The Export Development Allowance permits a company to deduct from taxable income an additional 50% of what the company spends in developing export markets outside CARICOM.
Manufacturing businesses may also qualify for an investment allowance of 20% on plant machinery which is new or imported into Barbados for the first time. Businesses entitled to the export allowance may claim a 40% investment allowance instead of the usual initial allowance of 20%.
Market Research and Development Allowance
In addition manufacturers are entitled to an allowance of 150% of the expenditure incurred for the purpose of promoting export sales to regions outside of CARICOM or for market research and development. Section 12D of the Income Tax Act sets out the types of expenditure which qualify. It includes salaries and wages, traveling and accommodation, advertising and sales promotion. A certificate must be obtained from the BIDC confirming the person is engaged in the business of export, to substantiate the claim.
International Business Company Act
Manufacturing companies classified as International Business Companies under the International Business Companies Act (1991) are also afforded benefits. Benefits under the Act include:
- Tax on income on a sliding scale from a maximum of 2.5% to a minimum of 1%.
- Exemption from capital gains tax or estate duty.
- Tax credits in respect of taxes paid outside of Barbados but insofar as it does not reduce the tax payable in Barbados to less than 1%.
- Freedom from exchange control.
- Tax concessions for specially qualified persons.
- Imports of equipment and machinery free of customs duty, consumption tax, VAT and other like duties.
In addition, international business companies may apply for a guarantee that all or any of the benefits and exemptions in the Act will be valid for 15 years. In order to benefit from these incentives however, companies must apply to the Ministry of Industry, International Business Commerce and Small Business Development for a licence to conduct international business. The licence must be renewed annually. A company classified as an International Business Company must not trade within Barbados.
Special Technical Assistance Programme
This programme seeks to address inherent problems associated with high cost of production, inappropriate technology and management and production systems and other associated problems. This fund, administered by the BIDC, is intended to assist in helping companies to become globally competitive and to improve their level of exports.
Export Credit Insurance Scheme
This Scheme was established to promote and facilitate the growth of Barbados’ manufactured exports. This Scheme provides insurance cover against losses as a result of the non-payment for Barbadian exports by foreign buyers. It offers a number of facilities and is administered by the Central Bank of Barbados.
Enhanced Credit Guarantee Scheme
The Central Bank of Barbados established an Enhanced Credit Guarantee Scheme for enterprises in the foreign exchange earning sectors, under the following terms:
Any credit institution desirous of participating in the Scheme may apply to the Central Bank to do so and, upon approval, provide credit facilities to eligible borrowers.
The borrower may be an individual, partnership, a corporate body, or an association of individuals, and must have the ability to contract loans and other credit facilities. To qualify the borrowers must meet the following criteria:-
- The enterprise must be in the foreign exchange earning sectors, or be a direct supplier to an enterprise earning foreign exchange.
- Sales in foreign currencies must be at least 75% of gross revenue, or at least 75% of gross revenue must be supplied to enterprises earning foreign exchange.
Under the scheme:
- Credit facilities to be guaranteed shall be the net amount of new credit advanced to the enterprise.
- The maximum amount of credit facilities to be guaranteed shall not exceed 80% of the loan from the credit institution or Bds$2.0 million, whichever is lower.
- Guarantees may be provided for working capital facilities up to a maximum maturity of three (3) years.
- Guarantees for long-term facilities may be provided up to a maximum of twelve (12) years.
- Credit facilities which may be guaranteed include demand loans, term loans, overdraft, discounts, letters of credit, acceptances, payment guarantees, tender bids and contract bonds.
Export Finance Guarantee Scheme
This Scheme is designed to remove the laborious systems involved in accessing financing for exporters fulfilling the production of goods for export. The Scheme covers both pre and post-shipment costs and evidence of a firm contract or agreement of sale with a foreign buyer is required. This Scheme is offered by the Central Bank of Barbados.
Export Rediscount Facility
The Central Bank has sponsored this facility to assist in the promotion of non-traditional exports from Barbados. The Facility will allow exporters to obtain export finance at minimum cost. All commercial banks operating in Barbados which maintain a reserve account with the Central Bank of Barbados are eligible to participate. All exporters who possess bills receivable for the exportation of non-traditional goods, wholly or partially manufactured in Barbados, are eligible to participate in the Facility. The Central Bank reserves the right to impose discount limits for individual exporters. Only bills with credit periods not in excess of 180 days will be considered for rediscount. Advances against sight bills will be considered upon request.
Barbados Investment Fund
The Barbados Investment Fund (BIF) is a close-ended equity fund administered by the Caribbean Financial Services Corporation (CFSC). The Fund provides equity financing for small and medium sized businesses operating in Barbados and engaged in manufacturing, agro-industry, tourism and several services sub-sectors. The BIF will provide funds for capital costs components, i.e. equipment and real estate as well as working capital support for investee companies. Requests for financing through the BIF should be directed to the CFSC.
Tourism and Manufacturing Guarantee Facility (formerly Small Business Guarantee Scheme)
Effective February 2009, the Central Bank announced a widening of the range of entities eligible for credit guarantees under the Small Business Guarantee Scheme to include medium sized companies in the tourism and manufacturing sectors. Companies with capital of Bds$2 million (formerly $1 million) and companies with gross revenue of Bds$4 million (formerly (Bds$2 million) are now eligible to access the facility. The Central Bank is prepared to guarantee facilities of up to Bds$150 000 for short-term and Bds$300 000 for medium-term use. This does not however apply to past-due debts.
Businesses which make use of the facilities provided under this Scheme could derive substantial benefits, including:
- Adequate security for loans
- Increased working capital
- Expansion of fixed assets, machinery and equipment
- Increased cash flow
- Increased sales and profits
- Lower rates of interest
- Expansion and diversification of operations
- Opportunity to employ more people and new skills
- New technology
- New products
In addition, the Central Bank will guarantee technical assistance loans up to a limit of Bds$50,000 for any one borrower (i.e. within the overall cost of Bds$300,000 for medium term facilities), where such facilities are for the purpose of market or product research, marketing, product costing, promotion, production/plant layout, accounting and/or information systems, staff training, management/entrepreneurial training, business reorganisation/restructuring or any other relevant areas of technical assistance.
A technical assistance grant may be made available to persons who qualify. The criteria for this grant are as follows: -
- Grants may be given up to Bds$5,000 and should not exceed 50% of the cost of the business plan, etc.
- Consultant should have performed a number of previous consultancies.
- Consultant should have a degree in a relevant discipline.
- Invoice from consultant should be submitted to the Central Bank of Barbados to verify the cost.
- The grant will normally only be considered in connection with a loan under a Small Business Guarantee or an Industrial Credit Fund loan.
- In exceptional cases a grant may be considered apart from a credit guarantee or ICF loan.
Industrial Credit Fund Technical Assistance Grant
The Central Bank in February 2009 introduced a Technical Assistance Grant to be administered under the Industrial Credit Fund (ICF).
- Grants can be given up to Bds$5,000 and not exceeding 50% of the cost of the business plan, market research etc.
- Consultant should have performed a number of previous consultancies.
- Consultant should have a degree in a relevant discipline.
- Invoice from consultant should be submitted to the Central Bank to verify the cost.
- The grant will normally only be considered in connection with a loan under a Small Business Guarantee or an Industrial Credit Fund loan.
- In exceptional cases, a grant may be considered apart from a credit guarantee or ICF loan.
The objective of the ICF is to contribute to the development of Barbados by stimulating growth of output, employment and foreign exchange earnings of the Barbados economy. To this end, the ICF also provides medium and long-term credit to productive enterprises operating mainly in the private sector.
ICF resources are channelled to beneficiaries through qualified financial intermediaries. These intermediaries are commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in Barbados. Potential beneficiaries must first approach a financial intermediary with a project proposal. The intermediary will in turn submit the proposal to the Industrial Credit Fund.
In addition to the technical assistance grant, the ICF’s resources can be used to finance:
a) Fixed assets (excluding real estate purchases)
b) Working capital (primarily raw material purchases)
Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. Range of Funds
The Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. (EGFL) provides Barbadian companies in the productive sector with loan financing, venture capital and technical assistance through a range of funds, including:
Small Hotels Investment Fund
The Small Hotels Investment Fund (SHIF) assists small hotels with marketing, management, procurement of joint services and refurbishment. The SHIF finances projects that clearly demonstrate that they will enhance the financial viability and operational performance of the small hotel sector. The SHIF is restricted to the Small Hotels of Barbados Inc. (SHBI) and its members whose properties comply with the minimum standards established by the European Travel Trade. The maximum funding per application is $5.25 million. While there is no specified minimum for the SHBI, the minimum loan size for SHBI members is $50,000. Loan repayment periods are 10 years or less including a 5 year moratorium on the repayment of interest and principal. Security on loans will generally take the form of a first legal mortgage but the Fund is prepared to take second mortgages in instances where 80% of the market realisation value of the underlying security is adequate to liquidate all prior charges and the Fund' s exposure.
