Private Wealth 2019: Cayman Islands

Author:Ms Morven McMillan and Maxine Bodden
Profession:Maples Group
 
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  1. Tax

    1.1 tax regimes

    The Cayman Islands is made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They are located in the Western Caribbean Sea, approximately 500 miles south of Miami, Florida. The capital city, George Town, is located on the south western shore of Grand Cayman.

    The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, run as a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches. The Cayman Islands has its own constitution and bill of rights. The local parliament, called the Legislative Assembly, has 19 elected members, from which a Premier, Deputy Premier and Speaker are appointed.M

    A Governor, appointed by the Government of the United Kingdom, presides over meetings of the cabinet and has special responsibility for defence, external affairs, internal security, the police and the civil service. The Deputy Governor, who, along with the Attorney General, is a non-voting ex officio member of the Legislative Assembly, is appointed by the Governor, pursuant to advice from the Crown. The Governor also appoints members of the judiciary.

    The Cayman Islands has a sophisticated judicial system presided over by a Chief Justice, and has a number of full and part-time judges and justices of the peace, some of whom serve as lay magistrates. There are three courts: the Summary Court, the Grand Court and the Court of Appeal. The Grand Court, which has a dedicated Financial Services Division, has jurisdiction over all civil claims in the Cayman Islands. From there, appeals lie to the Court of Appeal, which sits in the Cayman Islands three times a year. Final rights of appeal, in certain circumstances, lie to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

    There are no income, capital gains, corporate, wealth, withholding, estate or inheritance taxes levied in the Cayman Islands. Import duties are payable on most items brought into the country. Stamp duty is payable on the purchase of land in the Cayman Islands and levied on certain documents executed within, brought into or produced before the court in the Cayman Islands. Stamp duty on deeds and documents ranges from KYD40 to KYD100.

    The stamp duty calculated on the purchase of property is currently 7.5% of the purchase price or the market value of the property, whichever is higher, and a property assessment may be carried out by the Lands and Survey Department to establish which is the greater. There are time limits for the payment of stamp duty on...

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