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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
Enacted by the Bermuda Legislature.
Bermuda Deposit Insurance Corporation Act 2011. This legislation to provide deposit insurance of $25,000 per depositor is the result of a collaborative effort between financial regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), the Ministry of Finance and the Bermuda Bankers Association (BBA). In addition, technical advice was provided by the International Monetary Fund. Deposit insurance is a guarantee to depositors in a bank that they will be compensated up to a maximum specified amount of their deposits upon failure of that institution. It has three main objectives, to protect small depositors; promote stability in Bermuda's financial system and economy by providing prompt reimbursement or access to insured depositors' funds; and promote competition between financial institutions in Bermuda. Under the legislation, membership of the scheme is compulsory for all relevant financial institutions. The premiums are paid by the banks as a fixed percentage of insurable deposits. The Bermuda Deposit Insurance Corporation has an appointed board of directors to run the scheme. The legislation also entails elements on protection from personal liability and preservation of confidentiality.
Bermuda Monetary Authority Amendment Act 2014. Sought to repeal a section of the Insurance Act which would require certain financial services, Allows the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) to increase its fees for certain services next year by three per cent: fees regulated by the BMAs own 1965 act, the Insurance Undertakings Act 1967, the Investment Business Act 2003, and the Investments Funds Act 2006. Although there are a few exceptions, generally three per cent reflects a sound balance between the need for additional financial resources, and the ability of regulated firms to absorb it, The amendment see added fees and regulations for the trade unions and friendly societies wanting to provide mutual insurance.
Employment law in Bermuda comprises local legislation (statutes enacted by Parliament) and English and Bermuda common law (case law decided by courts over the years). The relevant legislation, under Bermuda laws is The Employment Act 2000 (as amended), see http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Employment%20Act%202000.pdf and http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Annual%20Laws/2006/Acts/Employment%20Amendment%20Act%202006.pdf respectively, which applies to all employees working wholly or mainly in Bermuda, including foreign employees. They set out minimum statutory entitlements, including notice of termination rights and various leave benefits (vacation, sick leave, maternity, bereavement, public duty leave, etc. They mandate that there be a written contract (“Statement of Employment”) in place setting out fundamental terms of the employment relationship. If the contract contains more favorable terms than the Act, then the contract prevails. Parties cannot contract out of the Act’s minimum requirements. It provides that an employee can only be dismissed for a valid reason, such as ability, performance, conduct or business operational requirements (redundancy); that statutory redundancy pay (“severance allowance”) must be paid if conditions of redundancy are made out (capped at 6 months’ wages). It protects employees from disciplinary action or termination (“unfair dismissal”) on human rights related grounds or for being a whistle-blower. It defines constructive dismissal (also “unfair dismissal”) and provides compensation for same based on the employer’s unreasonable conduct. It provides for a mandatory warning process for employees engaging in misconduct (short of serious misconduct) or unsatisfactory performance and time to improve (employees engaged in serious misconduct related to the employment relationship can be summarily dismissed). It has a complaint process for breach of the statute to an Inspector and then to the Employment Tribunal, with a 3 month limitation period. Compensation is limited to 6 months’ wages or reinstatement. It shows that either side can terminate the contract for any reason and without notice during a contractual probation period (if there is one, the contract must state whether there is one or not). It gives priority to an employee’s claims for unpaid wages and accrued vacation pay in a winding up action. Note that The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (as amended) provides that employees who are not Bermudian or a spouse of a Bermudian or a Permanent Resident’s Certificate (PRC) holder must have a work permit issued by the Department of Immigration to work in Bermuda. These can range from 3 months to 10 years in time (the latter subject to several stringent criteria) and are renewable. The time for processing is approximately 8 to 10 days (for “fast track” or “temporary permits”) or 6 to 10 weeks (for standard permits of 1 year or more). A work permit will not be issued where a qualified Bermudian, spouse of a Bermudian, non-Bermudian dependant of a Bermudian, Permanent Resident Certificate holder or other person with a qualifying connection to Bermuda applies for the position. Employees are generally subject under Bermuda immigration policy to a maximum of 6 years of working under a permit in Bermuda (“terms limits.”) Certain positions can be deemed “key” to a business and the holder of that position can be exempted from term limits or receive an extension of to their term limit of up to 3 additional years. Other grounds for exemption can be made out (e.g. worldwide shortage in that industry, company hardship, etc.).
