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A Statement of the
LAWS OF HAITI
In Matters Affecting Business
WASHINGTON. D. C.
Copyright, 1947, by the Inter-American Development Commission
Washington, D. C.
This is a reprint of the Statement of the Laws of Haiti in Matters
Affecting Business, originally prepared under the auspices of the
Inter-American Development Commission of,Washington, assisted by the
E Haitian Commission of Inter-American Development,
CHARLES F. PRESSOIR
Lawyers of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The text, as published in March 1947, remains unchanged save for the
addition of a brief chapter on Copyright Protection. The basic information
given is believed to be still substantially correct, but such matters
as tax rates, license fees and similar items subject to frequent change
by law or regulation have undoubtedly been altered. A revised edition
bringing all information up to date, and with additional material, will
be published in the future. In any event, the information herein
contained is not meant to relieve anyone of the reasonable requirement
of consulting counsel in respect to legal matters in Haiti.
Pan American Union
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NATIONALITY W ND IMMIGRATION
1. Laws a d regulations 1
2. Laws and regulations 3
3. Passports, visas and other requirements 3
4. Civil rights of foreign residents 4
5. Exercise of liberal professions by foreigners 5
RIGHTS CF FOREIGN RS t( i'GAGL IN INDUSTRY ANI TRADE
1. Industry 6
2. Commerce 6
3. Nationality of companies or corporations 6
4. Foreign employees and foreign. capital 6
1. Forms of mercantile concerns 8
2. Taxes on mercantile concerns 10
3. Taxes on shares of stock 10
FOREIGN COM' RCIAL COMPANIES
1. Distinction between foreign and Haitian
2. Distinction between corporations and
other business organizations 12
- ii -
3. Fees and taxes for business licenses
and permits 13
2. Individ.ial income taxes 15
3. Schedule of taxes on individual incomes 17
4. Tax exemptions, Capital, .Subsidies,
Concessions and Registiration Charges 18
5. Tax Administration 18
AG 'ICULUL "iCTIVITIIS AMIT INTLRPRISES
1. Law a plicable to agricultural activities 20
2. Equal rights for foreigners and Haitians 20
'. Employees 20
4. Taxes 2U
MININT I TPnRIS S
1. State and privatee ownership 22
2. Rules concerning prospecting 22
3. Rules governing exploitation of mines 23
4. Rules governing concessions 24
5. Taxes 25
1. Validity recognized by the Constitution 26
2. Procedure for obtaining a monopoly 26
3. State monopolies 26
.,. Special Concessions 26
- iii -
1. Legislation for the protection of labor
RFAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
.1. Agricultural and forest lands
2. Acquisition of public lands
3. Fees and taxes on land purchases,
possession or rental
4. Rights of foreigners to purchase or
2. Copyright defined
3. -Persons ptotedteQ
4. Works protected
5. Duration of copyright
7, Protection of foreign works
NATIONALITY AND IMMIGRATION
1, Laws and regulations regarding nationality
Nationality of individuals in Haiti is covered by the Constitution
of 1944 in articles 5 and 6; and by the Law of August 22, 1907. The
Law of February 13, 1925, concerns the nationality of companies.
1) Nationality of -persons
Article 6 of the Constitution provides that all Haitians are
equal before the law. Article 5 concerns the political rights of
persons who have become Haitians by naturalization.
Article 1 of the Law of August 22, 1907' dealing with nationality
and naturalization provides that Haitian citizenship is acquired
by birth, by naturalization and by special provisions of law.
2) Citizenship by birth
The Haitian Law does not declare that all persons born in Haiti
are Haitian citizens. If the father is a Haitian, his child born
in Haiti is Haitian. If the father or mother is a foreigner, but a
member of the African race, their child born in Haiti is a Haitian.
Birth in Haiti by parents of another race does not make a child a
Haitian, "but upon becoming of age, or later, he or she may choose
Haitian citizenship, or be regarded as a foreigner.
3) Acquisition of nationality by naturalization
Articles 5 and 6 of the law of August 22, 1907, dealing with
naturalization have been replaced by the Decree-Law of July 1, 1941;
which provides that, to become naturalized, ten years of residence
in Haiti is required (article 1). According to article 4 of the
Decree-law of Lecember 28, 1943, the term of residence is reduced
to five years for any foreigner who may marry a Haitian woman and
to three years for members of the Catholic Clergy of Haiti. To
become naturalized a tax of 100 gourdes ($20.00) is to be paid and
application made to the Department of Justice (article 2). The
following documents should accompany the application:
1) Residence permit;
2) Identity card;
3) A certificate of residence signed by the Justice of Peace
4) Receipt showing payment of the $20 tax.
- 2 -
The President of the Republic passes upon an application for
naturalization by a decree published in the Official Gazette. Before
the decree is published, the applicant must swear to renounce l-
legiance to any other country than Haiti.
4) Acquisition of nationality by means other than naturalization
Persons entitled to naturalization according to the Law of August
22, 1907, are: child of an unknown father and mother (article 3);
child of a foreign father and mother but not of the African race
(article 4); a foreigner who has been an official of the Haitian
Government for five years (article 7); and a child of a Haitian woman
married to a foreigner (article 11).
A Haitian woman married to a foreigner who after his marriage
becomes naturalized as a Haitian, thereby recovers her Haitian
nationality. The status of the children is dealt with in articles
12 and 13. A woman of non-Haitian origin married to a foreigner may
gain Haitian nationality if the husband becomes naturalized as a
Haitian (article 14). A Haitian woman, by virtue of article 3 of
the Decree-Law of October 22, 1942, retains her Haitian citizenship
upon marrying a foreigner.
According to article 16, adoption of the above privileges is
5) Civil and political rights of naturalized citizens
According to the Constitution of 1944, all Haitians are equal
before the law and in the exercise of civil rights.
Article 5 of that Constitution provides that foreigners naturalized
as Haitians may not exercise political rights until having resided
in the country for ten years after naturalization.
6) Loss of nationality
Article 17 of the Law of August 22, 1907, states that citizenship
1) By naturalization in a foreign country;
2) By abandoning the homeland at a time of imminent danger;
3) By unauthorized acceptance of public office or pensions
from a foreign government;
4) By rendering services to enemies of the Republic or by
any transaction with them; and
5) By life sentence to corporal and degrading punishment.
- 3 -
2. Laws and Regulations
Decree-Law of January 1, 1945, groups foreigners entering Haiti
into three categories 1) for residence (articles 1 to 9); 2) as
tourists (article 9); and 3) in transit (articles 19 and 20).
1) Foreigners arriving for permanent residence
A foreigner arriving in Haiti to reside must possess $200 if
single, or $400 if accompanied by his family. Also he must present to
the Immigration Service a health certificate and a certificate showing
that he has never been condemned for a crime or common law offense.
