The St Kitts and Nevis Government, led by Prime Minister the Honourable Dr Terrence Drew has reiterated its commitment to not introduce new taxes in the next fiscal year.
In his Budget Address, Honourable Dr Drew maintained that his government’s commitment to not raising taxes was a move made in conjunction with a review of the existing tax regime.
“Our government is not proposing the introduction of any new taxes at this time. We are, however, making progress in terms of the comprehensive review of the tax regime,” Honourable Dr Drew said.
Favourable business environment and business-friendly tax regime
Hon. Dr Drew did not introduce new taxes in his maiden Budget Speech last year, either. His business-friendly tax policy has stayed consistent across each of his years in office so far. Establishing St Kitts as a favourable business environment has been a flagship policy of his administration.
The review of the tax regime, done in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aims to further diversify the country’s fiscal framework. This will require reducing dependence on certain sectors while also diversifying sources of revenue for the government.
The tax review will help the country grow and diversify, while also keeping the nation on track to meet and surpass its fiscal expectations.
Additionally, in the Budget Address, Hon. Dr Drew announced that the government would set corporation tax at 25 per cent for all businesses. This is a reduction of 8 per cent from the original rate, which was set at 33 per cent.
The tax reduction will attract more businesses to the country, will induce businesses to create new jobs and will further facilitate economic growth in St Kitts and Nevis.
St Kitts and Nevis is already attractive to investors for having no personal income tax or inheritance tax. These new measures will make the country even more business-friendly.
The country’s fiscal framework is centred around growth and sustainable development and prioritises economic diversification. The Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme contributes to that economic diversification, along with the country’s sustainability initiatives.
Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and sustainable growth
As a Small Island Developing State (SIDs), St Kitts and Nevis has an incentive to pursue sustainable growth and development. The nation’s lush natural environment is at risk of suffering from natural disasters.
As a small Caribbean state with many natural landmarks, future generations have a stake in preventing these disasters from taking hold and preserving the nation’s historic natural offerings.
In this vein, St Kitts started offering CBI. This meant that High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) could attain a second citizenship and citizenship for their family, by investing a sum of money in the country.
In his Budget Address, Honourable Dr Drew acknowledged that CBI funds exceeded budget expectations by 54.9 per cent. This indicates the important contribution that CBI makes to the country.
CBI funds go to diversifying the economy, protecting social programmes and services such as infrastructure, and protecting the natural environment.
Towards a sustainable Island state
Sustainable development has been a flagship policy of St Kitts and Nevis, something that the current administration has continued.
In his Budget Address, Honourable Dr Drew emphasised the importance of the sustainable island state agenda, which CBI funds go to support.
For example, the energy transition is assisted by CBI. St Kitts and Nevis has put CBI funds towards solar panel installation, along with other energy diversification paths such as geothermal and wind power. Thus, CBI is integral to the country’s green energy transition.
CBI also helps to strengthen infrastructure against natural disasters while also giving back to future generations. From improving hospitals and schools, to funding other social welfare offerings, CBI benefits the people of St Kitts and Nevis.
The National Sport Policy is funded by CBI, too. The National Sport Policy benefits young Kittians and Nevisians by championing health outcomes and physical fitness for young people.
To further diversify the St Kitts and Nevis economy, the government used CBI funds to help establish a new Department of Creative Economy. The Department of Creative Economy aims to give creatives the funds and empowerment necessary to develop and maximise their talents.
Creative industries are an important, novel path for sectoral diversification in the St Kitts and Nevis economy.
It is important to note that CBI is subject to robust and multi-layered due diligence processes, the subject of the next section.
Due diligence in CBI funds
CBI due diligence is a multistage process with sub stages included to maximise the scrutiny process. St Kitts and Nevis was ranked as the top country for due diligence processes in the 2023 CBI Index.
CBI funds undergo the strictest due diligence requirements such as mandatory interviews, on-site vetting, and third-party international agents who vet applicants and do on-the-ground checks.
In a landmark meeting in February 2023, the US and Caribbean CBI Programmes agreed on six principles for due diligence. St Kitts and Nevis received praise for its rapid and thorough implementation of the principles, which included mandatory interviews for applicants and collective treatment of denials.
For countries like St Kitts and Nevis that boast strict due diligence procedures, CBI is only granted after vetting steps have been completed. Only after the thorough multi-step vetting processes are completed can an applicant legally acquire citizenship.
This is all subject to applicants putting in the necessary investment, paying due diligence fees and finishing the due diligence processes.
St Kitts and Nevis is proud that its CBI Programme, the first of its kind, has continued to set the premium standard for similar programmes. A leader in the industry, the country makes sure that its due diligence standards and CBI offering is the highest quality.
CBI and business development in St Kitts and Nevis
For discerning businessmen and women, entrepreneurs and global citizens, CBI is a reliable business option. The unparalleled access to global markets and favourable tax regimes, along with global travel opportunities, makes CBI attractive to businesspeople around the world.
For people seeking cultural opportunities and economic freedom, CBI countries can offer a safe and reliable option.
CBI offers great retirement destinations for those nearing retirement age, seeking to retire in luxury. The beautiful natural environment of St Kitts and Nevis, as a twin-island federation with a protected environment, allows retirees to enjoy the finer things in life.
The low crime rate, political stability and safety of the country can also reassure retirees.
The political stability and low crime rate also enhance business confidence among global citizens, who know that they can conduct business free of political upheaval and uncertainty.
As a prosperous island offering a stable and premium quality standard of living, it is unsurprising that the island continues to be a reliable option for retirees, entrepreneurs and businessmen and women.
CBI and the future of business-friendly policies in St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts and Nevis has consistently set the standard of CBI as a premium, first-of-its-kind service. Its offering to global citizens sits at the intersection of economics, security and sustainability. CBI funds give back to the country’s sustainable island state vision, along with enhancing the country’s economic diversification.
As a safe and secure country, St Kitts and Nevis has enjoyed the support of global citizens who choose to go through the multistep due diligence and application process to call the country home.
The Budget Address from Honourable Dr Drew reaffirmed and reiterated the country’s commitment to keeping its reputation as a business-friendly, reliable and stable place.
His pledge to not raise taxes in the next fiscal year, while also collaborating with the IMF tax review, shows the government’s focus on business and innovation.
It also shows the government’s commitment to the future, by continually reviewing and improving its CBI offering.
The lowering of corporate tax in conjunction with not raising other taxes indicates that the country has a growth-centred mind-set that is best realised through keeping taxes low and reducing the tax burden on businesses.
The country’s lack of personal income tax also contributes to its business-friendly reputation.
Overall, the CBI Programme’s premium standard has been upheld through its due diligence procedures, as shown by Honourable Dr Drew’s supportive remarks on CBI in his Budget Address.
The tax policies that run through the new budget indicate the importance of the country’s business credentials.
For investors seeking the highest quality CBI programme along with the most business-friendly policies, St Kitts and Nevis continues to shine.