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Bermuda - Taxation

Those who live and work in Bermuda should be aware that they may also have to pay taxes in their home country. In order to minimise your taxation liability it is important to talk to both the tax office in your home country and the one in Bermuda and give them the information on your personal circumstances. There are no taxation treaties in place as Bermuda does not have an income tax system, so you need to be aware of any tax bills that may come your way from elsewhere.

There is no direct income tax in Bermuda and there is also no capital gains tax. There are no income tax returns to file and as the country has no wealth taxes either this has led to Bermuda becoming something of a tax haven for the rich and famous. This is added to by the fact that there is no VAT applied to goods and services, which helps to keep the cost of some items down, although the cost of importing some goods can add to the final price.

There is a system of payroll tax where employees pay a minimum of 4.75% of their salary and is added to by the employer. These deductions are made directly by the employer and passed to the tax office. Those on approved training schemes are exempt from this taxation and students who are in full-time education but who work part-time are also exempt. Some benefits for employees must be taken into consideration as income if the benefits have a monetary value. Employers and those who are self employed must register with the tax office within 7 days of starting their business so that this tax can be implemented. If these payments are made late then fines are applied.

When payroll tax is deducted by the employer they declare it simply by the number of employees in their company, so records on individuals are not kept. They are subject to penalties if returns are not filed on time and payments late.

One of the few taxes levied is that of stamp duty which is applicable on certain property transactions. This includes that of inheritances and a rate of 5% is applied on property valued between $50,001 and $200,000, a rate of 10% from $200,001 up to $1 million and 15% on anything in excess of this.

Property taxes occur in the form of a land tax payable annually on the rental value of the land. This is a progressive tax and the higher the rental value, the higher the amount of tax which is applied. The owner of the land pays the tax rather than the tenant, and it is not just applied to property which is actually rented out, but to all properties. There are six applicable bands. Anything up to a value of $11,000 is taxed at 0.60%, while the next band runs to $22,000 and is taxed at 1.20%. The third band is up to $33,000 and is taxed at a rate of 2.40%. A property which has a rental value of up to $44,000 is taxed at 4.80% while the next band runs to $110,000 is taxed at 9.60%. Anything over this amount is taxed at 18.23%. Anyone who is over the age of 65 and has a private residence is exempt from property tax on any property that they actually live in, although may be liable if they have a second property which they do rent out.

Social security contributions are deducted at a rate of $30.40 each week which is then matched by the employer. These do not fund a vast benefits system as there are no unemployment benefits in Bermuda and pensions are not drawn until the age of 65.

For further information on tax liability then the Office of the Tax Commissioner can provide further information. Their website contains a series of guides on different taxes and the latest information on compiling the forms necessary. Payments can be made online and the office can be contacted by telephone and email if you should require further help. Payments can also be made in person in cash at any tax office, although you can also pay by card and cheque.

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