These documents must be legalized by a Haitian consular or diplomatic
agent (article 18).
Within twenty-four hours after arrival the foreigner, in person
or through his hotel, must present to the Department of the Interior
or to the Police Station, a declaration of residence. He must go to
the Department of the Interior, or if outside the capital, to the Of.
fice of the Deputy, for a residence permit. There he will receive a
card, and should then go to the Tax Office, where he pays $6.00, of
which $1.00 is for the residence permit (permis do sejour) and $5.00
for the annual residence tax. Having paid the tax the foreigner may
receive his actual residence permit from the Depar-tmert of the Interior.
The residence permit is renewable nine times and therefore is valid for
ten years. After ten years of residence the annual tax is V3.00 instead
A tourist may remain in the country thirty days (article 9). He
may obtain an extension of his sojourn, subject to a tax of $2.00, upon
application to the Department of the Interior.
3) In Transit
A foreigner in transit may remain in the country for seventy-two
hours without observing any formalities, if the transportation company
or enterprise furnishes a written guarantee to the Immigration Service.
He may obtain permission to prolong his stay 15 days upon payment of
a tax of $3.00 (article 19). Permission for further prolongation of
his stay must be obtained by applying to the Department of the Interior,
and payment of a tax of $2.00.
3. Passports, visas and other requirements
In principle, any foreigner may enter Haiti upon fulfilling legal
requirements; the government reserving the right to refuse admission.
Every foreigner desiring to enter the country must apply to the
Haitian consulate or diplomatic office located at his place of
residence for a passport visa for that purpose.
The consul or diplomatic agent will refer the application to
the Haitian Government for approval (articles 4 to 6). Upqn approval
by the Government the passport is visaed upon payment of a fee of
$5.00 (article 7). A consul or diplomatic agent does not need the
approval of the Government for a visa for a tourist.
A tourist pays a fee of $2.00 for a visa by a Haitian consul
or diplomatic agent (article 9) with the exception of a North American
tourist, who as a result of the exchange of notes of February 2, 1945,
is exempt from payment of this fee.
As a foreigner in transit is.exempt from the above formalities,
he need not appear before a consular or diplomatic agent before his
departure (article 19). A foreigner who has been in Haiti more than
three days may not leave the country without obtaining an exit visa
from the Department of the Interior, for which he pays a fee of $2.00.
This visa must be registered at the Police Station.
4, Civil rights of foreign residents other than those connected with
conmmiercial; industrial, agricultural or mining activities
The status of a foreigner in Haiti' with reference to exercise
of civil rights, does not differ from that of a Haitian, except in
regard to a) the right to own real property, and b) the exercise of
certain liberal professions.
A foreigner may own real property in Haiti only for his own
personal occupation, He is prohibited from leasing it to others
(article 1 of the Law of February 13, 1925).
Article 15 of the Law of February 13, 1925, provides that to
purchase real estate a foreign individual or company must show proof
that it is required for the purposes of habitation' for industrial
undertaking, or for teaching. At the time of purchase there must
be submitted the designation of his residence and information as to
the use and purposes of the property to be acquired.
However, the statement of purposes will not prevent the foreigner
from later making such use of the property as is permitted by law.
One important effect of this limitation on the right to hold
real property is found in matters of inheritance. Different cases
of this kind should be noted.
- 5 -
1) Foreign heirs, legatees or surviving spouses
The respective rights of these persons, if all are foreigners,
are determined by the last will and testament of the deceased and
the present law. The competent court is that of the place of resi-
dence in Haiti of the deceased.
2) Haitian heirs
The Haitian laws of succession are applicable.
3) Conflict between Haitian and foreign heirs
The division of property is made by the competent Haitian court
in accordance with Haitian laws. However, in regard to the foreign
interests there are two different cases to be considered:
1) If the foreigner does not reside in Haiti at the time of
settlement of the estate, the property that would have
gone to him is sold at public auction unless the Haitian
co-heirs or co-legatoes decide to keep it. In this case
the foreign heir or legatee is paid a sum determined by
expert appraisers chosen by the parties concerned, or
by the Court;
2) If the heir or legatee resides in Haiti he cannot receive
in kind the real property assigned to him unless it is to
be used for one of the purposes provided in the heretofore
mentioned Law of February 13, 1925.
5. Exercise of liberal professions by foreigners
A foreigner may not exercise certain of the liberal professions,
such as notary and lawyer, but may exercise the profession of
physician, pharmacist, dental surgeon, or midwife. However if their*
professional degrees were obtained abroad they must obtain the
equivalent degrees in Haiti.
The number of such professionals is, moreover, limited by the
TLaw of July 9, 1940, to five physicians, two dental surgeons, two
pharmacists and one midwife.
- 6 -
RIGHTS OF FOREIGNERS TO ENGAGE
IN INDUSTRY AND TRADE
Foreigners have the right, not restricted by any law, to engage
in any kind of industry in any part of the country.
Nlationalitv of Persons
By virtue of article 18 of the Constitution of November 22,
1946, "only native born Haitians may direct the work of small in-
(Small industry is defined as the manufacture of bags, shoes
made from pita fibre, sundry articles made of mahogany and
other precious woods.)
By virtue of article 1 of the Decree-law of September 23, 1939,
foreigners may not engage in commerce except in the ports open to
foreign commerce, that is, in Port-au-Prince and the eleven large
coastal cities such as Cap Haitian, Jacmel, JAremie, etc. Hence a
foreigner may not have a commercial establishment in a non-open port,
such as l'Archaie or in an interior town such as Hinche. Moreover,
even in the open ports', foreigners may not sell at retail the goods
listed in the D.cree-law of September 23, 1939.
These restrictions apply only to the purchase and sale of goods.
Consequently, a foreigner may operate a hotel, even in a non-open
port or in an interior locality, such as Kenscoff.
3. Nationality of companies or corporations
The nationality of companies is dealt with in articles and 5 of
the Law of February 13, 1925. A society4 anonyme" corresponds to a
corporation in the United States. If formed in Haiti and maintaining
its headquarters there its nationality is Haitian. As stated in the
section relating to taxation, it does not pay a license fee and its
patent fee in general amounts to one-half the patent fee of a foreign
company. A company, other than a corporation organized in Haiti under
the laws of the country, has Haitian nationality if at least one-half
of the capital belongs to Haitians.
4, Foreign employees and foreign capital
In principle, there are no provisions of law compelling foreign
agricultural or industrial enterprises to employ a certain percentage
of Haitian workers or employees. Nevertheless it is the usual rule
in contracts between the state and private individuals or.companies,
for the Government, before approving the undertaking, to establish
a definite percentage for the number of Haitian employees.
