Dominican Republic: a fully developing country that offers opportunities for investment, tax incentives, peace, beauty, and much more – and where you will receive a warm welcome
REAL ESTATE AND VACATION RENTAL HOMES INVESTMENT GUIDE
A Country That Has It All Not only does the Dominican Republic have exceptional regions with unequaled tourism potential, but it also offers investors a legal framework that is well-suited for carrying out their projects. The fantastic combination of diverse natural environments will inspire your imagination and refresh your spirit. Tall mountains, exuberant jungles, pine woods, coral reefs, immaculate beaches, and arid deserts all coexist in this magical land. This magnificent natural world is the setting for luxurious villages, welcoming cities, and first class lodgings for visitors.
The Dominican government has placed a high priority on developing tourism in the country over the last forty years and promoted policies that incentivize investment. The many investment incentivesinclude the Foreign InvestmentLaw, which gives equal rights to foreigners and Dominicans; a law that grants tax exemptions to pensioners and annuitants who choose to reside in the country; additionally, specialized Law 158-01 offers generous tax advantages to new tourism projects and allows for renovation and re-fitting of projects that were constructed 5 or more years, thereby guaranteeing competitiveness, sustainability, and return on investment. The combination of its natural beauty and scenery, excellent climate, and the friendly nature of Dominicans, in addition to the high increases in the value of tourist properties, make this the country of choice for investing and earning good profits, or simply for safeguarding family savings while enjoying ownership of a second residence.
The Dominican Republic is the Golf Mecca of the Caribbean Golf attracts the kind of tourist who has high purchasing power, and who, it is estimated, spends four times more a day than the average tourist, thereby increasing the profitability of tourist activity. But golf tourism offers advantages that are not merely financial; it is also less seasonal, and allows for diversified products and markets. In fact, golfers stand out for their higher average daily spending, more than half of which is used for activities not related to the sport. The country’s climate advantage makes it possible for this sport to be played at any time of the year; it also offers mountainous conditions and ideal vegetation for designers of these facilities—among whom the resonant names of Pete and PB Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price and Nick Faldo, among others, stand out—to test their experience and imagination by taking advantage of the natural terrain. They have been able to use these elements to produce results that, from a technical, sporting, and landscape standpoint, are as original as they are surprising.
The rapid expansion of real estate tourism promotes this activity, and it is the fundamental basis of the strategy planned and implemented by the Dominican authorities for sustainable tourism; at this time, there are 23 golf courses in this country that are linked to some type of hotel and/or real estate tourism. It should be pointed out that one of the golf courses being remodeled, the Playa Grande Golf Course in Río San Juan, is among the favorites of golf lovers and considered one of the best in the world. We can say unequivocally that golf is changing the face of tourism in this country and is becoming the power behind second home tourism
Cruises in the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic is strategically located on cruise ship routes and has four functioning cruise ports: Santo Domingo (Don Diego), Sans Souci, La Romana, and docking facilities at Isla Catalina and Samaná. The Caribbean, the number one option for cruise destinations, currently represents 38.19 % of destinations selected worldwide. The average daily spending by passengers at ports of call is $98.10. Crews spend approximately $74.56 According to a recent study by Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA), one layover by a 2000-passenger ship with a crew of 800 contributes $190,476.00 to the city in passenger spending. If we add services and port taxes to this figure, each ship arriving at one of our ports contributes around $260,000.00. Sports Marinas The Dominican Republic has one of the most extensive coastlines in the Caribbean, with over 1,200 kilometers of diverse ecological environments, ranging from deserts to tropical jungles. Regardless of where visitors decide to drop anchor, they are sure to encounter beautiful mountain views, turquoise waters, and white sands. In the next two years, the Dominican Republic will double the number of full service marinas, some with facilities never before available in the Caribbean. These new structures are much more than places to dock a boat, since several of the new marinas are opening in places in the country that never before could offer services to large vessels. Currently, the Dominican Republic is able to dock boats with a length of up to 250 feet. In fact, Cap Cana Harbor and Marina is the largest in the Caribbean, with the capacity to dock megayachts up to 500 feet long
CAP CANA MARINA Located ten minutes away from the Punta Cana International Airport and designed to be the most complete and modern in the Caribbean. The only full service marina within a 400 kilometres radius between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Puerto Rico, the Marina have a capacity for 1,000 boats of varying sizes, including mega yachts up to 250 feet in length. Surrounded by world class restaurants and luxury boutiques, it will include seven islands destined for residences of the highest level. www.capcana.com Casa de Campo Marina La Romana is a very popular resort among the rich and famous. Casa de Campo Marina provides complete services to 350 yachts of up to 250 feet long. It also has nine stores and a piano bar that were constructed along the marina’s boulevard. In addition, the yacht club has added a sailing school with instructors from the renowned Italian yacht club, the Costa Esmeralda.
