and persons younger than 18 years will require permission from a parental figure or legal guardian.

The working agreement is an agreement whereby the employee commits him or herself to perform work in the employ of the employer for mutually agreed upon wages during a specific period of time. The wages of employees are protected via Minimum Wages Ordinance which dictates the lowest possible wage that an employee can be paid. Though parties are free to negotiate wages individually or via collective labor agreements, wages may not be less than that stipulated in the Minimum Wages Ordinance.

TAXATION AND INVESTMENT ON SINT MAARTEN

 

Sint Maarten’s tax system is regulated by the National Ordinance on General National Taxes and the National Ordinance on Income Tax.

The taxes levied in Sint Maarten include:

  • Corporate Income Tax

  • Personal Income Tax

  • Wage Tax

  • Turnover Tax

  • Transfer Tax

  • EU Savings Tax

As a duty free port, Sint Maarten does not levy import duties (such duties are only levied on petroleum products). Furthermore, Sint Maarten does not impose Excise Tax, Net Wealth Tax, Capital Tax or withholding taxes on Dividends, Interests and Royalty payments.

TAX INCENTIVES

 

The Government of Sint Maarten offers a number of investment incentives, in the following circumstances:

  • Investment allowance when an amount exceeding NAF 5,000 is invested in the acquisition or improvement of capital assets to be used by the taxpayer in Sint Maarten. Under the investment allowance, 8% of the invested amount may be deducted from the profit of that year and the following year. This allowance is increased to 12% when the investment is made for the construction of new buildings of the improvement of existing buildings.
     

  • Exempt limited liability company (“vrijgestelde vennootschap”). A private limited liability company (BV) incorporated in Sint Maarten that nearly exclusively invests in debt instruments, securities, deposits or provides licensing activities is exempt from tax, provided certain criteria are met;
     

  • Fiscal unity regime which provides for a tax consolidation of companies within a corporate group, allowing for the offsetting of profits and losses among members of the corporate group.
     

  • Special tax regime for shipping and aviation. Companies engaged in shipping and aviation ventures, including the letting and freighting of seagoing ships or aircraft, are subject to a favorable tax treatment. Under this special tax regime, if 80% of the profit is found to be earned outside Sint Maarten it is taxed against one tenth of the normal corporate income tax rate, while the remainder of the profit is taxed under the normal tax regime, resulting in an overall effective tax rate of approximately 9%. Furthermore, shipping companies that exploits sea going vessels may opt for the tonnage-regime. Instead of the actual profit, the tax is calculated based on the gross registered tonnage of ships;
     

  • Tax holiday for manufacturing industries, land development corporations, hotels and businesses. For certain companies that contribute to the broadening of the economic base of Sint Maarten, a special tax facility is available. A tax holiday can be obtained upon request and will be granted if specific requirements are met.