The technical and administrative staff of a commercial or indus.;
trial enterprise is not included in the terms "employees and laborers"
such personnel always may be foreign,
Haitian law fixes no limit on the percentage of foreign capital
that may be invested in industrial or commercial enterprises, whether
such enterprises belong to nationals or foreigners, nor is it concerned
with the percentage of Haitian or foreign capital except in determining
the nationality of a company (Law of February 13, 1925).
- 8 -
1, Forms of mercantile concerns
Concerns recognized by Haitian law and having legal personalities
distinct from the personalities of their individual members, are the
collective partnership (societe en nom collectif), the silent partner-
ship society6 en commandite), which may have one of two forms the
simple silent partnership or the stock-issuing partnership (en
commandite participation), and the corporation (societe anonyme).
A type of organization having no legal personality is the co-partner-
ship (socie6t en participation).
These several forms are described as follows:
1) A collective partnership is formed by two or more persons for
the purpose of doing business under a firm name. Only the names of
partners may be included in the firm name. The partners are and
remain jointly and severally liable with all their property for all
the partnership debts (articles 21, 22, and 23 of the Commercial Code).
2) A silent partnershi- is formed by contract between one or
several associates who are jointly and fully liable and one or more
associates known as silent partners (commanditaires) who are mere con-
tributors of funds. It operates under a firm name which must contain
the names of one or more of the fully liable partners (article 24 of
the Commercial Code). A silent partner is liable for the firm's
losses only to the extent of the funds he has contributed to the firm
3) A corporation does not operate under a firm name, but under
a name which indicates the purpose of the enterprise. Its members
are liable only for the amount of their interest in the corporation
(articles 30, 31, and 34 of the Cormmercial Code). This form of
business organization becomes definitely created only after at least
half its capital has been subscribed to, and payment therefore has
been made by each shareholder in currency, securities or otherwise
in full, if the amount subscribed to by him is not over $20, and at
least one-fourth thereof if it is $100 or over. Subscription and
payment must be shown by a statement executed before a notary which
must be published in the Official Journal along with the charter, by-
laws and the approving decree issued by the President of the Republic
(article 35 of the Commercial Code). A corporation can not exist
without the aforementioned Presidential decree (article 38 of the
- 9 -
4) A co-yartnershin is an organization formed in the manner
and under conditions agreed upon between the parties concerned,
without the knowledge of third parties (article 51 of the Commercial
The two forms of organization most frequently used are the
collective partnership and the corporation. If a maximum of moral
and pecuniary security is desired the former is the best; the latter
however best serves the purposes of enterprises requiring a large
investment of capital contributed by a great number of subscribers
each of whom is willing to risk a limited amount in the undertaking.
The determination as to whether a concern is commercial or
otherwise is not dependent upon its form, but rather on the nature
and purpose of its business. It is regarded as commercial if it is
engaged in commerce and if such is its customary business (article
1 of the Commercial Code).
The Commercial Code of March 27, 1826, amended by Decree-haw of
December 22, 1944, is the sole law governing commercial relations.
Foroighers may organize commercial concerns in Haiti and par-
ticipate in their operation; they may do so merely as partners or
as members of a board of directors. However, they may engage in
commerce only in the open ports of the Republic.
Hr.itian laws do not take into consideration the domicile or
residence of a foreigner.
There are no restrictions on the capital that may be invested
by a foreigner in commercial concerns established in Haiti.
The Departments of Labor, Commerce and National Economy and the
Director General of Agriculture control the organization and operation
of commercial and industrial enterprises.
Associations, companies and corporations or individual enterprises
undertaking commercial and banking operations and performing banking
transactions involving exchange of currency, precious metals, and se-
aurities are regulated by Decree-Law of June 24, 1940.
Associations, enterprises, etc. having a paid-up capital of one
million dollars may not engage in business without obtaining previous
authorization by the President of the Republic.
The telephone service within towns and between towns of the
country is a State service under the Department of National Economy
(Decree-Law of September 23, 1944).
- 10 -
2. Taxes on mercantile concerns
As a general rule the basis of taxation for business organi-
zations are the same as for individuals, discussed earlier. In
summary, the taxes to be paid are the following:
1) Communal taxes, in accordance with Becree-Law of
September 23, 1935, as heretofore indicated under
"Schedule of business fees and taxes" and subsequent
2) Governmental taxes, as heretofore indicated under
"Schedule of taxes on individual incomes"; Special
licenses (distinct from licenses for foreigners not
applicable.here) depend on the type of industry and
because of the small amount involved are little more
than a statistical fee;
3) Income tax, as already indicated, the rate for individuals
ranges from 3 to 15 percent and for corporations from
12 to 15 percent (article 7 of the Decree-lIw of May
2, 1942, amended August 13, 1942).
3. Taxes on shares of stock
1) Registered shares
a) A tax of 1 percent is collected once on all shares actually
issued, in accordance with the provisions of article 24 of the Law
of August 11, 1903, which reads as follows: "Every certificate or
share of stock in a firm, company or enterprise of any kind, finan-
cial, industrial, commercial or civil, whether for a fixed amount
or for a certain quota, whether paid in full or not, and regardless
of the date of organization of the company, firm or enterprise, shall,
upon promulgation of the present law be subject to a tax of 1 percent
of the par value of each share. Payment shall be made by the com-
pany, firm or enterprise, regardless of its status"*
b) An annual tax of $0.25 per $100 payable one-fourth quarterly
on October 15, January 15, April 15, and July 15.
c) A transfer tax of $0.10 per $100 on transferred shares
payable quarterly on transfers made during the preceding quarter.
Article 2 of Law of August 1, 1921, stipulates that "Beginning
with the fiscal year 1921-22 the transfer tax on nominative shares
as provided in article 36 of the Law of August 11, 1903, shall be
ten centimes (0.10) gold per hundred dollars. Such shares shall in
addition pay a yearly tax of 25 centimes (0.25) in gold or gourdes
per hundred gourdes or dollars under the same conditions as bearer
2) Bearer shares
Bearer shares are subject to taxes indicated under (a) and
(b),of registered shares but not being registered, are not subject
to the transfer tax indicated under (c).
As heretofore stated, in accordance with article 38 of the
Commercial Code, in order to operate or exist in Haiti a corporation
must be authorized by decree of the President.
- 12 -
FOREIGN COMMERCIAL COMPANIES
1, Distinction between foreign and Haitian com.rnies
Whereas Haitian companies enjoy all rights pertaining to civil
persons in Haiti with respect to real property, foreign companies
according to the 1,aw of February 13, 1925, may become owners of
real property only in connection with their business.
A second distinction made in law between Haitian and foreign
companies is that foreign companies are authorized to engage in
commerce only in the open ports of the country.