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PuntaCana Resort Club Marina PuntaCana Resort & Club has a full-service marina. Featuring two docks and space for 43 seventy-foot yachts. This marina is a favorite of well-known fishermen and a popular spot in Dominican Republic for holding billfish tournaments. www. PuntaCana.com
FISHING Dominican Republic is home to several international billfish tournaments every year, including the “Billfish Xtreme Tournament,” sponsored by the U.S. television channel ESPN at the Punta Cana Resort & Club. Many world records for billfishing have been broken in the waters surrounding the country. The world record for an Atlantic blue marlin was set off the coast of La Romana with a catch weighing 385 kg. Despite this, most fishing enthusiasts who come to the Dominican Republic for their vacations do not realize the country is one of the best hideouts of dozens of coveted fish species. For those who do not want to break records, but would like to battle a billfish or land a barracuda, fishing excursions are offered throughout the country.
Dominican Tourism b y the Numbers Income from Tourism Since 1980, which is the first year that the Central Bank reported tourism statistics, revenues received by Dominican Republic from tourism have increased greatly, from barely $172.6 million to over $4.3 billion in 2011, which is the last complete year for which statistics are available. This averages out to a 5.1 percent annual growth rate for the period between 2000 and 2011.
Opportunities for Investment in Tourism
Because of the sustained profitability of hotels in our country, accommodation offerings outpaced the capacity to generate new complementary offerings; this created an area of investment opportunity in this sector, in addition to the continuing opportunities in lodging. It should be noted that the recently constructed hotels are top-end resorts, and this improves the quality of the product. There is no doubt that the country’s extensive hotel offerings require creation of complementary facilities that offer tourists a wide variety of alternatives for vacation enjoyment. Investment in this category of tourism product is an opportunity for investors, and the State grants them major tax exemptions so they can develop their tourism projects. In fact, a large measure of the success in creating complementary tourism offerings, such as the more than twenty golf courses, the sports marinas, restaurants, and theme parks, among others, were created within the framework of an exceptional system of tax exemptions set forth in Law 158-01, which we will discuss in more detail below. Today,there are business niches in the new complementary offerings sector that often require lower investment and offer a higher rate of return than tourist hotels.
The Dominican Republic 360Luxury through its Department for Investment Promotion and Development, is always available to those who want to sound out new possibilities and opportunities for investing in our country; and will support them throughout the process of making a sustainable, profitable and rewarding investment.
Real Estate Tourism in the Dominican Republic
Many tourists who visit Dominican Republic, with its multiple and varied attractions, and decide to choose it as their first or second place of residence. When this happens, one of their first decisions is to invest in real estate by acquiring a villa or apartment in a tourist area. It should be mentioned, as a key factor in the real estate development, that properties in this country are experiencing a strong increase in value. This makes them highly desirable for those seeking only to make an investment that will protect their money and put it to work, in stability in the worldwide financial picture, which is marked, among other factors, by a housing crisis. In Dominican Republic, this did not have the negative effects that were experienced in other countries. It takes just one look around any of the tourist areas to notice the tremendous number of villas, apartments, etc., surrounded by top golf courses from the best designers in the world. Numerous modern and complex marinas on our coasts, to confirm the expansion of real estate tourism in the country, unparalleled by any other island in the Caribbean. These investments flow mainly to Punta Cana, in the province of La Altagracia, although they include areas of influence over almost the entire country: La Romana, Bayahíbe, Samaná, Puerto Plata, Juan Dolio, Miches, and Santo Domingo. To put this development into perspective, suffice it to say that overall, the new investments approved by this country’s competent authorities in the last few months have added almost 25,000 new rooms to the nation’s tourist offerings and will directly create more than 21,000 stable and well paid jobs.
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Reasons to Invest in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic geographically advantaged location near the major world tourism-generating countries, allowing visitors to come for a weekend or weeks and return home quickly. A person who settles in the Dominican Republic can achieve a high standard of living, as the country has the benefits of peace, security, and cheerful and hard-working people who want to get ahead in life. Within the framework of its democratic system, Dominican Republic offers the security that both domestic and foreign investors need. A large number of developers have taken advantage of this fact and chosen us as a destination for their capital. Our democracy, now fully mature, holds free and open elections every four years, in which executive, congressional and municipal authorities are chosen. The constitution of the Republic guarantees the free enterprise system, under which the free trade system is respected; this has permitted the development of major companies, who develop projects, produce goods, offer services, and guarantee employment for millions of Dominicans. We are highly competitive in terms of costs, and we benefit from various free trade agreements. For example CAFTA-DR with the United States and Central America grants preferential access to those markets, and an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union assures robust. We have one of the most advanced communications systems in all of Latin America, with a teledensity of over 100 percent which is an advantage for today’s business world.
