Frequently Asked Questions about Business Operations in Barbados
Business can be carried out in Barbados in the form of sole traders, partnerships, companies or societies with restricted liability. A company may be either public or private and if private may be incorporated with one (1) director.
No person under age eighteen (18) may be appointed a director.
Register with the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office, located at the Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Complex, Melbourne, Belmont Road, St. Michael. www.caipo.gov.bb
Register with the National Insurance Department, Sir Frank Walcott Building, Culloden Road, St. Michael, where you will be issued with an employer’s national insurance number.
Register with the Barbados Revenue Authority, Treasury Building, Bridge Street, for income tax purposes.
Contact the Value Added Tax (VAT) Division of the Barbados Revenue Authority located at the Weymouth Corporate Centre, Roebuck Street, St. Michael for guidance regarding their registration requirements.
Register with the Para Medical Professionals Council, Ministry of Health, Jemmotts Lane, Bridgetown if you intend to pursue business in the medical profession.
Apply for a licence from the Ministry of International Business & Industry if you plan to establish an Regular Business Company or Society with Restricted Liability.
Apply to the Central Bank of Barbados if you would like to establish an international bank.
Apply to the Financial Services Commission if you plan to establish an insurance company.
Apply to the Immigration department for a work permit, if you are not a citizen of Barbados and would like to work on the island. For more information, contact the Immigration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you will need to import any raw materials or equipment for your business, you should:
Ascertain from the Price Control Division of the Ministry of Commerce whether import licences are required.
Ascertain from the Customs and Excise Department whether import duties are payable.
All importers must register with the Computer Department of Customs to receive an import number before proceeding with the importation of any items. Failure to do this may result in unnecessary delay.
All manufacturers must register with the Approved Undertakings Division of Customs if they will require duty concessions.
Register with the Certification Department of the Export Promotion Division of the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation to facilitate duty free entry of your products into the USA, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, and CARICOM member countries.
All non-nationals with the exception of qualifying CARICOM Nationals require work permits to work in Barbados. There is an application fee of US$150.
Generally, income tax clearance certificates are issued, on request, to persons requesting work permit renewals. The Barbados Revenue Authority is responsible for processing these applications.
All goods imported into Barbados must be cleared through the Customs and Excise Department whether these goods are imported via air, sea, courier or post. Processing of goods requires the submission to the Customs Department of a duly completed goods declaration and the payment of applicable import duties and taxes. One of the important documents required, is a Commercial Invoice issued by the supplier. Import duties and taxes payable or coverable by acceptable surety, typically range from 0-20% of the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) Value.
There are some exceptions to these rates which include agricultural products, jewellery and vehicles. Most imported goods are subject to a Value Added Tax of 17.5%. A limited number of commodities carry individual specific rates. The Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), the International System for classifying goods, as well as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Valuation Code are used in Barbados.
Although importers can legally enter goods on their own, it is recommended that a Licensed Customs Broker is used.
Where an entity requires the services of specially qualified individuals in order to carry out its business effectively from within Barbados, and is unable to acquire those services in Barbados or retain them from outside Barbados without special tax concessions, the Minister of Finance may grant a tax concession which allows up to 35% of those persons’ salaries or fees to be exempt from income tax in Barbados.
Persons investing in the tourism and hospitality industry in Barbados may benefit from incentives provided under the Tourism Development Act 2002 and Special Development Areas Act.
Land in Barbados is zoned for specific usage and prior permission to build or for a change of use must be obtained from the Town and Country Planning Department.
There is no restriction on the purchase of property by persons who are not citizens. However, persons who are not residents must finance the purchase of the property from external sources.
Non-residents must also obtain permission from the Exchange Control Authority for the sale or purchase of real estate in Barbados.
There are no legislated minimum wages except for shop assistants, where wages have been legislated at BDS$250 (US$125) per week. The work week is 40 hours.
The Government of Barbados supports the free enterprise system and upholds the rights of individuals and companies to join recognised workers’ or employers’ organisations.
The industrial relations climate in Barbados has been and continues to be stable, harmonious and collaborative. The majority of unionised companies in Barbados enjoy a cordial relationship with their respective unions.
Labour related issues are usually settled through a process of collaboration and negotiation. Successive Barbados governments have reinforced this approach through the establishment of a Social Partnership – a tripartite body that recognises and participates in various consultations in the interest of the national good.
Barbados is a party to international treaties and conventions which recognize intellectual property rights of several kinds, and which guarantee protection and legal recourse to rights-holders in line with internationally accepted standards.
At the domestic level, Barbados has enacted the following legislation to safeguard the intellectual property rights of holders: