Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos is in the process of revising its legislation according to recommendations made in a UK-commissioned review by KPMG. The report was issued in February 2001. On 8 March 2002 the Turks and Caicos signed a letter of commitment agreeing to establish a system to exchange information on tax matters with member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The exchange of information on criminal tax matters will apply in the first tax year after 31 December 2003 and for civil matters by 31 December 2005. The letter commits the Turks and Caicos to ensuring that all beneficial owners of registered entities and accounts are known to regulators. The Turks and Caicos did not appear on the Financial Action Task Force's blacklist on jurisdiction's deemed to be 'non-cooperative' in battling money laundering.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is responsible for licensing and supervising all finance related entities and provides a centralised service for registering companies, trademarks and patents. The Turks and Caicos Islands Investment Agency (TCInvest) is a government owned but privately operated one-stop agency that advises investors, screens projects for feasibility and conducts background checks on the character and financial capabilities of sponsors.
The Companies Ordinance 1981 along with related legislation allows the registration of ordinary companies, exempted companies, limited liability companies, exempted limited liability companies, non-profit organisations, limited life companies, partnerships, trusts, insurance companies and mutual funds. Ordinary companies are registered to carry on local business and hold real estate while exempted companies are not allowed to conduct business within the jurisdiction. Ordinary companies must obtain a business license to operate within the Turks and Caicos. Once the business licence is granted, it is valid for an indefinite period as long as the annual renewal fee is paid. Exempted companies are not required to obtain a business license and are subject to minimal disclosure and administrative requirements. To establish an exempted company, three copies of the memorandum and articles of association need to be lodged with the Registrar of Companies along with a signed declaration affirming that the business will be carried on mainly outside the jurisdiction. Details of authorised capital must be given. The application must be made through a licensed agent, and the company must nominate a resident representative in the Turks and Caicos Islands. There is no requirement to file details of shareholders or directors.
An exempted company may be registered as a limited life company. Limited life companies are 'intended to resemble a US limited liability company designed to achieve advantageous tax treatment by the Internal Revenue Service on the basis that they are flow through vehicles for US taxation and therefore taxed on a basis similar to a partnership', according to TCInvest. The Companies Ordinance requires that a limited life company have at least two members and its duration must be limited by the memorandum of association. Partnerships may be registered as limited partnerships or exempt limited partnerships. A partner may be an individual, a company or a partnership in itself. At least one general partner must be resident or incorporated in the jurisdiction. The Limited Partnerships Ordinance 1992 allows the registration of firms made up of at least one general and one or more limited partners, not to exceed 100 in all. A general partner is one who participates in the management of the firm and is liable for its debts, while a limited partner is one who contributes capital to the firm upon entering the partnership and, unless otherwise specified, is not liable for the firm’s debts beyond the amount contributed. A limited partner may not participate in the management of the firm or will lose exemption from liability. A general partner may also have an interest as a limited partner.
Two types of banking licenses are available under the Banking Ordinance 1979 as amended. A national banking license allows a bank to conduct local business. An overseas banking license restricts activities to outside of the jurisdiction. A combined national and overseas license can also be issued. Under the Trusts Ordinance a trust may be established either through a deed of settlement or by a deed of declaration of trust. The Trustees (Licensing) Ordinance regulates trust companies and other professional trustees.
The Turks and Caicos does not impose exchange controls on the movement of funds into or out of the jurisdiction. Accounts may be held in any currency. Work permits are given for one year and can be renewed annually. The government also awards permanent resident certificates as a means of attracting investors. The certificate gives the applicant the same rights of a 'belonger' (a Turks and Caicos citizen) except the right to vote.
Exempted companies automatically receive an undertaking guaranteeing exemption from taxation for 20 years. The exemption applies to any tax or duty that may be levied on profits, gains, income, or appreciations. The undertaking also states that the taxes or any tax in the nature of estate duty or inheritance tax shall not be payable on the shares, debentures, or obligations of the company. Exempt limited partnerships may secure a 50 year exemption from any tax on gains that may be levied in the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction does not have any income taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, inheritance or estate taxes. The chief sources of government revenue are customs duty and stamp duty, the bulk of the latter coming from real estate transactions. Most imports are taxed at 33%. Stamp duty on land purchases is at 6.25% on transactions up to US$75,000 and 9.75% on transactions over US$75,000. Revenues also derive from other indirect taxes such as accommodation tax payable on hotel rooms, work permit fees, and fees generated by the offshore industry.