2. Distinction between corporations and other business organizations
According to Law of February 13, 1925, corporations formed in
accordance with Haitian law and having their headquarters in Haiti
are regarded as Haitian.
2) Other business organizations
The criterion adopted for other organizations is the amount of
capital invested; article 5.of the Law of February 13, 1925, states
that they are not regarded as Haitian unless at least one-half the
capital belongs to Haitians.
NIo distinctions are made in Haitian law among various foreign
companies or enterprises with regard to their commercial activities.
Foreign firms must meet the same requirements as Haitian firms
with the exception that the license fee is double that imposed on
a Haitian firm, and an additional license is required. Otherwise'
foreign concerns have the same rights as Haitian business organi-
Special provisions contained in the Decree-law of June 24, 1940,
in regard to banks are applicable to both domestic and foreign con-
cerns, The same is true of laws relating to maritime insurance and
- 13 -
1, Fees and taxes for business licenses and permits patentse)
To engage in either industry or commerce a foreigner must
obtain a national license (licence) and a local permit (patente),
in accordance with which national and local taxes are paid. The Law
of August 11, 1903, relates to licenses, and the Decree-Law of
September 23, 1935, to fees for permits.
1) Procedure to be followeS in obtaining licenses and permits
1) At the local Tax Office the applicant signs an application
for a permit and an application for a license, paying the
fee for the license, and the corresponding stamp tax.
The amount of the license fee depends upon the amount of
the fee for the permit;
2) He then writes to the Secretary of State for Commerce
requesting a license, enclosing the receipts from the
local Tax Office for the license fee and the stamp tax;
3) Upon receiving his license the applicant returns with
it to the local Tax Office and pays the fee for his
2) Additional licenses and permits
A foreigner who wishes to engage in business as a consignee
merchant must as a general rule obtain two licenses and permits.
In order to sell goods consigned to him he requires authorization
to engage in wholesale as well as retail merchandising.
Permits are subject to a surcharge of 20 percent for social aid
and to a stamp tax not exceeding $2.00, Under the provisions of
article 63 of the Law of August 11, 1903, amended by the-Law of August
16, 1913, the license has a surtax of 25 percent in gold to be added
to the amount of the fee paid by the foreigner for the permit, but
not including the amount for social aid and the stamp tax.
3) Schedule of business fees and taxes
Except for any stipulation to the contrary of the schedule of
rates annexed to Decree-Law of September 23, 1935, the fee payable
by a foreigner for a permit is double that payable by a Haitian.
- 14 -
The fee for a permit varies according to the class of the muni-
cipality. The capital, Port-au-Prince, is in the first class. Cap
Haitian is in the second class. The following schedule shows what
a foreigner must pay to engage in business in Port-au-Prince, the
amounts being stated in gourdes, which is the Haitian currency, and
in dollars at the rate of five to one;
Permit of consignment merchant 350,00 70,00
Social Aid 70.00 14,00
Stamp fax 10.00 2.00
License for consignment merchant 437.50 87.50
Stamp tax l3,00 __2_00
.Permits for wholesale and retail
merchant 120,00 24,00
Social Aid 24,00 4,80
Stamp tax 2,00 0a40
License for wholesale and retail
merchant 150,00 30.00
Stamp tax _1000 2_00
Grand Total 1,183.50 236.70
4) Special licenses
In addition to those paid on business permits and licenses,
other taxes are payable in certain types of commerce and industries.
Besides a foreigner's license, a special license is required
to sell alcohol or tobacco, to manufacture essential and other -oils,
margarine, soap, matches, and to engage in the lumber trade. In
contract to the regular license fee payable by a foreigner, this
special license fee is the same for Haitians and foreigners. This
fee is for statistical purposes and as a rule is not high. For example
the special license fee, provided for by the Law of July 7, 1935,
for the manufacture of matches, soap, margarine and vegetable oils
is 25 gourdes, or $5.00.
5) Time for payment of taxes
All taxes are payable annually. The fiscal year in Haiti be-
gins October 1st and ends September 30th.
- 15 -
There are various time limits within which taxes must be paid:
the license fee is to be paid between October 1st and 20th and the
permit fee between October 1st and January 15th of each fiscal year.
A new tax payer must make his payments before starting in business,
or be subject to a fine.
6) Identity card taxes
In order to pay his business permit fees, a foreigner must
possess an identity card, which is issued by the Tax Office to all
foreigners having a residence permit.
According to article 4 of the Law of April 21, 1939, merchants .
and industrialists pay for their identity card tax either according
to their yearly salary or their business permits, whichever tax would
be higher. In other words, if according to the business permit the
identity card tax would be $2.00 and according,to salary it.would be
$5.00, a tax of $5.00 is collected by the Government. Based on
salaries, the identity card tax ranges from $0.20 to $25.06o On the
other basis, it is figured at 10 percent of the permit fee. Con-
sequently, the identity tax of a foreign consignment merchant at
Port-au-Prince amounts to 35 gourdes or $7.00, as may be seen from
the table above.
7) Different business taxes for Haitians and foreigners
To summarize, there are three kinds of business taxes which are
different for foreigners and Haitians, to wit:
1) License tax for foreigners is collected from foreigners
but not from Haitians;
2) The business permit fee for foreigners is in general
double the amount paid by Haitians. Article 7 of the
Decree-Law of September 23, 1935, provides that except
in specially designated cases foreigners must pay double
the amount of tax indicated in the schedule;
3) The identity card tax of a foreigner is double that of a
Haitian in most cases because the business permit fee of
the former is double that of the latter. In certain ins-
tances, the identity card tax of a foreigner is four times
that of a Haitian because in Port-au-Prince a foreign
representative is subject to a business permit fee of
200 gourdes ($40) whereas a Haitian representative pays
but 50 gourdes.(10). However, the identity card tax is
not high, not exceeding $20 even for the proprietor of a
- 16 -
2, Individual income taxes
This most important tax of all was established by Ilecree-Law
of May 2, 1942, and was amended August 13, 1942. It applies only
to individual earnings from industry and commerce. There is no
general income tax in Haiti. Persons engaged in professions, such
as medicine, law, engineering, etc., do not pay income taxes.
All taxes, national or local, collected by the government are
based on operations and activities within the country and not those
abroad. The income tax of a merchant doing business both in Haiti
and the United States applies only to earnings from his business in
Haiti,. It is applied to net income.
Article 2 of Decree-Law of May 2, 1942, indicates certain
exemptions. They are the incomes of all individuals, industrialists
and merchants who sell quantities of less than one barrel, one dozen,
five liters, one case or other packing unit, and who show that the
inventories, including the installations in their establishments,
do not exceed 2,000 gourdes, or $400 in value.
