Jamaica’s House Passes Bill on Foreign Company Tax Exemption

Above: Jamaica Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s House of Representatives has passed a bill offering a tax incentive for officers of global companies that set up their head offices in Jamaica.

The Income Tax (Amendment) Act, which was spearheaded by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, will offer an income tax exemption for non-residents who perform group head office activities in Jamaica.

“The point to note here is that not all activities of all foreign corporations are being exempt by this bill,” Phillips said. “The purpose of this bill is to provide incentives for large international corporations operating in multiple jurisdictions to move their activities to Jamaica.”

Under the bill, which was tabled in Parliament last week, a company could apply for a certificate to obtain a designation as a company that has its head office in Jamaica.

“We are not giving up anything that we now have, rather it is seeking to attract additional economic activities to the country and expand the pool of tax over time generally, by virtue of these activities,” Phillips said.

The Minister said regulations are now being drafted to address the issue of assessing countries’ eligibility for the designation.

The companies would also have to employ 30 percent or more of its employees from resident Jamaican citizens and be incorporated in Jamaica.

“Without the facility, companies will not have an interest in moving their group headquarters activity there,” said Industry Ministry Anthony Hylton. “So, if we don’t do it, other economic benefits, in particular the companies hiring at least 30 percent of their staff from the Jamaican workforce, will simply not materialize.”