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Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba

Tax Obligations Detailed

Discover employer and employee tax responsibilities in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba

Employer tax responsibilities

Employers have several tax responsibilities, including contributing to various social security funds and withholding wage tax from employees' salaries.

Social Security Contributions

Employers are required to contribute to several social security funds, each covering different areas. The specific contribution rates can vary slightly. Here's a general overview:

  • OV (Old Age Insurance): Employers contribute a percentage of the employee's gross salary to the pension fund.
  • AWW (Unemployment Insurance): This is the employer's contribution for unemployment benefits.
  • ZV (Health Insurance): This is the employer's contribution to cover healthcare costs for employees.
  • Cessantia (Severance Pay): Employers may contribute towards a fund to cover potential severance payments, but this is not strictly mandatory.

Wage Tax

Employers are also responsible for withholding wage tax from employees' salaries. This is based on a progressive tax rate structure. The rates can differ slightly and are updated periodically. It's the employer's responsibility to calculate, withhold, and submit wage tax to the tax authorities on a regular basis.

Changes and Updates

Tax rules can be updated. Always refer to the official sources or a tax advisor for the latest regulations. Special rules or exemptions might apply in certain industries or employment situations.

Employee tax deductions

Employees are subject to income tax, known as wage tax, which is withheld directly from their salaries. The tax rates are progressive, meaning the higher the income, the higher the tax rate. The exact wage tax rates may differ slightly between different regions, and they are updated periodically.

Social Security Contributions

Employees must contribute to various social insurance schemes, which are automatically deducted from their salaries:

  • OV (Old Age Insurance): Contribution to the pension fund.
  • AWW (Unemployment Insurance): Contribution to cover unemployment benefits.
  • ZV (Health Insurance): Contribution to healthcare insurance coverage.

Additional Potential Deductions

In some situations, additional deductions may be applicable:

  • Cessantia (Severance Pay): Contributions towards a severance fund may be applicable, depending on the employer.
  • Union Dues: If applicable, union membership fees can be deducted from an employee's salary.

For the most up-to-date information, forms, and explanations about tax deductions, employees are advised to refer to the official tax authority website. For specific questions or complex situations, consulting a local tax advisor is recommended.


In the BES Islands, instead of a traditional VAT system, the General Expenditure Tax (GET) is used. This is a form of consumption tax applied to goods and services.

Standard GET Rates

The standard GET rates vary depending on the island:

  • Bonaire: 8%
  • Sint Eustatius and Saba: 6%

GET on Services

Services provided within the BES Islands are generally subject to GET at the standard rate of the respective island. However, certain essential services, like healthcare or education, may be exempt from GET.

GET on Services Imported from Abroad

GET might apply to services received from outside the BES islands under a "reverse charge" mechanism. In this case, the recipient of the service in the BES Islands becomes responsible for calculating and paying GET, even if the service provider is foreign. It's crucial to determine whether the imported service is considered taxable under GET regulations.

Additional Considerations

Complex scenarios regarding imported or cross-border services may need more in-depth analysis to ensure GET compliance. The official websites of the tax authorities of each island can provide more information.

Staying Compliant

To stay compliant with GET regulations, familiarize yourself with the latest GET regulations relevant to your business activities. For complex situations or to ensure compliance with GET on services, it's advisable to consult a tax advisor specializing in the BES Islands.

Tax incentives

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (the BES Islands), although part of the Netherlands, have a distinct tax system with certain incentives to stimulate business growth.

Key Tax Incentives

Reduced Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Rate

The standard CIT rate in the BES Islands is 20%. However, certain businesses may qualify for a reduced CIT rate of 15%, including investment companies, holding companies, and companies engaged in specific economic activities, such as tourism or agriculture, as designated by the local government.

Investment Allowance

Businesses can claim an investment allowance of up to 15% of the investment value for certain qualifying investments.

Employment Incentives

Employers may be eligible for a reduction in wage tax for newly hired employees, depending on specific criteria. Additionally, employers on Saba have a lower social security contribution rate compared to Bonaire and Sint Eustatius.

Exemption from Dividend Withholding Tax

Dividends distributed by a BES-resident company to another BES-resident company or a Dutch company are exempt from dividend withholding tax.

No Profit Transfer Tax

There is no profit transfer tax on transfers of profits from a BES-resident company to its parent company located in the Netherlands or another EU member state.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

While there are no active SEZs in the BES Islands currently, there has been discussion about their potential establishment. SEZs could offer additional tax benefits to businesses operating within designated zones.


Eligibility for specific incentives should always be confirmed based on business activity, investment criteria, and residency status. Adherence to applicable regulations and guidelines is necessary to maintain eligibility for tax benefits. Consulting a tax advisor in the BES Islands to explore applicable incentives and ensure correct application is recommended. Tax laws and incentives can change; staying updated on current regulations is crucial.

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