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There are many accountancy firms in St Lucia, including international companies PWC and KPMG, particularly in Castries and Gros Islet. St Lucia is a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and therefore its auditing regulation is controlled centrally by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Banks are obliged to comply with at least the minimum International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as well as the ECCB’s requirements. The ECCB requires banks to submit an annual audit, a quarterly report of income statements and a monthly report on their balance sheets. Transparency of financial operations is important as local banks are required to publish their financial statements annually in local newspapers and to exhibit them in their offices. The Companies Act makes a clear distinction between public companies and other businesses when it comes to accounting and auditing guidelines. The Office of the Director of Audit carries out annual audits of all government departments, agencies and companies. The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (2011) ranks St Lucia 58th out of 183 countries.
The main professional body for accountants in St Lucia is the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Eastern Caribbean, which is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean, the regulator of the accountancy sector in the region. The regional body is governed by a board of directors with Institutes from member countries electing a director for a two year period. The ICAC has a membership of some 3, 000 qualified professionals. The Institute has put in place a series of initiatives to improve the ease with which qualified accountants can move around the region by harmonising accountancy qualifications. The University of the West Indies offers courses including accounting and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) is operational in the country.
The statutory corporate tax rate is 30% and income tax on individuals is on a sliding scale with a top rate of 30%. The Fiscal Incentives Act 2005 outlines a range of measures in St Lucia which are designed to promote business growth in targeted areas. There is a range of tax concessions including small business, manufacturing, agriculture, financial services and hotels. There are no capital gains, death, inheritance or gift taxes and there is no tax on distributions. According to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (2011), St Lucia ranks 58 out of 183 countries worldwide in terms of resolving insolvency.