BonaireTalk Discussion Group
Moving to Bonaire: Residency FAQ
Moving to Bonaire:
| By Carl (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #2) on Monday, January 3, 2011 - 7:17 pm: |
Can anyone point this American to a good website for information on residency requirements on Bonaire? I see drips and drabs of discussions here (90 days every six months, etc), but no comprehensive material all collected in one place.
My situation is as follows: collectively amongst my family, we've made some twenty five visits to Bonaire. We're thinking about buying a property-- house or condo-- with an eye towards a vacation home now with possible rental when we're not down here and a residence when I'm ready to retire.
However, it's possible I could make my living as a writer or photo/videographer, which means I might move down there, but still be productive. I just wouldn't require a job :-)
| By Phil the Bee (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #144) on Monday, January 3, 2011 - 10:01 pm: |
Check out www.sunbeltbonaire.com & go to the Real Estate Basics. This is not the official government website, but they have a lot of good information
| By Carl (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #3) on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 7:50 am: |
Yea, I read that and it was pretty informative, but as with all things islandy, I wondered how up to date it was. It referenced the 10-10-10 changes, of course, so that gave me some confidence. I was just curious how definitive it was and if there was an actual definitive website.
In my wanderings, I did see someone reference a Dutch site, but it hasn't been translated into English and I'm assuming it only handles Dutch and EU emigrees.
| By michael gaynor (Supreme BonaireTalker - Post #4237) on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 9:20 am: |
The rules are different for Dutch citizens. I would suggest on your next trip, personally pick up the necessary forms. There will surely be changes as we progress through the year. I was told by my associate who does residency apps for Americans, it has been simplified..good luck
Carl..And to further complicate things there is an ongoing dispute over the validity/applicability of the 1956 Dutch American Friendship Treaty. The last I read on this was a judge on St Martin ruled that this was valid and enforceable. I believe one of the political parties in the Netherlands is disputing this ruling.
here's some background..
Here is the official government website for all things related to residency (and other government activites). It is not in English yet, but you can use Google translator to get the gist of things.
Go to: http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/pagina/35/toelating.html
The site includes all of the information and the forms you need apply for permanent residency or for an "overwintering" permit which allows you to stay on the island for up to six consecutive months per year, if you coming here as a "snowbird".
Some important points:
- If you want to stay on the island less than 90 days within any period of 180 days you do not need any extra visa or permit.
- If you want stay on the island for more than 3 consecutive months within a six month period, but less than six months in total in a year, you need an "overwintering" permit. See: http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/pagina/132/gepensioneerde/rentenier.html for the rules and forms.
- If you want to stay on Bonaire 6 months or more per year, then you need to apply for residency. See:
http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/pagina/131/voortgezet+verblijf.html for the rules and forms.
You can send me a direct e-mail if you have other questions, but this should be self-explanatory.
| By B. Maxim (BonaireTalker - Post #71) on Friday, January 14, 2011 - 1:10 pm: |
| By B. Maxim (BonaireTalker - Post #72) on Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 4:53 pm: |
I should have said residency not citizenship. Thanks Tish.
| By Carl (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #4) on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 7:59 am: |
Thanks everyone. I'm on Bonaire now (Bob, I may be dropping by your office later this week after I get the dive itch satisfied), and am fascinated by what I've read in your links.
B, if I do move, I will likely make Bonaire my permanent home, so yes, I'd be paying whatever taxes I'd owe here. I'm not sure what the American IRS rules are governing ex-pats and earnings, but as an accountant, it shouldn't be too hard for me to find out. I don't think I'd apply for citizenship on Bonaire tho. I've got two already, that's enough for one person :-)
| By Jim Richardson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #9) on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 10:46 am: |
I'm currently on Bonaire and would like to speak to someone about retiring here.
Where can I go to pick up the forms and get an explanation of the requirements and costs for residency?
When is my social security taxable to Bonaire?