Exempted Undertakings Tax Protection Amendment Act 2011, which extends a guarantee that the Bermuda Government will not charge exempt companies any taxes on profits, income or capital gains. The amendment prolongs that guarantee until 2035. While Premier Cox said the Government had no intention of starting taxation based on profit, income or capital gains, she said the amendment was meant to reassure businesses and make them more comfortable investing in the Island. She said that extending the agreement had always been on the Government agenda, but had been put off in the past because of international concerns that the exception could lead to harmful business practices, favoring international businesses over local.
Financial Services Tax Act 2017. March 17. A Bill to introduce a new tax for financial services won narrow support in a House of Assembly vote after Opposition MPs argued it would result in higher fees for “Mr and Mrs Bermuda”. Finance minister Bob Richards admitted that there was no initial consultation with any of the affected parties with regards to the Financial Services Tax Act 2017. The Bill came to a vote, with Government Whip Susan Jackson counting 15 votes against, and 15 votes in favour, herself casting the deciding vote in favour making 16 in favour. The Bill was branded “The Airport and America’s Cup Tax Bill” by Progressive Labour Party MPs Diallo Rabain and Kim Wilson. However, Mr Richards countered that the Bill “is the PLP deficit tax increase” rather than an “airport or America’s Cup tax”. The Act will see money service businesses hit with a 1 per cent tax on their aggregated incoming and outgoing transmission volume. That figure was reduced from the 5 per cent announced in the Budget Statement, after consultation with the business services industry, according to Mr Richards. Banks will pay 0.005 per cent of their consolidated gross assets, while local insurance companies will have a 2.5 per cent tax on gross premiums earned, excluding premiums from health insurance. Mr Rabain and Ms Wilson claimed that the new tax on banks, insurance companies and money service businesses, expected to generate more than $11 million per year, would eventually impact “Mr and Mrs Bermuda”. Ms Wilson, shadow health minister, said: “If I am an insurance company, I will not eat that — I’ll pass it on to the consumer.” Speaking on “astronomical” bank fees, she described the Bill as “reverse Robin Hood, that takes money from the poor, or in this case the middle class, and gives it to the rich”. Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott echoed concerns about the equity of the Bill and PLP backbencher Wayne Furbert asked: “Is this the best they can do?”, while deputy Opposition leader Walter Roban said the move could bring concern to the business community. Opposition leader David Burt, who pointed out that Bermuda is “the most expensive place in the world to live”, also insisted this “Act here will make it more expensive to fill the revenue hole to pay for the Minister’s projects”. He also noted that the tax on money services businesses had been dropped, “just like the mysterious customs duty hikes, which have magically disappeared”. Mr Richards stressed that the “overriding objective and the overriding risk to the Bermuda economy, to Bermuda as a country and to the Bermudian people is the excessive debt that this Government has”. Noting that “nobody likes to pay more taxes”, he added “we made a decision because nobody was going to agree to it”. Mr Richards said the Government had made a decision to reduce the deficit “that we inherited from the other side”. Responding to questions from the Opposition about why the tax on money service businesses had been reduced to 1 per cent, Mr Richards said 5 per cent was deemed “way too high” after consulting with stakeholders of the business service industry. But he added that it is “really not that big a deal in so far as the dollar amount of the taxes raised” because money service businesses “are very small compared to the business operations of the banks and insurance companies”. But, pressed by Mr Burt about what consultation was made with the money service business before the 5 per cent was set, Mr Richards admitted that there was none. And when Mr Burt questioned what consultation was done with the banks and insurance companies, Mr Richards conceded that “this tax was not arrived at with prior consultation with the members involved”. He added: “We used comparative numbers with some other similar jurisdictions to Bermuda.” And when pressed what these were, he said: “Mainly the Bahamas — these rates are very similar to what they use.” MPs voted along party lines, with Independent MP Shawn Crockwell voting in favour.
