On Thursday 12 November, law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and tax consultancy firm Baker Tilly St. Maarten organized a seminar called 'A Solid Local Foundation'. Tax advisors Maarten Tervoort and Arthur van Aalst and attorneys at law Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer and Kamla Besançon informed the participants about the various options in St. Maarten for estate planning, asset protection and fiscal optimization for local entrepreneurs and family businesses.
The joint message of the two firms was that St. Maarten as a jurisdiction offers excellent opportunities to entrepreneurs and family businesses active in St. Maarten, to structure business interests and holdings. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly assume that offshore options are the best for this purpose. Offshore options can actually be unattractive from a fiscal point of view. For instance, structuring real estate in St. Maarten is almost always cheaper via a St. Maarten Private Foundation (SPF) compared to for instance an Anguilla or another offshore entity.
At this seminar, the four speakers updated the participants regarding local alternatives. Tax advisors Maarten Tervoort and Arthur van Aalst explained the fiscal aspects of the St. Maarten SPF, Trust, and Tax Exempt Company. They explained that these structures are perfect for shareholdings or for providing financing. Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer and Kamla Besançon of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne discussed the legal aspects. Their presentations covered for instance the option of classes of shares as structuring tools, having legal personality and liability. Giving the participants a complete picture of how St. Maarten entities and tax regimes allow for legal structures that tailor to specific needs.
The seminar was geared at St. Maarten entrepreneurs, managing directors and high executives, and took place at the Westin Hotel. The many questions and reactions from the audience ensured interactivity, and many participants expressed the desire for more information on this topic during drinks at the end.