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TAX INCREASE: Premier announces hike in departure tax, property tax amnesty

BVI News Online - Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Aerial view of cruise ship pier in Tortola

Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith has announced that the departure tax for persons traveling by sea is to be increased possibly by the start of next month.

The increase is from $5 to $10 for BVI residents and to $15 for non-BVI residents.

Premier Smith, who is also Minister of Finance, said the increase will enable the territory to capture lost revenue.

He also announced a property tax amnesty, which is to run from the beginning of June to the end of 2013.

The announcements were made moments ago in the House of Assembly.

THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE PREMIER READS:

Madam Speaker, this Territory has been feeling the effects of stagnant revenue growth for some time now.

As one small step towards addressing this, my colleagues and I have decided to raise the passenger tax now paid by individuals travelling by sea from $5.00 to $10.00 for BVI residents and fifteen dollars for non residents.

The increase in the Passenger Tax will also allow the Territory to capture lost revenue resulting from the demographic shift over the years of visitors that travel by sea from neighbouring St. Thomas because of insufficient air lift through Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.

Madam Speaker, this has been a trend that has developed over the years and with the proposed increase it is felt that this should not impact the decision of travelers to travel to the Territory.

Premier Smith (File photo)

Madam Speaker, adaptation of the proposal would result in an equivalent rate of $20.00 that is charged for passenger Tax (Air) for non residents ($15.00 per person plus a security fee of $5.00). In effect residents will realise a moderate increase on a tax rate that has being constant for almost 20 years.

The BVI’s current passenger tax rate is below that of its neighbours in the region.  Anguilla for example has a departure tax rate of US $20.00 per adult and $10.00 per child ages 5 to 11 leaving by sea or air for visitors while residents pay a smaller tax of US $5.00.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, citizens currently pay US $18.49 and nonresidents US $21.51. They have also proposed an across the board new rate of US $37.00.

In effect residents in the BVI will realise a moderate increase on a tax rate that has being constant for almost 20 years.

Madam Speaker, we are targeting the beginning of June to effect this change.

In addition Madam Speaker, we will introduce an administrative system that allows individuals to purchase passes that will allow them to travel without the payment of passenger tax on each exit from the Territory. These passes will be valid for predetermined periods of time.

Madam Speaker, I would also like take this opportunity to announce the implementation of a period of amnesty for the penalties associated with the payment of Property Tax, commencing on the 1st June 2013, until the end this year.

The period of amnesty will allow taxpayers to become current with their property tax arrears, without being charged for the outstanding penalties. Madam Speaker this initiative is geared at allowing property owners to become up-to-date on their taxes, without placing the added burden of penalties on their already stretched finances.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues here on both sides of the house to give these two initiatives their full support.

Thank you

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31 Comments

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  1. NPolitico
    May 14, 2013
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    Undoubtedly, the demand for and the cost of delivering governing services is increasing while revenues are shrinking. Consequently, government must collect more revenues, find new revenue sources ( fees, taxes), and cut waste to deliver the needed services.

    Nonetheless, the assessing of fees or imposing of taxes must be fair and reasonable. For example, the departure tax paid by locals and tourists should be balanced. Locals paying $15 and tourists paying a much lower rate is not fair and reasonable. Further, the 50% increase ($5 to $10) in departure tax by boat is regressive, i.e., it imposed a heavier burden on the poor travellers than on rich or middle class travellers.

    Reply to this comment
  2. May 14, 2013
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    Cruise ship passengers $4.oo but locals $15.00?

    Reply to this comment
  3. WIZE HEAD
    May 14, 2013
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    Now we’ll have to present our passport to the casher to prove who is resident or not.

    Reply to this comment
  4. law student
    May 14, 2013
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    All I can do is laugh and shake my head because I already saw the writing on the wall. I got some economic tips from a fellow law student who says that he expect more fees to go up. I dont have a problem with the increase because government needs the additional funds, all I am saying an increase in pay would also be nice but unfortunately there is no mention of this. The only people that will feel the pressure is the poor, soon from now only the rich would be able to live here. These present measures is not stimulating the economy its restricting it, I dont know for the love of god why government cant see this. If someone makes 100 a month with no increase in pay and every month you keep deducting all kind of taxes from that person salary what do you expect is going to happen? Let me school government since they seem to have gotten out of touch with what normal people are going through. First everyone will start holding on to what little money they got, money would stop circulating in the economy. Government need to start thinking out of the box and start being creative.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Melo
    May 14, 2013
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    This is so not in the best interest of these islands. Afforable movement of people would greatly improve the commerce of all these islands.People should not have to think of the expense of getting from one island to the next you should be able to jump on a ferry and go. Chances are if you have to think about it you won’t go. This is not about the mega yacht crowd they have their own boats.