I know it is also taxable in the US too.
I know my medicare/medicaid is only good in US so
I would also like to know if when retirees become residents do they get to pay Bonaire taxes and get the Government health insurance?
There are many unfinished homes on Bonaire.
Where would I go to get quotes from a contractor on the costs to finish a home?
Where I can go on Bonaire to find the appraised value for tax purposes of an unfinished house?
The Realtors are working for the seller, where does a buyer go so his interests are represented?
I find there are issues that are not mentioned by the Realtor that a buyers agent would uncover.
Bonaire is a perfect place to retire, one needs to be informed before any decisions are made.
I hope others will find these answers useful as well.
| By KOB (LBR32) (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #400) on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 9:45 pm: |
With all due respect, Jim ... do some homework. There are many posts already on BT related to some of your questions.
Bruce Zavon is the right guy to answer your tax questions. If you're already on BON, go see Bruce.
For real estate questions, talk to Bob Bartikowski at RE/MAX or whatever realtor you are working with.
People on BT will bend over backward to help you, but it's reasonable to expect you might do some research yourself in advance.
OK ... let the flaming begin.
| By Jim Richardson (New BonaireTalk Poster - Post #10) on Monday, January 17, 2011 - 11:38 pm: |
I have searched the archives, the problem is the situation all changed as of 10-10-10.
Thanks for the references to Bob and Bruce, unfortunately anyone who reads this group already knows that they are the ones to contact. I have had several conversations with Bruce, but that was before 10-10-10. I have also talked with several realtors both before and after 10-10-10.
I was looking for the officials in the Island Government to contact on the issues.
While investigating a property I wanted to know if the adjacent lot was being built on.
By going to the Government Office I was able to get a copy of the tax map and saw the house was actually built over the line onto the adjacent lot.
The Realtor that showed me the property either did not know, or chose not to disclose this issue.
It's not that I don't trust Realtors, but they represent the seller. That is why I want the Government Documents on the property.
I went into town today to IND and asked for the paperwork for residency, and also for information on how to retire on Bonaire.
I had to translate these documents from Dutch. They gave me the business card for a translator.
They told me that I had to go to the Tax Office for answers regarding Taxes on my retirement.
I will be going there tomorrow to get answers to my questions regarding Taxes.
I am still researching the costs to finish homes.
P.S. Please do not Flame KOB and waste bandwidth.
| By KOB (LBR32) (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #401) on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 7:59 am: |
Jim -- well, my bad. What appeared to be a long laundry list of questions from out of the blue was, in fact, some good stuff. If you are already visiting with Bruce and the IND offices, you are going to the right sources.
Best of luck on your journey toward Bonaire retirement.
| By Pietri Hausmann (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #486) on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 9:55 am: |
your social security income is immediately taxable.
Jim..Please let us know what you find out. As you have indicated many things have changed with the integration.
| By Jim Richardson (BonaireTalker - Post #11) on Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 9:59 am: |
I spoke with a woman at the tax office who explained the tax situation as she understood it.
She gave us some pamphlets in english which I also found later on the web.
The URL for all tax info is http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=nl&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.belastingdienst-cn.nl%2Fbelastingdienst%2Fdownloads
Some documents are in English but this page was in dutch so I fed it into google translate to understand the names of the documents.
She said they (Tax Bureau) would tax your worldwide income if you became a resident.
If you owned a home on Bonaire and also owned another home elsewhere this did NOT make you a resident or non-resident but they (Tax Bureau) would determine if you were a resident for tax purposes based on all the facts.
If you were living like Bonaire was your home and you only visited another country you would need to pay taxes as a resident.
If your social base was on Bonaire you were a resident for tax purposes. For example, you belonged to organizations like the Lions Club here on Bonaire.
If you maintained a home only on Bonaire you were a resident for tax purposes.
If you lived on Bonaire and only visited the US for doctors and hospitals and family you were a resident for tax purposes.
