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Tax Obligations Detailed

Discover employer and employee tax responsibilities in Barbados

Employer tax responsibilities

In Barbados, employers have several tax responsibilities. One of these is contributing to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) on behalf of their employees. This social security program provides various benefits, including sickness benefits, unemployment benefits, retirement pensions, and more. The current employer contribution rate for NIS is 12.75% of an employee's insurable earnings (up to a maximum). Employers must remit NIS contributions by the 15th of the following month.

Health Service Contribution

Employers are also required to contribute to the Health Service Contribution, which is designed to support healthcare funding. The employer's contribution rate is 1.5% of insurable earnings.

Severance Fund

There may be a requirement for employers to make contributions to an employee's Severance Fund. Employees who have worked continuously for a single employer for one year or more are eligible. The contribution rate varies depending on the industry and length of service.

Other Potential Employer Contributions

Employers who own land may be subject to land tax based on the property's value. Certain industries might require employers to contribute to a training levy.

Record Keeping

It's crucial for employers to maintain accurate records of employee earnings, deductions, and tax contributions made. This information is necessary for audits and for ensuring compliance with tax and social security regulations.

Employee tax deductions

In Barbados, the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system is used for income tax. This means that income tax is deducted directly from the employee's salary. The tax is calculated on the employee's taxable income, which is determined after deducting applicable allowances and deductions from gross income. Barbados uses a progressive tax system where income is taxed at increasing rates as income levels rise. Every employee is entitled to a basic personal allowance (currently BBD $25,000), which is exempt from income tax. Employees may also be eligible for other deductions like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and more.

National Insurance Scheme (NIS)

Employees in Barbados contribute to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which provides benefits like pensions, medical care, and unemployment support. The contribution rate is 11.1% of their insurable earnings (up to a maximum).

Health Service Contribution

Employees also contribute towards the Health Service Contribution to support the national health service system. The contribution rate is 1% of their insurable earnings.

Other Potential Deductions

There are other potential deductions that employees may have from their salaries. These include severance payments, which depend on employment terms and length of service, contributions to approved pension funds or retirement plans, and trade union dues for employees who are members of recognized trade unions.


Value-Added Tax (VAT) is an indirect tax in Barbados that is levied on the consumption of goods and services. The Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) administers it.

VAT Registration

Businesses with an annual turnover exceeding BBD $200,000 are required to register for VAT. However, businesses with a lower turnover have the option to register voluntarily.

Standard VAT Rate

The standard VAT rate in Barbados is 17.5%. Some services in the tourism sector qualify for a reduced rate of 7.5%.

Zero-Rated and Exempt Services

Export-related services are primarily zero-rated. Businesses providing these services do not charge VAT to customers but can claim input tax credits (VAT paid on purchases). Certain services, such as financial services, education, and healthcare, are exempt from VAT. Businesses providing these services do not charge VAT and cannot claim input tax credits.

VAT Calculation on Services

The tax point for services is usually the earlier of the time the service is performed or when the invoice is issued. VAT is calculated by multiplying the taxable value of the service with the applicable VAT rate (usually 17.5% or 7.5% for eligible tourism services).

Input Tax Credit

VAT-registered businesses can generally claim input tax credits for VAT paid on business-related purchases. This helps prevent the cascading of taxes (tax on tax).

VAT Filing and Payment

VAT returns must be filed on a monthly or quarterly basis, as determined by the BRA. Filing is done online. VAT payments are due along with the return submission.

Record Keeping

VAT-registered businesses must maintain accurate records of sales, purchases, VAT invoices, and other relevant documents to support their returns and for auditing purposes.

Tax incentives

Barbados offers a range of tax incentives to attract and encourage business investment. Some of the key incentives available include the Foreign Currency Permit (FCP) for entities that earn 100% of their income in foreign currency. This permit grants several benefits, including exemption from exchange control, property transfer taxes, VAT and duties on imports of plant, machinery, and raw materials, and income tax concessions for qualified individuals.

Corporate Tax Rates

The standard corporate tax rate in Barbados is 9% as of January 1, 2024. There is also a Qualifying Domestic Minimum Top-Up Tax, which is a 15% effective tax rate for in-scope multinational enterprises.

Tax Credits and Incentives

Barbados offers a Foreign Tax Credit for taxes paid in other jurisdictions. There is also an Employment Tax Credit for creating new jobs. Businesses can benefit from a Productivity and Innovation Tax Credit, which is a 25% tax credit for innovative expenditure leading to new products, processes, or services. Incentives are also available for renewable energy projects.

Other Incentives

Other incentives include the Housing Incentives Act, Shipping (Incentives) Act, Small Business Development Act, Special Development Areas Act, and Tourism Development Act.

Important Considerations

Companies must demonstrate economic substance in Barbados to benefit from tax incentives. Barbados has 40+ double taxation agreements to reduce withholding taxes. For specific guidance, it is recommended to consult a qualified tax advisor in Barbados.

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