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  6. May 14, 2013
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    People should stop going to the bvi.Tourist go there to spend their money and you gouge them like that.There are other places to go than the bvi.Why dont you have a entry tax see how much people come there.blood sucking dogs.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Saviie
    May 14, 2013
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    What about the cruise ships was $4.00 per person regardless of where you come from. Is that going to change? Boat is boat small boat or big boat.
    Laws are meant to govern people not to dis people.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Nebuka
    May 14, 2013
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    What about the cruise ships was $4.00 per person regardless of where you come from. Is that going to change? Boat is boat small boat or big boat.
    Laws are meant to govern people not to dis people.

    Reply to this comment
  9. May 14, 2013
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    The once a year visitors to the bvi could careless about the increase on the other hand the locals that shop every weekend in the USVI will have to suck it up. Thanks to the crooks

    Reply to this comment
  10. SMH
    May 14, 2013
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    I honestly don’t know what drives the NDP and I voted for them.
    they say they are looking out for locals but in reality they really are not. there are persons working in the BVI that are making upwards of $250K a year (that’s a fact!) yet they pay no more than $1000 for a work permit and 8% payroll tax! Foreign professional businesses pay $600 for a trade licence per year! these companies make millions of dollars selling BVI services and they pay NO income tax! this is what the Premier and the NDP ought to be looking at. they just seem to not have a clue! that just makes me mad!

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  11. Really????
    May 14, 2013
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    Hmm the Premier didn’t think on the parents that have more that one kids.If you have 5 kids that would be $50 departure tax. I think that kids under the age of 12 should pay $5. Premier you should think twice about the single mothers that would like to take their kids on a trip they wouldn’t be able too now since tax is raise.

    Reply to this comment
    • R
      May 15, 2013
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      Why would a single parent have 5 kids all under 12? Sounds like an irresponsible person to me that should have bigger problems to worry about

      Reply to this comment
  12. May 14, 2013
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    Why not eliminate the tax and advertise that the BVI has eliminated taxes. That would be a positive statement. So for a family of four, the will be asked to pay $60 to leave. How many will come back after that insult. Bad policy. People are being taxed to death everywhere.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Want2Kno
    May 14, 2013
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    Is an OVERDUE raise coming Mr. Premier?

    Reply to this comment
  14. May 14, 2013
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    Poor we have to be paying for ndp mistakes.

    Reply to this comment
    • i was hacked
      May 14, 2013
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      Poor we have to be paying for VIP mistakes

      *Fixed*

      Reply to this comment
  15. homegrown
    May 14, 2013
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    So can there be a tax implemented on revune leavin the country. Make it based on the amount being sent…That will seriously bring income.. raise the work permit fees.

    Reply to this comment
  16. wow
    May 14, 2013
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    In most countries there are separate charges for citizens or non citizens

    Reply to this comment
    • david
      May 14, 2013
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      ndp–i will never vote for you again. i am a hard core ndp person. but they are making me think one more time. there is no middle figure between 5 and 10? 100%. some thing is wrong with our boys. think again. looks like we elected a set of mu mos again.

      Reply to this comment
  17. May 14, 2013
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    They could raise it to $50 I still going St.Thomas to shop. I guess this is meant to deter us from shopping Rock but guess what we will just pool resources and shop even more in bulk which will give us bigger savings and discounts…LOL Thanks!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  18. BREACH OF TRUST
    May 14, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    WHO REMEMBERS THIS: http://bvinews.com/bvi/i-was-talking-about-fee-increases-yesterday-premier/

    Reply to this comment
  19. May 14, 2013
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    Is it me or is departure tax like a ransom price you have to pay?? I have to pay you for my release….Ain’t that some sh**??

    Reply to this comment
  20. Ohhhh
    May 14, 2013
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    Wow

    Reply to this comment
  21. smh
    May 14, 2013
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    everything increasing except our pay!!!!!!! not nice

    Reply to this comment
  22. Staycation Agenda
    May 14, 2013
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    Why impose a tax at all? Why make it so difficult to leave? Why not fix the ferries rather than charging us more to use them?

    Won’t this discourage tourists from coming here from the USVI?

    Reply to this comment
  23. BVIPerson
    May 14, 2013
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    I GUESS IT’S OK TO RAISE THE PRICES OF THINGS THAT THE POLITICIANS DON’T HAVE TO PAY….THAT IS SO VERY WRONG WRONG WRONG HON. PREMEIR……..BVI PPL YOU NEED TO SHOW YOUR DISAPPROVAL, ANNOYANCE AND “FED-UP NESS” WITH PRICE INCREASE IN THE BVI THAT IS KILLING THE LITTLE PPL.

    Reply to this comment
  24. ??
    May 14, 2013
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    Why are there two rates and not one?

    Reply to this comment
    • Bystander
      May 14, 2013
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      Because non-BVI residents don’t vote!

      Reply to this comment
      • May 14, 2013
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        I love that response…I don’t know whether you meant it to be funny but it is… :lol: :lol:

        Reply to this comment
      • Nonsense
        May 14, 2013
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        Many BVI residents don’t vote, it said residents not belongers

        Reply to this comment

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