Financial Services Commission
Harry Francis Building
Pond Street, Grand Turk
Tel: (649) 946-2802 or 946-2801
Fax: (649) 946 2821
Hibiscus Square, Box 105 Grand Turk,
Turks and Caicos Islands
Tel: (649) 946-2058
Fax: (649) 946-1464
Department of Finance
Turks & Caicos
Tel: (649) 946-2935/2937
Fax: (649) 946-2557
Registrar of Companies
Tel: (649) 946-2002/946-2550
Fax: (649) 946-2821
Latest available figures
The Turks & Caicos is an internally self-governing UK overseas territory. The jurisdiction consists of an archipelago of eight main islands in two groups, the Turks to the east and the Caicos to the west, and a number of smaller cays. In all there are about 40 islands.
Cockburn Town on Grand Turk island
The legal system is based on the UK model with variations adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. The jurisdiction has a Magistrate's Court, a Supreme Court, and a Court of Appeal. Final appeals go to the Privy Council in the UK.
The British monarch is the head of state represented by a UK-appointed governor. Government is run through the governor, the Executive Council and the Legislative Council. The governor is responsible for defence, external affairs, the offshore financial sector, internal security (including the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force), the appointment of key public officers, the complaints commissioner and the public service. The UK also appoints the chief secretary and the attorney general. The 18-seat Legislative Council is made up of thirteen elected members, three members appointed by the governor, the chief secretary and the attorney general. Elections for 13 seats are held at intervals of not more than four years. A chief minister and five other ministers are appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Council to sit on the Executive Council, which acts as the executive arm of government. The Executive Council has nine members: the governor, the six elected ministers, and the chief secretary and the attorney general.
Governor: James 'Jim' Poston (appointed December 2002)
Chief minister, minister for development, tourism and natural resources: Michael Misick
Deputy chief minister, minister for finance and national insurance: Floyd Hall
Housing, immigration, labour: Jeffrey Hall
Education, youth, sport and culture: Lillian Elaine Robinson-Been
Health, social services and gender affairs: Karen Delancy
Communications, works and utilities: McAllister Hanchell
The Progressive National Party (PNP) led by Michael Misick won the general election on 24 April 2003, but only after by-elections were held in two constituencies. In the initial results Derek Taylor's incumbent People's Democratic Movement (PDP) won seven seats to the Progressive National Party's six. However the chief justice declared the results in two of the constituencies void, one for 'irregularities' by the Supervisor of Elections, the other for three specific instances of bribery by 'agents' of the PDM candidate. The two by-elections were held on 7 August giving the PNP eight seats to the PDP's five.
The mainstays of TCI's economy are tourism, the offshore industry and the fishing industry. The chief sources of government revenue are customs duty and stamp duty, the bulk of the latter coming from real estate transactions. Tourism arrivals in 1999 were estimated at 121,000. A KPMG report on the financial sector found that as at 31 December 1999 there were 2,512 licensed insurance companies, of which 2,322 were captives. As at 31 December 1999 there were 13,499 exempt companies and 2,545 ordinary companies. There were 114 limited life companies. At the time there were 35 companies acting as company service providers from the jurisdiction. As at the end of March 2000 there were eight banks licensed by the Financial Services Commission. The banks held total deposits of US$539 million and total assets of US$618 million.
Gross Domestic Product (1999)
8.6% real growth. Market prices: US$199.8 million.
Exports of goods: US$137 million. Imports of goods: US$175.6 million.
Inflation Rate (1999)
Labour Force (1999)
Unemployment rate: 12.4%
Government Accounts (2002-2003 estimates)
Current revenues: US$87 million. Capital revenue: US$15.8 million. Grants: US$6.7 million. Current expenditures: US$79 million. Capital expenditures: US$33 million.
Public Holidays (2003)
1 January (New Year's day); 10 March (Commonwealth Day); 18 April (Good Friday); 21 April (Easter Monday); 26 May (National Heroes' Day); 16 June (Queen's birthday); 1 August (Emancipation Day); 26 September (National Youth Day); 13 October (Columbus Day); 24 October (Human Rights Day); 25 December (Christmas Day); 26 December (Boxing Day).
GMT minus five hours. The clock goes forward one hour at midnight on the 1st Sunday in April and back to normal time at midnight on the last Sunday in October.