Tourism Loan Fund
The Tourism Loan Fund provides loans for the refurbishing and upgrading of eligible hotels and attractions and/or for the construction of facilities to be used for the purpose of carrying on business in the areas of historical cultural and natural heritage attractions. The Fund provides financing to those entities with seventy-five rooms or less, operating in the accommodation sub-sector and to those operating in or desirous of entering the attractions sub-sector. The maximum loan size is the higher of $4.5 million or 15% of the total capitalisation of the Fund. The minimum loan size is $50,000. Security on loans will generally take the form of a first legal mortgage but the Fund is prepared to take second mortgages in instances where 80% of the market realisation value of the underlying security is adequate to liquidate all prior charges and the Fund's exposure.
Agricultural Development Fund
The Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) provides loan financing to help farming and fishing communities in Barbados become more competitive. The ADF also provides incentives, technical assistance and grants to this sector. To qualify for assistance from the ADF you must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and be issued with a Farm Registration Identification Card. You must also be registered with both the VAT Office and National Insurance Scheme and show evidence of compliance. Loan financing is available from $50,000 to $1 million. Security is required, usually in the form of a legal charge over assets acquired with the proceeds of the loan and any other collateral that might be deemed necessary. For loan applications less than $150,000 applicants will be required to submit a completed application form. EGFL will provide assistance in preparing applications to the required standard for loan amounts less than $150,000. For loan applications exceeding $150,000 a comprehensive business plan should be completed and should contain the following information:
Industrial Investment and Employment Fund
The Industrial Investment and Employment Fund (IIEF) provides local manufacturers with loan financing on attractive terms. The IIEF provides financing to limited liability manufacturing companies with 51% of their share capital, owned by Barbadian residents. Such enterprises must demonstrate the potential to add significant value to the Barbadian economy by:
1. Being a net earner/saver of foreign exchange; and/or
2. Generating employment.
Loan financing up to $2 million is provided to help local manufacturers create growth-oriented companies. The minimum loan size is $50,000. Security is required, usually in the form of a legal charge over assets acquired with the proceeds of the loan and any other collateral that might be deemed necessary.
The Innovation Fund provides seed capital and technical expertise to entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and are in need of funds to commercialise their ideas. The Innovation Fund provides assistance to businesses with an innovative and marketable idea, the project must be majority owned by residents of Barbados and must have the potential to earn or save foreign exchange. Applications are welcomed, but your company must be incorporated to receive funding. Seed capital financing is available from $25,000 to $250,000.
Applicants for EGFL grant financing are required to submit a comprehensive project proposal including details of the project’s contribution to the development of new or expanded export markets and their long-term sustainability; potential foreign exchange earnings; employment creation and project costs. The maximum funding per application has been set at Bds$1 million. Qualifying private companies are required to contribute 20% of the total cost of the project to be financed. That contribution may, in exceptional cases, be waived by the fund’s management committee.
GREEN BUSINESS INCENTIVES
If you ever thought about becoming an innovator or entrepreneur offering environmentally-friendly products, services or renewable energy options, now might be a good time to make a move.
Government has enacted several pieces of legislation to encourage investment in this sector and now provides a number of tax incentives from which you may stand to benefit. These incentives translate not only into substantial cost savings but also encourage sales of “green” products and services by making them more affordable to consumers – that’s good news either way for investors!
Where “green business” is the mainstay of the business itself, incentives are available within the Barbados Income Tax Act. Under Section 12, companies which have incurred capital expenditure in respect of machinery or plant are allowed to claim an initial allowance of 20% of such expenditure. However, certain green business activities may be entitled to an investment allowance. For example, the use of recycled plastics to produce new plastic products by a company could entitle it to claim an investment allowance of 20% of the expenditure incurred in respect of machinery or plant. The benefit of claiming the investment allowance is that unlike the initial allowance, it is not deducted from the cost of the asset for the purposes of determining the annual tax depreciation.