Fisheries Regulations which specify potential penalties for violators.
Friendly Societies Act 1868.
Government Fees Amendment (No 2) Regulations 2017. Provides authorization for government fees to be collected from the energy sector as recommended by the Regulatory Authority.
Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009. Modernizes trust laws and helps remove some of the complications which might have stopped wealthy families looking at a jurisdiction to put a trust, from considering Bermuda.
As published in a mid-January edition of Bermuda's The Royal Gazette daily newspaper.
These are upfront fees, paid irrespective of whether companies are successes or failures, with no refunds applicable in the event of liquidations and with no tax rebates of any kind. They are in addition to other tax obligations applicable to employers.
This is not a substitute, merely a summary, with their responsibility entirely to comply with the right procedure, for companies under The Companies Act 1981; Companies Amendment (No. 2) Act 1990; The Companies Act 1981 (Fifth Schedule) Amendment Order 1994; The Banks and Deposit Companies (Fees) Act 1975; Insurance Act 1978; Non-Resident Insurance Undertaking Act; Exempted Partnerships Act 1992; Overseas Partnerships Act 1995; Trust Companies Act 1981; and Segregated Accounts Companies Act 2000 and its Amendment Act 2002.
Companies should check to see what fees apply from April 1 annually - the start of the new accounting year for the Bermuda Government. Every company should use its registration number on all correspondence with the Bermuda Government and when making any purchases. Every company must notify the Registrar of Companies, at the Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda, of its registered office, which cannot be a post office box, on Form 13.
(i) All cheques (checks) for fees are payable to the Accountant General but are given or sent or delivered, with Returns, to the Registrar of Companies, Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12.
(ii) All US$ cheques (checks) will be accepted at par with the Bermuda Dollar from companies denominated as Non-Resident under the Exchange Control Act.
(iii). Every company must notify the Registrar of the whereabouts and situation of its registered office (which shall not be a post office box) on Form 13.
(iv) Every company should use its registration number.
Warwick Long Bay
In other words, not locally owned or majority locally owned. Every company shall, in the month of January, forward to the Registrar of Companies a declaration signed on behalf of the company as to the company's principal business and its assessable capital, together with the appropriate fee payable. Fees submitted after the due date carry a penalty.
Where the assessable capital of the exempted company is as follows, specific fees apply:
(vii) $500,000,000 or more
Assessable capital shall be calculated in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Amendment (No. 2) Act.
And has submitted to the Registrar a certified copy of the document which evidences such designation, specific fees apply:
(i) Small FSC which does not lease aircraft
(ii) Regular FSC which does not lease aircraft
(iii) FSC small or regular which leases aircraft
Specific fees apply:
2 (i) Where the principal business of the permit company is finance business or insurance business, or in the case of a permit company which is open ended, mutual fund business.
In any other case.
Excludes banks & deposit companies, treated separately.
They are those which are at least 60 percent locally owned and trade locally with Bermudians and other residents.
Every local company must in the month of March forward to the Minister of Finance a Return of Shareholdings in the company as at December 31, on Form 14, signed by two directors.
Every local company shall not later than March 31 submit to the Registrar of Companies the appropriate fee, with the Annual Return and fee and a filing fee of $34 for the Return. Late fees and Returns carry a penalty of $150.
Specific fees apply where the issued capital is:
Less than $50,000
50,000 or more but less than $250,000
$250,000 or more but less than $500,000
$500,000 or more but less than $1 million
$1 million or more but less than $5 million
$5 million or more but less than $ 10 million
$ 10 million or more
When the company engages in or is carrying on in Bermuda or trading in petroleum or and other oils or liquefied petroleum gas, specific fees apply:
When the company's business includes the management of any unit trust scheme, in respect of each unit trust scheme managed by the company at the date of the declarations.