You would be a non-resident if you maintained your social base in another country and also maintained a home in another country.
As a non-resident but a property owner on Bonaire you would be permitted to visit your own vacation home on Bonaire up to but not over 6 Months/Year.
You would not pay Income Tax but would pay Property Tax equal to 1% of the economic value or your home and property instead of Income Tax regardless of rental income.
You would not receive any benefits like a resident does such as free medical care.
All properties on Bonaire are being assigned an economic value and this process is scheduled to be finished by May 2011.
This economic value may be appealed if you disagree but you need to prove why it is not correct. Every 5 years the economic value will be recalculated.
Also any new land leases will be recalculated every 5 years instead of the 20 years on existing land leases.
Everyone I spoke with recommends Bruce Zavon for tax issues with US Citizens since he understands the IRS side and works with someone who understands the Bonaire side of the issue.
It is possible that some of my information may be incorrect so I suggest everyone just use this information as a starting point and seek out your own answers. The documents are there, most are translated, and google translate did a fine job for me on those that were not yet in english.
| By KOB (LBR32) (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #407) on Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 6:46 pm: |
Excellent info, Jim. Thanks for posting.
Wow, does crow taste bad!
Your points are all correct as far as I know.
From a tax perspective for both income tax purposes and property taxes the real determining factor is whether or not you are a LEGAL resident on Bonaire. In the end, it is only thing that the government can really "audit". The tax people here have yet to sort out the details, but i think for most people being a LEGAL resident here (or not) will determine your local tax status. I believe they will use the other tests only if they suspect some sort of fraud.
If you are a legal resident of Bonaire then you can live here more than 180 days per year and you also be subject to local income taxes. If one of you are paying local income taxes then you and your spouse qualify for the local government health care. You would also qualify for the lower property tax rate on your home.
A note on a couple of your items just for clarification:
- Also any new land leases will be recalculated every 5 years instead of the 20 years on existing land leases.
NOTE: This rule applies only to land leases ISSUED after a particular date, which I don't know, but it is certainly sometime on or after 10-10-10. This change will NOT apply to any leases issued BEFORE 10-10-10. The process for changing the amount of lease payment in specified in the deed for every parcel of leased land, so if you read the deed you will know what to expect.
Current property owners of leased land do not need to worry about this change, as their lease payments will still be reset every 20 years as specified in their deed. These lease terms will be in effect at least until the end of their lease period at which time the government can choose to renew their leases under the same or or different terms. I would expect this change in the terms of the lease (making the period for review if the lease payments from 20 years to 5 years) to take place at the time of lease renewal. No lease renewals have happened yet so this is speculation on my part.
- The economic value of your property may be appealed if you disagree but you need to prove why it is not correct. Every 5 years the economic value will be recalculated.
NOTE: A valuation letter from a local realtor has served as "proof of over valuation" for the valuation appeals that I have been involved with.
I think the tax office will also take the recent sale price as "proof" of "current market value", so if you have purchased your property within the past 12 months. A copy of your deed is proof of the purchase price.
If there are other questions, you can contact me directly.
| By Gerald Huppertz (BonaireTalker - Post #87) on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 6:15 pm: |
I just want to add some kudos here for Bob Bartikoski from Remax. I emailed Bob with some questions regarding purchasing real estate on Bonaire. Not only did he answer my questions in great detail I also received the response the very same day!! Within an hour actually. Being used to Island Time responses of 2-3 days this was very refreshing. I would highly recommend Bob for any real estate dealings on Bonaire.
/end shameless plug.
| By KOB (LBR32) (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #580) on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 6:22 pm: |
Gerald -- I will second that. We bought a condo at Lighthouse Beach Resort last fall working with Bob and his team. His service is excellent, not just for Bonaire, but compared to many mainland US realtors. Anyone considering a real estate transaction on Bonaire should get to know Bob.
/end of shameless 2nd plug !!
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