Income taxes are determined by two methods as a fixed lump sum
or according to balances. Private individuals and pat.tnerships first
pay the tax on the fixed basis. If an examination of their books
shows that the balance sheet basis would bring more revenue to the
State, they are sent a supplementary tax bill (article 6).
The system used for corporations is the opposite of that for
other taxpayers. They pay the tax directly in accordance with
their balance sheets (article 5). Only as a penalty may the State
collect on the lump sum basis.
1) The lumi sum basis
The lump sum basis has no relationship to the profits or losses
of a merchant or industrialist, hence his books are not examined to
determine the tax. The rental of the building occupied for his
particular commerce or industry is multiplied by 5 and the figure
obtained represents the taxable income. For example, if a merchant
pays $100 a month rent, that makes $1,200 a year. This figure mul-
tiplied by 5 gives $6,000. Without deductions for general expenses,
etc., the $6,000 is taken to represent the net income and the tax is
a certain percent of that amount.
The tax levied on this basis is payable in advance, beginning
on October 1 of the Fiscal year, and is payable half by October 30
and half by the following April 30 (article 4).
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2) Balance sheet basis
Income tax based on the balance sheet is figured at the end of
the financial :-ear of the taxpayer. It is determined by an exami-
nation of his books and other accounts.
9) Stamped account books
According to Haitian law account books before use m=st be
stamped by the Tax Office and approved and initialed by a Court..
An unstamped, non-approved and uninitialed account book is not
acceptable and may not be used for calculating income tax, nor in
The books that must be star-ped, checked and initialed are the
journal and the inventory ledger. Article 11 of the lecree-Law con-
cerning inco.ie tax provides penalties for improperly kept accounts
and prescribes the manner of making entries in the inventory ledger
(articles 8, 9, and 10 of the Commercial Code).
Article 8 of the above mentioned Decree-Law indicates what
expenditures may be deducted from gross profit to arrive at the net
profit. Such deductions must represent normal charges and expenditure:
Gifts made to charitable undertakings in the name of the firm club
expenses, and bonuses given to employees do.not constitute deductible
expenses or charges. Article 8 contains a list of certain deductible
charges and expenses,.but is not limitative.
3. Schedule of taxes on individual incomes
Article 7 of the Decree-Iaw of May 2, 1942, as amended August
13 of that yen.r, establishes the following tax rates on individual
All incomes equal to or below 5,000 gourdes, on the full
amount *...-4-...... ...*,- .o. .S..o. 0 .......... r.SO6 ***. 3%
All incomes above 5,000 gourdes but not over 10,000:
a). on the first 5,000 .............................. 3%
b) on the excess ....,...... ......... ... ... ... ... 4%
All incomes above 10,000 gourdes but not over 15,000 on
the full amount .**.* ....** ..-... ...*...*** *.......... 5%
All incomes above 15,000 gourdes but not over 30,000:
a) on the first 15,000 ...............,*..,......,. 5%
b) on the excess ...8%....,........ .. .......,. 8%
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All incomes above 30,000 gourdes but not over 100,000 on
the full amount ..o.... ..... ....,,, ,..*-.:.... .,. 12%
All incomes of over 100,000 gourdes on the full amount... 15%
The tax is applicable to commercial and industrial companies
and also to individual merchants and manufacturers, excpeting cor-
porations (societes anonymes). According to the amendment of Auguast
.13, 1942, corporations are taxed at the following rates:
All incomes eTqal to or below 50,000 gourdes......... .,... 12%
All incomes of over 50,000 gourdes:
a) on the first 50,000 ................................ 12%
b) on the excess '**.............*... ........,. .0... 15%
4, Tax Exemptions, capital, subsidies, concessions. and re-gist ration
1) Tax.exp-rit ions
No exemptions from internal taxes are provided for in Haitian
fiscal laws, except in the case of income tax, where the value of
the installations and.stock of merchandise of a merchant does not
exceed 2,000 gourdes (400) (See article 2 of the Decree-Law of May
There are no reductions in taxes. To encourage the development
of certain enterprises the Government, in some cases, by. contract has
given assurance that taxes will not be increased for a stated period,
Such contracts must be approved by a law or a decree-law.
There are no restrictions on the importation of capital,
The Government has granted no subsidy to any existing company,
but contract with the Government may provide exemptions from certain
taxes, particularly import duties on materials and equipment,
The Government nay grant concessions, which must be approved by
a law or decree-law,
- 19 -
5) Taxes for registration of new companies
In addition to those taxes already mentioned, it should be noted
that when a commercial or industrial company is formed it must pay
a fixed charge of $0,40 for registration of the act of organization
and $3.00 for notification to the commercial tribunal.
5, Tax administration
In Haiti, the two organizations that deal with taxes are the
Custom Service and Internal Revenue Service. The former collects
the duties as provided in the customs tariff. The Administration
Genhrale des Contributions collects the income tax and other internal
revenues and the local or communal taxes. The only local tax directly
affecting commerce or industry is the fee for business permit. There
are no departmental taxes, no excess profits tax, nor tax on capital
There is however a rental tax collected annually, equivalent to
3; 3 1/4, or 3 1/2, percent cf the yearly rental value of buildings
located in cities and towns. It is covered by Zecree-law of September
23, 1935 (article 1)..
- 20 -
1 The law applicable to agricultural activities
Agricultural activities of enterprises and. individuals are
governed by civil law just as are those by which they dispose of the
products of their lands and animals, whether in original or converted
form. In purchasing produce from others for re-sale along with their
own produce, wPhother in original or converted form, they become subject
to the terms of commercial law relating to purchased goods. Likewise,
the purchase of fertilizers and seed by a farmer in quantities greater
than needed for his own farming operations, with an idea of re-selling
the surplus, also subjects him to the terns of commercial law. How-
ever, these transactions are not necessarily to be subject to the
commercial law unless customarily or repeatedly carried on.
2, Esual rights for foreigners and Haitipns
Foreigners are free to develop agricultural property or enter-
prises-in Haiti, enjoying in such activities the same rights as
nationals of the country,
There arc no legal provisions which require that a certain per-
centage of the employees or workers in agricultural activities or
enterprises be of Haitian nationality. Likewise, there are no
restrictions on the amount of foreign capital that may be invested
in such activities.
-Individual agricultural activities are exempt from payment of
any business permit (putente) or license (license) fees. Corporations
engaged in.agriculture.pay the same fees as commercial corporations,
The local business permit fees payable by foreign' corporations
amount to 300 rourdes ($60) plus 60 gourdes ($12) for social security
and 1.35 ;ourc'.s ($0.27) for stamp tax, a total of 361.35 gourdes
($72.27). The national license fee amounts to 375 gourdes ($75)
plus 10 gourdes ($2) for the stamp tax, a total of 385 gourdes ($77-).