Additionally, for companies manufacturing “green products”, they are allowed to claim an annual allowance of 150% of the capital expenditure for the assets used in the business.
Government has also sought to assist companies keen on engaging environmentally sound practices in their operations. Under Section 12E.10 of the Income Tax Act, companies seeking internationally recognised environmental certification as a testimony of their eco-friendly actions, can now claim a deduction of 150% of the expenditure incurred in an income year for the purpose of acquiring the certification. This extends to ISO 14000 certification for manufacturing firms, the Green Globe programme certification or its equivalent for tourism organisations, and the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification or its equivalent for firms in the building industry. This is intended to alleviate the usually high costs associated with acquiring the standard requirements and to make the certification more affordable to companies, which can in turn use it as a means of promoting their products and services.
Under Section 12C1 of the Income Tax Act, companies are also entitled to a deduction of a maximum of $3 500 in respect of expenses incurred in installing a water storage facility on a commercial building.
Environmental Policy Initiatives
Manufacturing firms are entitled to a 150% tax rebate on attainment of recognized environmental certification such as ISO 14000, the Green Globe Programme or the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification.
ALTERNATIVE/RENEWABLE ENERGY INCENTIVES
Renewable energy has been a feature in a number of budgetary proposals in recent years. The Income Tax Amendment Bill as proposed, encompasses the majority of the proposals put forward by Government with respect to renewable energy. Government announced that it will shortly be going to Parliament with the requisite pieces of legislation to lock in the advances proposed with this national alternative energy initiative. These include:
- exclusion from tax of income earned from the sale of electricity produced from the utilization of renewable energy equipment by an individual who owns and wholly occupies residential property;
- deduction of amounts spent or incurred in respect of training in renewal energy and energy efficient systems or in respect of a minor or a student under 25 years of age who is unemployed and pursuing a course in renewal or energy efficient systems.
The training is to be provided by an educational or vocational institution that is approved by the Barbados Accreditation Council;
- income tax holiday of ten years granted on the certificate of the Minister Responsible for Energy to a developer, manufacturer or installer of renewable energy systems and energy efficient products;
- 150% deduction of loan interest relating to construction of a new facility or the upgrading of an existing property relating to renewable energy;
- 150% deduction for a period of 10 years on the amount expended on staff training relating to renewable energy;
- 150% deduction on the marketing of renewal energy related products;
- 150% deduction on product development and research on renewable energy related sources and the installation and servicing of same;
- exemption from the payment of corporation tax by a venture capital fund invested in the renewable energy sector for a period of 10 years;
- deduction of contributions to a venture capital fund for a period of 10 years for investments made in the renewable energy sector;
- exemption from the payment of withholding tax for a period of ten years on dividends earned by shareholders of companies engaged in renewable energy related services; and
- exemption from the payment of tax for a period of ten years on interest earned by financial institutions for the financing of renewable energy related products.
FINANCING FACILITIES FOR GREEN BUSINESS
Financing and technical support for developing sustainable energy solutions may be accessed through Enterprise Growth Fund Limited (EGFL).
Funding is being offered through the Energy Smart Fund, a government led initiative, funded by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to provide support for Energy Efficient (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) solutions to homeowners and businesses in Barbados. Businesses can apply for either technical assistance grants or low-cost loans.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME’s) as well as companies owned by government incorporated under the Companies Act and any other organizations acceptable to EGFL, who require funds to implement EE and RE solutions are eligible to benefit from these facilities. However, EGFL and the Project Execution Unit can make exceptions to this ruling on a case by case basis.
An SME is defined as a business incorporated under The Companies Act and approved as a small business in accordance with the Small Business Development Act 1999-23; or one that meets the criteria set out here:
- Gross sales/revenues up to and not exceeding BDS$5 million per year
- Stated or paid-up capital up to and not exceeding BDS$2 million
- Majority (over 50 percent) Barbadian-owned
- Not controlled by another business whose reserves and/or capital or non-Barbadian ownership exceed the criteria above.
- Criterion for hotels only: accommodation capacity must not exceed fifty (50) rooms
- Criterion for businesses engaged in agriculture only: acreage under cultivation must not exceed 25 acres.