Plus any other applicable fees.
Under the Limited Partnerships Act 1883 (as amended) and Exempted Partnerships Act 1992 (as amended). A notice is published in the Official Gazette by the attorney for the applicant when an exempted limited partnership is formed. It shows by whom and gives its name.
An exempted partnership shall, on or before 31st January each year send to the Registrar of Companies a declaration in writing signed by a partner or an authorized person on behalf of the partnership stating the general nature of the business transacted by the exempted partnership, together with the annual fee.
Every partner shall be liable to a penalty per day if the partnership fails to pay the annual fee on time and fails to file a declaration.
Every overseas partnership shall no later than 31st January submit its fee to the Registrar. Fees submitted after the due date carry an additional sum and a default fine.
Every Non-Resident Insurance Undertaking shall no later than 31st March submit its fee to the Registrar. Fees submitted after the due date carry an additional sum and a penalty.
The Customs Tariff Amendment Act applies. It is a 540-page list of special codes for every imaginable type of imported product and it provides for Customs Officers the rate of Customs or import duty on the item. The revised code consists of up to seven digits in heading and tariff code fields and a detailed description of the item to be imported or exported. It also includes the unit to be used for calculating the duty, whether the value of the item or its quantity or weight. Some items, like alcohol, are calculated by the liter. Some other items, like cigarettes, are calculated by the cigarette.
Insurance companies registered in accordance with the provisions of The Insurance Act 1978 shall forward the appropriate annual business fee applicable to each category on or before March 31.
(a) (i) Non-resident Insurance Undertaking
(ii) Class 1 Insurer carrying on general business
(iii) Class 2 Insurer carrying on general business
(iv) Class 3 Insurer carrying on general business
(v) Class 4 Insurer carrying on general business
(vi) Long Term Insurer
(vii) Class 1 Insurer carrying on general business and long-term business
(viii) Class 2 Insurer carrying on general business and long-term business
(ix) Class 3 Insurer carrying on general business and long-term business
(x) Class 4 Insurer carrying on general business and long-term business
(b) An insurance manager under Section 10 of the Insurance Act
(c) An insurance broker under Section 10 of the Insurance Act
(d) An insurance agent under Section 10 of the Insurance Act
(e) An insurance salesman under Section 10 of the Insurance Act
Investment Business Act 1998 applies. Local Investment Companies must be granted a license to carry on investment business in Bermuda within the meaning of section 2 of the Act, before they can sell their services. Licenses carry specific fees:
Applying for a license under section 6
Annual fee for grant of license under section 10(1)
Meaning companies licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act 1981 and the relevant Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999. All shall forward license fees to the Registrar of Companies no later than 31st January.
Application for a banking license
Where the bank has consolidated gross assets (in all currencies) of less than $200 million in value
Where the bank has consolidated assets (in all currencies) of $200 million or more in value
Application for a deposit company license
Every Trust Company licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Companies Act 1991 shall no later than March 31 in every year following the year in which it was licensed, pay a specific amount.
Regulates all trust companies. Came into force on 25 January 2002, replacing the Trust Companies Act 1991.Licensing is a requirement.
To register a medical practitioner in Bermuda under section 7, specific fees apply:
Issuing an authorization to a visiting practitioner under section 21
For a locum tenens under section 22
In addition to the annual fee or tax otherwise payable, these companies pay an annual fee in respect of each segregated account operated by the company, subject to a maximum fee in the aggregate. A segregated account company is one with separate cells or accounts created where assets and liabilities in each cell or account are completely ring-fenced. For example, for a split rights deal in a recording or theatrical company, one cell has sound recording receipts and the other has theatrical and merchandising receipts.
April 20, 2017.
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