Other taxes .(income tax, etc.) are the same as for other com-
Here again, a guarantee against any future increase in taxes
is obtainable only in a contract with the Government, Since this
concerns both agriculture and finances, the two interested Govern-
ment Departments must participate in drawing up such a contract.
- 22 -
Operation of mines, pits and quarries are governed by Decree-
Law of December 19-43, and are regarded as commercial activities. This
decree-law is a coordination of previous provisions relating to mines
and is ths onJ.y mining legislation now in force. Mines, pits and
quarries are defined in articles 4, 6, and 7 of decree-law.
I. State nnd pri-v-vte ownership
By law, all nines and quarries which can be exploited only by
underground passages are the private property of the State.
Pits and quarries which can be exploited by means of open cuts
belong to the sur.-ace owner,
The following summary concerns only mines and quarries which are
the private property of the State.
2. Rules concerning pros~ecting
The rules concerning kr6specting are found in articles 16 to 30
inclusive of the Decree. !Law of December 194L3.
With the exception of a surface owner who has the right to make
excavations on his property, a prospector may not undertake preliminary
work of excavat-)n., prospecting anhd drilling excpet by a permit granted
by the Secretary of State for Public Works, after approval by the
The law provides for two types of permits;
1) Sip-nle r-p pet n permit
Upon payment of the fee prescribed, a simple prospecting permit,
valid for one year, is granted. It may be renewed free of charge, for
another year. It gives the right to undertake any prospecting and
drilling in any part of the country. It may not be transferred except
upon authorization by the Cabinet.
The holder of a permit who makes excavations for the discovery
and conservation of deposits must reimburse the surface owner for
damages. In certain cases (article 28) he may carry on work only upon
authorization of the Secretary of State for Public Works.
All holders of permits enjoy the same rights (article 29).
- 23 -
Substances extracted by a permit holder may not be sold or
utilized without authorization by the Secretary of State -for Public
2) Exclusive permit
For prospecting for one or more specific substance an exclusive
permit is granted upon payment of a fee of 1,000 gourdes. It is valid
for a maximum of three years. It accords an exclusive right to pros-
pect in a definitely determined-area.
3. Rules Poverning exploitation of mines.and quarries
The following may exploit mines and quarries:
1) The holder of a temporary exploitation permit;
2) The holder of a concession;
3) State intervention.
1) Temporary exploitation permit
This permit, according to articles 31 to 42, constitutes a temporary
authorization to exploit a mine. It is issued by the Secretary of
State for Public Works nly to holders of prospecting permits who intend
to engage in preliminary mine work, upon payment of a fee of 1,000
gourdes. It is valid for one year, renewable by payment of a fee of
500 gourdes per year.
Each application for a temporary exploitation permit must be ac-
companied'by a sketch of the terrain in which the exploitation is to
take place. A permit shall list the rights and obligations of the
holder. A temporary exploitation permit may be transferred only to
a holder of a prospecting permit.
A permit may be revoked by the .Secretary of State for Public
1) If it has expired and has not been renewed;
2) If the work authorized is not duly carried out.
2) Mining concessions
According to articles 43 to 77, the holder of a concession has the
exclusive right of exploitation and is the owner of the product obtained.
Article 51 to 52 indicate how a concession must be obtained.
- 24 -
All concession holders must deposit with the Bahque Nationale
de la Republique d'Haiti a guarantee of not less than 25,000 gourdes
for mining concessions, or 5,000 gourdes for quarries.
If exploitation of a mine or quarry is not begun within the time
limit determined in a concession, it is revoked and the guarantee re-
verts to the State; otherwise it will be returned to the concessionaire.
4. .Rules overainz concessions
The following is a summary of the rules relating to concessions
for mines and quarries.
1) The Government is entirely free in the choice of concession-
aires, be they surface owners, discoverers or others having no previous
2) A concession is temporary, with a maximum of 60 years for
mines and 40 years for quarries.
3) A mine bestowed by concession becomes a new property which
may be mortgaged. However it may not be divided or sold in lots
without prior authorization by the Government.
4) The exploitation of a mine is subject to control by the
Bureau of Mines of the Department of Public Works.
5) A concession gives the right to occupy and utilize anyr portion
of the surface necessary for the exploitation (articles 59 and 60)
and also the rin.ht of expropriation (article 62). It also gives the
right to establish means of coruninication or to construct docks and
wharves 'if needed in exploitation.
6) Free customs entry is granted to concessionaires for articles
needed for the installations and operation of the enterprise. However,
spare parts and accessories and replacements are subject to import
duties, although free entry is extended for instruments, materials and
medicines required for hospitals or'dispensaries which concessionaires
must install .
7) A concessionaire must pay: .
1) To the State
a) A fixed royalty of a minimum of one gourde per year per-
hectare (articles 65 and 69). .
(However, the contract of concession may stipulate repayment
to the concessionaire of the amount of the surface tax on
any portion of the concession actually exploited, beginning
at the time such exploitation is commenced);
- 25 -
b) A royalty proportional to the gross value of ore removed
(articles 66,. 67, and 68);
2) To the surface owners
A royalty for use of the surface of not less than 5 percent
nor more than 10 percent of proportional royalty paid to
the State (articles 78 to 82);
3) To the discoverer
a) A royalty of not less than 10 percent of the proportional
royalty paid to the State (article 50);
b) Reimbursement of expenses involved in making the discovery
Haitian law contains no restriction or prohibition against a
foreigner engaging in either the prospecting or exploitation of mines
The law does not require that a given percentage of the labor
employed be of Haitian nationality,, nor is there any restriction in
regard to capital invested in mining enterprises....
However, employment by a concessionaire of foreigners as techni-
cians or skilled workers must be authorized by the Secretary of State
for Public Works, such authorization is for a period of two years,,
renewable indefinitely (article 71)...
In practice, a concession contract fixes a percentage of Haitians
to be employed in such enterprises.-
Although, as previously stated, the Law of December 20, 1943,: is
the sole law gor rning mines, pits and quarries actually now in force,.
'article 5 of this law provides that the exploitation of hydrocarbons,.
coal and other mineral substances used for fuel shall be governed by
a special law. However to date the Government has not presented a
project for such a law to the Legislative,1ody.
In regard to taxes, there is the D,ecree-Law of November 14, 1940,
which imposes an internal tax of 0.78 gourdes ($0.156) per gallon
(3o7853 liters) of gasoline obtained from crude petroleum refined in
Haiti. This tax is equal to the customs duty on imported gasoline.
In addition to the taxes referred. to above, mining operations are
subject to the license taxes if the enterprise is foreign, and to the
income tax in accordance with the principles described elsewhere.
