Curacao lies in the Southern part of the Caribbean, less than fifty miles north of South America and has a population of approximately 160,000. The capital of Curacao is Willemstad which is in the main finance centre and seat of Government. Curacao forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and is therefore an associate member of the European Union. However, Curacao has full internal autonomy with a parliamentary democracy based on the Netherlands.
Curacaos' main sources of income are considered shipping, tourism and financial services, with excellent communications and air services in place to support this. he local currency is the Guilder, fixed to the US dollar at the rate of US$1: Nafl1.78, The standards of living on Curacao is considered amongst the highest in the Caribbean. The official language is Dutch, however English and Spanish are widely spoken in the business community.
The islands ideal geographical position with its close connectivity and relationship to Europe, its stable political, legal and financial environment make Curacao the ideal financial and logistical focal point for doing business.
CURACAO ECONOMIC ZONES
The economic zone legislation offers tax incentives to internationally oriented companies that locate their activities in Curacao.
The tax incentives under the economic zone legislation replaced the incentives that were previously available under the free zone legislation. Besides facilities for traditional free zone companies, an attractive environment has been created for companies with an e-strategy.
A wide range of activities may be performed in a free zone. It includes storing, processing, packing and any other treatment of goods. It also comprises trading in goods physically present in the free zone. Moreover, reparation and supporting services are also allowed in the free zone.
As from the year 2001 international (non-financial) services became the second cornerstone of the economic zone. The economic zone offers opportunities to amongst others the following businesses: call centers, e-commerce in general and e-gaming. In support hereof, Curacao have also adjusted their civil law to the demands of the new economy by introducing the Ordinance on Electronic Agreements.
In general, economic zone companies are taxed at a profit rate of 2% up to January 1, 2026. However, profits derived from activities on the local Curacao market are subject to the standard profit tax rate of 27.5%.
No sales tax, excise, import and export duties are levied on the import or export of goods and on services rendered to non-residents of Curacao.
Exemptions for land and occupancy taxes.
Special wage tax facilities for expatriate workers.
Economic zone companies should meet the following requirements:
the company should have a capital divided into shares;
the activities in Curacao should be performed in the relevant economic zone. Large economic zones are located next to the harbor and the airport of the island of Curaçao. Certain other premises in Curacao have also been appointed as economic zones;
the turnover generated through trading with or providing services to residents of Curacao may not exceed 25% of the total turnover per product category;
the business activities should contribute to the economic development of Curacao either by generating foreign currency or creating employment.
The above fits in the strategy of the island of Curaçao to become the premier logistical hub in the Caribbean and Latin America.
A minimum of one shareholder is required. The directors are required to maintain a register of shareholders and this must be made available for public inspection only for as long as the shares are partly paid. If all shares are fully paid then the identity of the shareholders can remain completely confidential.
There is a board of managing directors, minimally one, who can be corporate bodies or individuals. The company must appoint either at least one locally resident managing director or a locally resident registered representative. There may also be a board of supervisory directors to oversee and advise the managing directors. Details of the directors are available for public inspection so anonymity can only be retained by employing third party professional directors.
Every company must file an annual tax return accompanied by properly drawn up financial statements. It is not a legal requirement that the financial statements be audited.
Incorporation cannot proceed until the minimum paid in capital has been deposited in Curacao. Thereafter incorporation can be achieved within 7-10 days. Ready made companies are not generally available.
RESTRICTIONS ON NAME AND ACTIVITY
Names must end with the initials "N.V.". Names need not be in the Dutch language but must be in Roman script. Names should be sufficiently individual so as to prevent confusion with existing companies and names which indicate an activity are only acceptable if the implied activities are to be performed by the company.
As a matter of local company law the company MUST maintain a registered office address within Curacao and must also register itself with a local Chamber of Commerce. For practical reasons a company must also appoint a local resident agent who will manage the affairs of the company in Curacao or, alternatively, as mentioned above, the company may elect to appoint a locally resident managing director instead. We would normally provide these services as part of our domiciliary service fee.