Incentives offered to investors by the country and the tourism sector Since 2001,
Tourism Incentive Act 158-01 has been in place in Dominican Republic, revolutioning the investment climate and allowing large volumes of capital to be attracted to the tourism sector. The purpose of this act is to promote new development in areas of the country which, despite their major basic attractions, have had limited growth. It also serves to create new complementary offerings in tourist centers that have already been developed and to support the renovation of hotel properties that have been in operation for five or more years. This law grants an exemption from all national and municipal taxes for ten years. It is managed by a public-private agency that meets periodically to review the applications for proposed new developments. In fact, the Tourism Promotion Council, Confotur, grants two levels of approvals for new tourism projects: the first is provisional for starting the development; the other is final, once the project is advanced enough to be consolidated and launched. A) The incentives for provisional approval are:
1. Exemption from the requirement to legally establish the company
2. Increase in the share capital 3. Property transfer tax (3 percent of the value of the property) B) Likewise, final approval grants these exemptions: 1. Income tax for ten years 2. National and municipal taxes
3. Taxes on construction, plans, etc.
4. Taxes on the payment of loan interest
5. Reinvestment tax of 20 percent (tax savings on another existing company, for five years) 6. Equipment import (exempt from customs taxes, taxes on transfer of industrial goods and services)
7. The tax on luxury housing Essentially, provisional approval exists so that companies can add to their capital, purchase land, build (if they seek out the corresponding construction permits, etc. at the same time), so that when they get the final approval, they are already in a position to start work.
Foreign Investment Law
Foreign Investment Act 16-95 grants equal rights and duties to foreigners and Dominicans and opens up all possible types of businesses and trade. It recognizes that foreign investment and technology transfer contribute to the country’s economic growth and social development by favoring creation of employment and foreign currency, promoting the capitalization process, and contributing efficient methods of production, marketing, and administration. This law also permits the free repatriation of invested capital and profits. The country also has free circulation and exchange of foreign currency with no obstacles of any kind or control of foreign currency exchange, with the free market determining the daily exchange rates against other currencies.
Benefits for Pensioners and Annuitants with a Foreign Source of Funds Act
The Benefits for Pensioners and Annuitants with a Foreign Source of Funds Act 171-07 grants the following to these individuals, as an incentive to bring and keep them here: • A program of residence in the country through investment (those who are by law considered to be dependents of the pensioner or annuitant also benefit from this program) • Exemption from paying taxes on household effects and personal items • Partial exemption from motor vehicle taxes • For the first property that is acquired, exemption from taxes on property transfers; • Exemption of 50 percent of mortgage taxes, when the creditors are financial institutions duly regulated by the Monetary and Finance Law; • Exemption of 50 percent on real estate tax, when applicable; • Exemption from taxes encumbering the payment of dividends and interest, whether generated in the country or abroad; • Exemption of 50 percent on capital gains, among others In order to take advantage of this law, it is a requirement that the pensioner or annuitant receive a monthly income of no less than USD $1,500 and $2,000, respectively. If they have dependents, an additional monthly income of USD $250 is required for each of them. These amounts, which will be declared as income in order to take advantage of this law, shall be exempt from income tax.
Also sheltered by this law are:
A) Dominican citizens who are pensioners of, or retirees from, institutions or governments of other countries, or those who can prove that they have income under the conditions established by the law, and have resided abroad permanently for no less than ten years; and B) Foreigners in the country who acquire the status of pensioner and/or annuitant. This law recognizes the right that pensioners and annuitants have to accept remunerated employment in this country, subject to payment of the associated taxes to the Dominican State for the salary earned by each activity. This contributes greatly by strengthening the country’s legal framework, thereby incentivizing foreign investment and promoting tourism in the Dominican Republic. It also has the effect of supporting the large real estate projects that have been being developed in our country over recent years and that are intended for foreigners, Dominicans and resident foreigner
Acquiring Real Estate in the Dominican Republic
Foreigners have complete legal capacity to acquire property or property rights under no special conditions. The rules that apply to Dominican purchasers are the same as those for foreigners. When there is interest in purchasing a property, the property should be verified at the Dominican Title Registry Office. The purpose of this is to obtain written confirmation of the result of the investigation and to establish that this property has no anomalies of any kind. This can be done by requesting a certificate from the Registrar of Titles. This important step protects individuals or companies who wish to acquire a property, as it reveals the existence of any sale or mortgage that is not yet recorded at the time the buyers deposit their sales contract for registration purposes. Rapid registration of the sale is extremely important. For this step, purchasers deposit an original deed of sale, duly legalized by a notary public, in the title registry office, along with the certificate of title, which should be in the name of the seller. This will then be canceled and replaced by a new certificate of title in the name of the purchaser. This type of transaction involves a payment of taxes and fees to the title registry office, although according to the Tourism Incentive Law, these are deductible. Issuing mortgages and encumbered purchases is regulated by the Land Registry Law, the Code of Commerce, the Civil Code and other related laws
Mortgage Regulatory System
For the purposes that may apply, all types of property rights may be mortgaged, be they title, operation, or user rights. Facilities that may be acquired by individuals or companies are also considered real estate and may be mortgaged. It is important to point out that mortgages on future properties are not accepted. Nevertheless, mortgage creditor interest is extended to improvements made on the property after the contract. In order for a mortgage to be valid and binding against third parties, mortgage debtors should have a legally registered title.
Persons with conditional property rights may grant mortgages under the same conditions that affect their rights. Mortgages should be registered at the title registry office for the place where the property is located; this is done by depositing the guarantee contract and the certificate of title. The date of registration will be recorded as the date these are deposited, even though the physical issuance of the mortgage creditor certificate takes place some time afterwards.