Updated: Jan 24, 2019
In this article we examine the differences in stamp duty in different islands accross the Caribbean
Stamp duty is thought to have originated in Spain in the 17th Century. Originally a physical stamp had to be attached or impressed upon a document to denote that stamp duty had been paid. These days, the physical stamp isn’t usually required, but unfortunately in many Caribbean countries the practice of a “Stamp Duty” tax or “Transfer Tax” for real estate transactions remains.
In some cases this can be a fairly large factor in a property purchase, so we took this opportunity to review the stamp duty requirements for each Caribbean country.
In some cases, such as The Bahamas this stamp duty is split up between the buyer (5%) and seller (5%). As a buyer, this might feel like a fairer process, but in the end you are still responsible for the seller amount when you sell the property in the future. In the Cayman Islands stamp duty excludes the Chattels, so you must work with your agent to figure out the value of these to deduct from the stamp duty amount calculation.
Some countries have a very straight forward calculation, but others have a graduated stamp duty rate depending on the value of the property. For instance Turks & Caicos ranges from 6.5% to 10% depending on the value. In St Kitts & Nevis the stamp duty will vary greatly depending on which particular region you are looking to purchase in.
Check with a local lawyer
It is important to seek legal advice before you proceed with any transaction. Stamp duty rules often change, and whilst we have done our best we can't provide every specific rule here.