Trinidad and Tobago

Corporate - Other taxes

Last reviewed - 04 February 2020

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT is applicable to a wide range of goods and services. The standard rate applicable to commercial supplies is 12.5%.

Basic food items and agricultural supplies are zero-rated, as are crude oil, natural gas, and exported goods and services. Hotel accommodation and yachting services to non-residents are zero-rated.

A number of services, including financial services, real estate brokerage, residential rentals, and educational services, are exempt. However, certain financial services are subject to a transaction tax at a rate of 15%. Imported inputs of highly capital-intensive manufacturers are exempt from VAT.

The VAT registration threshold for companies making commercial supplies is TTD 500,000 for a 12-month period.

Customs duties

Customs duties are imposed at varying rates on imports and manufactured goods according to classification in Schedules to the Customs Act. The basis is the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value of the goods at the time of import. However, there is a provision for exemptions in relation to specific goods.

Excise taxes

Excise taxes are imposed at varying rates on certain manufactured goods, including tobacco, alcohol, and petroleum products.

Property taxes

The moratorium on the payment of the property tax ended on 30 September 2017. However, incomplete land and property valuation assessment rolls and legal challenges have led to non-collection of the tax since its reinstatement.

All ‘land’ in Trinidad and Tobago is subject to property tax. Land under the Property Taxes Act (PTA) is broadly defined to include land covered with water and all buildings, structures, machinery, plant, pipelines, cables, and fixtures erected or placed upon, in, over, under, or affixed to land. The PTA stipulates the process for arriving at the quantum of tax payable as follows:

  • The Commissioner of Valuations is to assess the annual rental value (ARV) of the property.

    For the purposes of computing the ARV where a rental value is not readily available, the capital cost of the property is used and converted by applying the following factors:
    • Residential: 3.5%.
    • Commercial: 5%.
    • Industrial: 5%.
    • Plant and machinery not housed in a building: 3%.
  • The Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) will determine the annual taxable value (ATV) using the ARV less such deductions as it sees fit for voids or loss of rent of 10% of the ARV.
  • The applicable tax rate is then applied to the ATV, as follows:
    • Agricultural property: 1%.
    • Residential property: 3%.
    • Commercial property: 5%.
    • Industrial plant and machinery housed in a building: 6%.
    • Plant and machinery not housed in a building: 3%.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is levied on instruments of all types (e.g. deeds of conveyance, mortgages, debentures, trust deeds, leases, insurance policies, annuity policies, agreements, share transfers). The rate of stamp duty varies from TTD 25 on a trust deed to up to 10% of market value on property conveyances.

Payroll taxes

Under the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system, an employer is required to deduct income tax from emoluments paid to employees. ‘Emoluments’ is widely defined to include all salary, wages, overtime, bonus, remuneration, perquisites, lodging, stipend, commission or other amounts for services, directors’ fees, retiring allowance, and pensions.

Social security contributions

There is a social security tax, referred to as National Insurance, that is deducted at source at varying rates. The maximum rate is TTD 414.30 per week for monthly income over TTD 13,600, which is payable TTD 276.20 by the employer and TTD 138.10 by the employee.

There is also a health surcharge that is deducted at source. The maximum liability is TTD 8.25 for every week worked.

Hotel accommodation tax

Hotels are subject to a hotel accommodation tax at a rate of 10% of the value of the accommodation.

Insurance premium tax

A tax at the rate of 6% has been imposed on insurance premiums in respect of general insurance contracts. Life insurance and reinsurance premiums are exempt.