Technical Assistance Grants
Technical assistance grants up to a maximum of BDS$40,000 per business are available to fund pre-investment audits and studies to assess the feasibility of RE and EE solutions. These audits and studies should test the economic, environmental, technical and financial viability of each project, prior to its implementation. Businesses applying for funding through this facility are required to provide counter-part funding in the form of a deposit which is reimbursed in full if the project is implemented or deemed not viable and therefore not implemented.
How To Access Technical Assistance
Businesses wishing to access funding must first:
- Sign a letter of Intent
- Select a qualified energy auditor who has been approved as a Smart Fund Partner for the purposes of conducting an energy audit
- Submit a brief overview of the project idea outlining the expected costs, performance and benefits of the project. Ideally, this review should be undertaken by an approved Smart Fund Energy Audit Partner
- Submit details of electricity and gas usage for the last 12 months
Terms And Conditions
The terms and conditions for receiving grant funding under the TA Facility are as follows:
- Size of Grants: Grants to pay for EE audits and RE studies, may amount to a maximum of BDS$40,000 per applicant.
- Deposit (Counterpart funding and management fee): EGFL determines the size of the deposit an applicant should make to the account of the TA Facility. Deposits should be received prior to the disbursement of the grant to pay for the EE audit or RE study. The value of the deposit may be up to 50% of the grant amount, depending on EGFL’s assessment of the project.
- A management fee of 2% will be deducted from each grant disbursement.
- The remainder of the deposit (after subtracting the management fee) is treated in one of the following three ways, depending on the project outcome:
- If the project assessed by the EE audit or RE study is deemed viable, and ultimately implemented with a loan from the EE Retrofit and RE Finance Facility, the remainder of the deposit is fully reimbursed to the applicant.
- If the project assessed by the EE audit or RE study is deemed viable, but is ultimately not implemented, or is implemented but without a loan from the EE Retrofit and RE Finance Facility, the deposit is not reimbursed.
- If the project assessed by the EE audit or RE study is deemed not viable and is not implemented, the remainder of the deposit is fully reimbursed to the applicant.
- Grant Restrictions. Only one grant may be awarded to any business. However, a Smart Fund Partner (SFP) may be hired by more than one business to perform an audit or study under the TA Facility. Grants are awarded to businesses on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Inspection. Businesses receiving grant funding for an EE audit or RE study, commit to using the funding only for the purposes agreed to with EGFL and agree to random inspections by independent auditors to verify that funds are used appropriately and that compliance with the terms and conditions are respected.
- Grant Agreement. As a prior condition for disbursement of any grant funding provided under the TA facility, the Grant Agreement must be signed by EGFL and the beneficiary of the grant.
Businesses are eligible for below market rate loans to implement EE and RE projects that are financially and technically viable up to a maximum of Bds$1.5 million per applicant. The variable interest rate is currently 3.75% per annum on the reducing balance of the loan which may be repaid over a maximum period of 10 years.
Projects Eligible For Funding
Projects eligible for support under this facility are as follows:
- Energy efficiency/conservation projects: These save electrical or thermal energy by reducing the intensity of the energy consumed, or by avoiding the unnecessary use of energy. Such measures may include energy efficient lighting, energy efficient equipment for example, Inverter A/C units, power monitors, variable speed devices, US-EU Energy Star Rated equipment, etc.
- Distributed scale renewable energy projects: Generate electrical or thermal energy by utilising renewable sources of energy such as the sun, the wind, and others including photovoltaic thermal systems, small wind turbine systems and solar water heating solutions. However, the viability of each approach will be tested on a case by case basis. The Smart Fund does not restrict the kW capacity of eligible systems.
- Working Capital to RE Producers. RE Producers are entities that manufacture, assemble, install or sell energy efficient and conservation products (i.e. energy efficient lights, appliances and other equipment). This facility provides workingcapital which may be used to purchase material inputs for the manufacture or assembly of energy efficiency and conservation products.
- Technologies Eligible For Funding
- The Smart Fund Technical Committee (SFTC) is responsible for conducting technical and economic reviews of technologies to determine their eligibility for support based on established criteria.
Further information on the Smart Fund may be obtained from the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited website http://www.egfl.bb/