1.., Validity recognized by the Constitution
Te, validity of monopolies is recognized in the Constitution of
Haiti'and they are not forbidden by law.. It should be noted, however,
that the Government grants a monopoly only in extremely rare cases,
when the public interest so demands and when, without such monopoly,
an organization could not operate; as for example a monopoly granted
a company tfo supply electricity to the city of Port-au-Prince.
Article 60 of the Constitution of November 22, 1946, reads as
follows: "No monopoly may be established except in favor of
the Government or a commune (municipality) and under conditions
determined by law".
"However, the Government or the commune, may be substituted by
companies or corporations in the exercise of this privilege." :
2. Procedure for obtaining a monopoly
To obtain a monopoly, application must be made to the appropriate
Ministerial Department and if the applicant can show the necessity
for a monopoly the terms of a contract are agreed upon.. It is then
submitted-to the Conseil des Secretaires d'Estat (the Cabinet) for
approval.. If the Cabinet approves, a special authorization for signa-
ture of the contract is issued by the appropriate Secretary of State.
The contract is then submitted to'the Legislature for ratification
if. it is in session, and if not, to the Permanent Committee of the
National Assembly. A contract becomes effective only after such
3... State Tionopolies
Trade in gold is a State monopoly., Gold purchases may not be
made except by the Banque Nationale de la BRpublique d'Eaiti, 'a State
bank (Decree-Law of August 9, 1941). The lottery is also a State
4.. Special concessions
Mines may be exploited only under a special concession from the
Haitian Government (Decree-Law of December 20, 1943). 2Banks may
operate only after obtaining authorization from the President of the
Republic (Decree-Law of June 24,1940)... In these matters the State
thus exercises direct control over the operation of such enterprises.
A concession is granted by the State to permit a concessionaire
to have exclusive rights to operate in anl area determined by a contract.
It is granted c -ly when the public interest so requires and if the
State believes that the applicant is In a position to operate the
Social legislation in Haiti is still in an embryonic state since
it is only within the' last few years that the subject has received
serious consideration. Certain regulations, however, have been adopted.
1, Legislation for the protection of labor
The kaw of April'21, 1939, requires that every person should possess
an identity card.
1) Hours of labor
Article 12 of Decree4-aw of August 16, 1934, on labor, provides
that the working day shall be eight hours, although the parties concerned
may agree between themselves on overtime by day or night.
Article 13 provides for 24 hours rest per week which should be
Sunday unless the public interest or the successful operation of an
establishment require that it be some other day.
2) Holidays and vacations
Workers and employees generally, regardless of whether hired by
the day, by the hour, by the job or on piece work must be given such
holidays and days of rest as are authorized by Presidential decree, with-
out loss of wages. They must be given 15 days vacation per year, at one
3) Minors and pregnant women
An employer is prohibited from hiring minors under 15 years of
age (article 16). A pregnant woman must be given leave with pay amount-
ing to three weeks prior to childbirth and three weeks thereafter
4) Minimum wages
The minimum wage for all manual workers, employed by the job or
in piece work is two gourdes per day (Decree-Law of December 24, 1945).
5) Medical care
Article 19 of the Decree-Law of August 16, 1934, requires that
Haitian or foreign employers hiring more than 100 persons must provide
a dispensary in charge of a Haitian physician and equipped to give
first aid in case of accident.
- 29 -
- 29 -
Other than the above, there is as yet no legislation covering
6) Social Security Fund
Decree-Law of May 15, 1943, created a social security fund; this
fund is obtained through the compulsory contribution of $0.20 per fort-
night by all workers employed in agricultural enterprises employing over
fifty laborers. The fund is used to pay supplementary compensation in
case of accidents, for the creation of an almshouse, etc.
There are no laws providing for pensions except for employees
and officials of the Government.
7) Percentage of Haitian emoloyeos
In general, in contracts made between the Government and indi-
viduals or firms, the Government fixes the percentage of Haitians to be
employed in an onte:prise; otherwise there is no special legislation.
The Departments of Labor and National Economy and the Direction
General of Agriculture are the agencies handling labor matters.
8) Trade unions, strikes and disputes
Article 19 of the Constitution of November 22, 1946, provides
for the existence and activities of trade unions as follows:
"Every worker has the right to participate, through delegates,
in the collective determination of working conditions. 'Every
worker has the right to rest and leisure. Every man has the
right to p:.otect his interests through trade union action. He
may belong to' a union representing his occupation or he need not
belong to any."
Haiti has nover exercised control of exchange. The value of the
gourde has been pegged at five gourdes to the U. S. dollar since 1915-16.
Although banknotes issued by U. S. Federal Reserve Banks are not
legal tender, they are readily accepted in Haitian cities.
REAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
1, Agricultural and forest lands
Article 7 of the Constitution provides that the right to own
property is guaranteed to citizens. Expropriation of real property
for reasons of public necessity or utility may not be resorted to
except by payment to the owner or registration of his right to prompt
and fair compensation. But ownership of property likewise involves
obligations. The use that is made of it must be in accord with the
general interest. A landowner has a duty to his community to cultivate
and develop the soil. Punishment for ignoring this obligation is
provided by law. The principal agrarian laws are:
1) The law- on property (Civil Code) which defines the right of
ownership and governs the right of accession, that is, a right to the
natural or industrial products or movable or real property, and to
natural or artificial improvements, constructions, plantings, alluvial
or other-ascretions, etc.
2) The law on usufructs, usage and occupation (Civil Code).
3) The 'law on property administration dealing with encumbrances
affecting the interests to other persons due to natural conditions and
circumstances such as water rights, boundary lines, or fences, either
by reason of obligations imposed by law or understandings between
4) The law concerning the different ways by which property is
acquired (Civil Code), that is: inheritance, gift by will or between
living persons, result of obligations.(sale, assignment, accession or
incorporation and prescription); and Law No. 21 on sales (Civil Code).
5) Law No. 23 on *rental contracts (Civil Code): lease of rural
and urban properly, lease of livestock,.
6) The Law of December 11, 1922, concerning land survey com-
missions andinvestigating commissions charged with investigating the
depredations, thefts and frauds of which rural inhabitants and the
S'ate may be victims with respect to their property rights..
7) The Law of December 21, 192.2, concerning long-term leases of
State-owned lands for periods varying from 9 to 30 years. Such leases
may not be made except for agricultural purposes and in accordance with
'the provisions set forth in the law.
- 32 -
8) The Law of February 3, 1926., concerning national forest
reserves, declares that they are inalienable.
