Relocating/ retiring to the Turks and Caicos Islands
Residency and working from Turks and Caicos
Most visitors can reside in the islands for up to 3 months visa free- full country list – but make sure your passport has at least six months plus your stay period of validity. For longer term residency, temporary (proving you have access to sufficient funds to support yourself) or permanent residency (through buying a home or business) is available from Government. There are no direct taxes (so no property, income, capital gains, or estate taxes) in the Turks and Caicos. Working for an employer doing business on island or becoming self-employed in a business on island will require a work permit for non-TCI citizens.
Digital nomadism is a grey area, as there is no official route to operating a business or working offshore on a self-employed basis whilst residing in TCI without a work permit, and you do so at a limited but real risk.
Not having a formal residence permit (or a work permit) means you will, at very least, face inconveniences: it will be a struggle to open bank accounts, own vehicles, rent long term, obtain driving licenses, etc.
There is no restriction on property ownership, no property taxes, and a clear Torrens land registry system, so there is no need to deduce title. Stamp Duty is payable on real estate deals, usually by the purchaser (10% over $500k).
Take advice from a capable professional where you come from about what taxes, if any, you may have to pay at home and what filings you need to make. Just because TCI is tax-free doesn’t mean your domestic obligations are over.
Moving your business to Turks and Caicos or starting a new one
TCI genuinely encourages new businesses, especially in the Tech (including FinTech) and Financial Services sectors. Concessions and incentives for the right businesses are available via the Islands’ Investment Promotion Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos, and they will also be able to help with immigration and other issues. The TCI has an encouraging and commercial Financial Services Regulator, and a good source for up to date legislation and regulation in the island’s Financial Services sector is their website.
It is usually possible to have your pension and investment income paid to your local TCI bank account if you wish to live part time in TCI. If your home country allows you to become non-tax resident, you should take good domestic advice about how to structure your assets and income so that you are not paying more tax than you should after you become non-resident. Medical insurance in TCI is available, but costs are generally higher than in the USA and Europe.
About our guest author: David Stewart is the CEO of Coriats Trust Company Limited.