Business and investment opportunities include: Telecommunications , agricultural machinery, computers and peripherals, electric power systems, building products, hand and power tools, medical equipment, automotive parts and service equipment, food processing and packaging equipment and Real Estate .
International companies have already achieved long term success in the production of appliances, electrical products and light industrial goods. The trained work force is interested in collaborating with the foreign investor, as well as support industries that facilitate the assembling of new industrial and electrical products for export.
Many U.S. apparel manufacturers have already established plants here. Other target, non-traditional exports include light manufacturing, aqua culture, such as fish farming, and non-traditional agricultural such as melons.
The Honduran banking system is comprised of many domestically owned private banks , two foreign owned private banks, and the Public Central Bank, which controls all banking activities including the right to issue coins and bank notes .
All banks or savings and loans are required by law to sell part of their assets to the Central Bank in gold or foreign exchange. The Central Bank then distributes the foreign currency among the other banks and institutions.
In order to improve efficiency and foster increased inter-bank competition, the government has promoted a rapid deregulation of the financial sector. All indicators demonstrate that the country's banking system is liquid, solvent, and profitable.
All Honduran banks have corresponding relations with U.S. banks. In response to past criticisms of banks' granting excessive, unsecured loans to major stock holders or bank principals, the Central Bank proposed a new financial law to restrict this practice, as well as to give the Superintendency of banks more control over the financial system and create a deposit insurance program. Commercial banks are overwhelmingly against the new law, however, has prevented its implementation.
The 1990's have ushered in a number of bank reforms, such as the gradual deregulation of interest rates and the creation of stock exchanges in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula that have served to raise equity through the issuance of publicly traded shares.
Due to the banks' steep 36 to 42 percent, reserve requirements, average loan rates in 1996 have hovered around 36 percent.
Honduras participates in the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), The International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE).
Foreigners may create, own and profit from a business. The law provides them equal opportunity with public enterprises regarding market access, credit and other business considerations. Loans to private firms have been limited however by the Central Bank's high reserve requirements to finance the fiscal deficit.
All investors , foreign and domestic must be registered with the Ministry of Economy. Foreign firms are required to act through an agent to participate in local tenders. Dividends paid to foreign firms are subject to a 15 percent tax , while domestic firms only pay 10 percent. A network of Honduran professional associations strictly regulate the licensing of many professions including lawyers, doctors, and engineers.
Honduran corporations may only be created through an attorney, who will also provide the investor with the necessary legal and tax information.
It is extremely important to locate an appropriate partner in order to establish a solid base of operation. All contracts are legally binding.
Potential growth exports: Textiles, apparel, wood products, and fish farming. Potential Growth Imports: Computers and peripherals, electrical equipment, automotive parts and food processing equipment and packaging.
Tourism: Some hidden opportunities exist, mainly on the northern Caribbean coast. This region's pristine beaches are now merely flown over as a tourist flies to The Bay Islands . This area is also close to the more popular tourist attractions, the Mayan ruins, lake Yojoa, and a couple of natural parks.
Income tax is payable on income obtained from services rendered in Honduras, including any civil or commercial activity and proceeds from any kind of real or personal property. Income tax is also payable on all exports produced in Honduras.
Resident companies and individuals are subject to income tax both from sources within the country and from foreign countries. Nonresident companies and individuals are taxed on income only from sources within the country. The tax ranges from 12 to 40 percent.
Foreign employees are subject to income tax and must file individual returns annually and upon leaving the country . The law defines gross income to include wages, salaries, overtime, daily allowances, gratuities, reimbursements, pensions, subsidies, bonuses, and commissions.
The general rate of sales tax is 7 percent, with a 10 percent tax charged on cigarettes and liquor. Sales tax is charged to the buyer or the user on the price of the article sold or the service provided in such a way that its is applied at one stage only in the sales process.
The seller is responsible for collecting the tax and delivering it to the tax authorities. The seller must also keep a special accounting showing all daily proceeds of the tax and submit the account with the proceeds to the appropriate collection office. Certain goods, including foodstuffs, raw materials, hand made goods, books and school supplies are exempt from the sales tax.
1. Sworn statement declaring the individual will abide by Honduran law, denounce communism and not oppose a democratic, representative form of government .
2. A certified letter stating that the individual does not have a police record.
3. A health certificate
4. U.S. fee of $150.00
All the documents must be authenticated by the Honduran council and then are forwarded to the Ministry of foreign affairs in Tegucigalpa. Any additional procedures must be completed through an attorney.
The residency and work permit process usually takes about 3 months.
To obtain a resident status, foreigners must show that they have a permanent income from abroad of not less than $600.00 per month to qualify for retired resident status, or not less than $1000.00 per month to qualify for "rentista" status.