9) The Laws of July 26, 1927, and May 28, 1928 concern State
domains, to wit: the public domain, which i's inalienable and impres-
criptible, and its private domain, which is imprescriptible but is
alienable. The first of these laws fixes the conditions by which
lands of the State's private domain may be leased, and the second governs
claims to,vacant lands occupied and leased by the State to private
individuals. Under the terms of this law the State may prescribe the
title of individuals after 10 years, whereas the usual prescription
period in regard to real property is 20 years.
10) The Law of January 12, 1934, concerning rural family property,
grants a maximum of 5 hectares to Haitian farmers. Such property is
unattachable and that status is extended to buildings and other im-
provements constructed on the property, as well as any installations,
implements, farm tools and animals connected with the undertaking, .
11) The supplementary Law of September 4, 1934, provides for ex-
emption from the required period of residence in the granting of rural
family property, Haitian farmers who have themselves occupied and
developed the land for ten years.
12) The Law of June 3, 1936, protecting from eviction by third
parties, all farmers having 50 or more hectares under authorized
registered lease, and who work the land for agricultural purposes..
13) The Law of March 5, 1937' requires that the Ministere Public-
be notified of all judgments by default which involve expropriation,
removal or expulsion of an inhabitant from rural areas.
14) The Law of April 18, 1939, concerns undeveloped lands, provides
for an annual tax of 5 to 10 percent of their estimated value, accord-
ing to area, and stipulates that in case of non-payment of this tax
within ten matLths the land will be sold at auction. This law has never
2. Acquisition of public lands
Public lands may be acquired through sale, which must be authorized
by a specific law, as indicated in article 18, Law of July 26, 1927; and
the same article, as amended June 17, 1941, prohibits transfers.
Under Laws of January 12 and September 4, 1934, concerning family
rural property, grants for at least five hectares may be made only to
- 33 -
Acquisition o2 state lands by prescribition is prohibited
(article 4 of the Law of October 28, 1864, and article 3 of the Law
of July 26, 1927).
3. Fees and taxes collected on land purchases, possession or rental
Taxes on sales of real estate (taw of July 4, 1933) are:
Registration ............. 2o
Transcription ........0... 1;
Certificate of transcription G 2,50
Notarial fees, 50 lines ,... 4.00
Stamp tax per G 100 ,...,... 0.10
On leases for over 9 years or less if paid in 3 year periods or
over, the fees are:
Registration ,........ o, 1
Transcription /..,..o..,,.., 1I
Notarial fees, 50 lines ,,., G 4,00
Certificate .........o...... G 2,50
Stamp tax, per G 100 ....... G 0.10
Other leases pay merely the registration fee and stamp tax.
4. Rights of foreigners to purchase or use land
In brief, article 8 of the Constitution and the law of February
13, 1925, provide that a foreigner may own real property only for his
own needs as residence or for agricultural, commercial, industrial or
educational pursuits. Hence a foreigner does not have the right to
rent real estate to others,
Regulations rce-rdi'. trademarks is provided by the Law of December
18, 1922, and by the Inter-American Convention of February 20, 1929.
The assignment or transfer of trademarks is governed by the Law
of March 1, 1937.
Legislation on patents for inventions is covered by the Law of
December 14, 1922.
The maximum validity of registration of trade marks and natonts is
20 years, although if registration was already made elsewhere, the
number of years of protection accorded in that country shall be the basis
for the duration of cu.ch protection in Haiti.
The registration fee for trademarks is set at $15 regardless of the
period of validity. The registration fee for patents varies in accord-
ance with the period of validity. It is $25 for registration for five
years; $50 for ten years and $100 for a period of twenty years.
In addition to the fee, an applicant must convey special power to
his representative charged with obtaining registration, and this is to
be'accompanied by three facsimiles of the patent or trade mark.
- 35 -
With the exception of the provisions covering maritime insurance,
in articles 375 to 431 of the Commercial Code, there are no regulations
governing insurance in Haiti. However, the use of both life and fire,
as well as other forms of insurance under the terms of American, English,.
and other policies, have become fairly widespread.
There is a registration fee of 2 percent on all payments made to
Article 39 of the law of July 4, 1933, provides a special fee of
two percent to be collected on all payments made to insurance companies
for redemption of policies or premium installments, regardless of type,.
conditions or agreements*. To assure payment of this fee all such trans-
actions must be registered, under penalty of a fine of double the fee.
COPYRIGHT PROTECTION (1)
Copyright legislation is contained in the Law on Literary
and Artistic Property, of October 2, 1885. Pertinent provisions of
the Penal Code are also applicable to copyright. The copyright office is
the Bureau d'Enregistrement de la Propriete Intellectuelle in the
Secr6tairerie d'Ttat de l'Int6rieur (Department of the Interior) at Port-
2, Copyright defined
Authors of literary and artistic works enjoy copyright thereof
and the right to prosecute those who infringe upon them, with the sole
requirement of depositing the number of copies required by regulations.
Copyright includes the exclusive right to sell, distribute,
perform, or translate, and to authorize others to do so. Ownership in
copyright may be transferred wholly or in part. Any method may be used
that is suitable for the reproduction of each type of work.
3. Persons protected
In accordance with the Haitian Law, the persons protected
b: copyright are: the authors of literary and artistic works; the
proprietors of posthumous works, by inheritance or any other title;
the widow and children of authors, or if lacking, any other heirs, and
4. Vorks p otected
The Haitian Law protects all literary and artistic works. These
include books, pamphlets, all types of ,writing, all kinds of dramatic
works, musical compositions with or without words, and instrumental
arrangements, drawi-igs, paintings, works of sculpture, engraving,
litho.ranhs, maps, plans, scientific sketches, and in general, all
literary, artistic and scientific works that can be published by any
method of impression or reproduction whatsoever.
(1) This chapter is taken from "Copyright Protection in the Americas",
a publication of the Pan American Union.
Any publication of writings, musical competitions, designs,
lithographs, painting s, or any other production, printed or engraved,
wholly or in part, in contravention of the laws and regulations relating
to copyright, is regarded as a crime of contrebande (a term which
embraces smuggling, infringement, and similar offenses). This
ar)plies eaually to the illegal performance of dramatic works by any
director, producer, or theatrical association.
5. Duration of copyright
An author enjoys exclusive copyright during his lifetime.
The privilege then passes to his widow for the remainder of her life,
and after her death it passes to the author' s children for a period
of twenty years. If there are no children, copyright belon s to the heirs
or assigns for a period of ten years.
The law requires the'deposit, within one year of publication,
of five copies of every work published by a Haitian in Haiti or in a
foreign country. There is no provision in the law concerning regis-
7. Protection of foreign works
The Haitian Law contains no provision concerning the protection
of foreign works. But as a party to the Buenos Aires Convention of
1910, Haiti maintains copyright relations with Argentina, Brazil, Co-
lombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay.