BVI News

Careful! The wealthy could misuse stamp duty waiver

Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Marlon Penn.

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has renewed calls for the government to tighten ‘loopholes’ that exist with the new stamp duty waiver for locals seeking to acquire land during this COVID-19 period. 

Recently, the government waived stamp duty fees payable on the sale or transfer of property from one Belonger to another Belonger. However, the government said Belongers who receive a stamp duty waiver and resell the property to a non-local before seven years will be required to repay the fees that were waived.

This measure is to ensure land is kept in the hands of BVIslanders and Belongers. But speaking in the House of Assembly earlier this week, Penn said this measure isn’t enough to stop locals from selling to outsiders. 

He said there are wealthy people in the BVI who can benefit from the stamp duty waiver, wait for the seven years to elapse and then make a profit by selling land to non-Belongers.

“… Persons who are wealthy, who have the wherewithal to buy up large tracts of land. Wealthy people could sit on land forever – beyond that seven-year time frame. I believe we need to sit in committee when we discuss this, to see where those loopholes could be closed as well,” Penn argued.

Issue of home ownership

Penn also said it may be a good idea for the government to consider extending the stamp duty waiver to persons seeking to purchase homes.

“Even though we get the property, it creates a problem for persons to get the financing to build homes. So we have to find a way to marry the two. If a young Virgin Islander family wants to buy a home versus a piece of property, I don’t know if this [waiver] applies in this case as well,” Penn reasoned.

He said these matters should be addressed to ensure that people get the right benefits as the government will be losing out on much-needed revenue at this time.


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  1. Frankly says:

    speaking. The time has come to consider a halt to all land sales in the BVI, for multiple reasons.

    Transactions should gravitate to lease holds only.

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    • Truth Be Told says:

      BVI Government needs to borrow $100M as they have run out of money and have empty treasury during 2020. Anyone talking about this?

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  2. Maybe says:

    Maybe for Crown Land, but definitely not for land that is already freehold.

    Like 14
  3. sooo says:

    @Frankly your idea may seem good at first, but lease hold property is less valuable and often a legal nightmare. The BVI has a fair amount of leasehold property, Wickhams Cay for instance, Virgin Gorda has areas of leasehold as does Great Camanoe. Marina Cay was leased for long term by the freehold owner. Banks often don’t like leasehold property according to how long is left on the lease. As the lease runs out the property becomes less valuable.

    Locals should only purchase freehold property in my opinion. There will always be abuse as mankind finds ways around everything. But it is a great investment for locals to buy land, and hold it or develop it.

    Any local who can afford to buy up land and hold it, God Bless them. We will always have the poor and we will always have the rich. Get over it, if locals can afford to buy up land, do it now. Prices of land in the BVI are never going to go down. And there is only so much land in the BVI.

    Buy land and wait until you have the money to build on it. Be patient and don’t try to build a house with many apartments underneath it, because you are getting into a huge mortgage, and the apartments may not get rented for enough to cover your mortgage and you are then in a position of forever maintaining you home, yard, and many apartments that need attention all year every year.

    Look before you leap, old people used to say. Or don’t hang your hat where you can’t reach.

    Like 18
  4. Do you think!? says:

    Was this guy asleep when the bill was being debated?? They have to read the bill THREE (3) times before it was voted into law. Of course the rich guys are going to buy up big tracks of land from the poor guys that need money.
    The realtors are busy busy busy right now. It’s already happened. There isn’t any nice families buying land to build a house. This is rich dudes that will sell for big money to non-belongers and lock the locals out of whatever land is left.

    Like 19
    • Politics says:

      He also said so during the debate of the bill. Stop playing politics and misleading people. It is obviously the Premier is using the guise of Belongers buying land for the ultimate purpose of his wealthy friends buying land.

      I agree with him their are too many loopholes that need to be closed. The intent is good but their will be lots of unintended consequences. People will buy the land and speculate later.

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    • Im Puzzled says:

      What is most puzzling to me is the fact that BVI is a mere 60 square miles but is riddled with outside Realtors while at the same time hundreds of young people are coming out of school annually. Are we going to be reclaiming land from the sea?

  5. This obsession with land says:

    You came and met the land and you will leave and the land will still be there. The obsession and the fighting about land is pissing me off.

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  6. So...... says:

    Who you think it for?

  7. No Squatter Here says:

    It is believed that natiolnalization of freehold lands should be considered if and when rich foriegn entities control or owns most of the lands.

    It is also believed that lease agreement should be an alternative for local free holder, but with short terms ranging to but no more than ten to fifteen years.

    Last, serious protectionist measures must soon come on line or else the local will find himself not a square inch of soil to call his own.

    He will then become second class citizens and beggars in his own country, even though some think this country is not his, he is often referred toas “squatter” and he will be treated like a pig in a sty.

    Read 15th, 16th and 17th century base comments often ound on this thread and one can summize that those statements are not far fetched.

    The local must hold on to what he has left or he will be treated like a squatter into the future.

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  8. Not business people says:

    who are you kidding Marlon? with inflation and lost opportunities it costs more than 4% to own the property over a 7 year period. Very unlikely anyone will buy and hold for 7 years to take advantage of a measly 4%. We need more business minds in and around our Govt

    Like 13
    • Sleeper says:

      You’re a sleeper! The Premier made several Billionaires Belongers in the regularization process. They will buy up land and speculate later on. What you think is happening over in mosquito and oil nut bay? You people are fast asleep and your loosing your country from under your. Help us Jesus!

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      • My point is... says:

        Saving 4% on the purchase price over a 7 year holding period is not a good business model. And any billionaires team would certainly know that but it doesn’t seem like Marlon does. So in essence the laws now in place concerning land purchase to Belongers adequately handle any “flipping” threats

      • W.E Man says:

        Jesus loves everyone, not just us.

    • Clueless says:

      Where in the BVI does land depreciate? You know what is 4% on the millions spent on property? You do the maths since your such a business man.

      This is money that should go to the treasury. If you could afford to purchase property for Millions you should pay your tax, especially at a time when we could ill afford loosing tax revenue.

    • No Clue says:

      Where in the BVI does land depreciate? You know what is 4% on the millions spent on property? You do the maths since your such a business man.

      This is money that should go to the treasury. If you could afford to purchase property for Millions you should pay your tax, especially at a time when we could ill afford loosing tax revenue.

      • It would appear... says:

        You have no clue about the issue being discussed. Fahie giving billionaires status and them buying land has nothing to do with the point at hand. Buying and Holding land for 7 years because you saved 4% is not a good business model.

  9. @ Sleeper says:

    Been happening for decades. LDB, Bitter End and the list goes on and on and on.

    Sadly, our ancestors made some unfortunate judgments back then fueled by speculators who were eager to exploit an unknowledgeable Black local population with gold mines in hand.

    That is why today we must pull the reins and hold on to what we got left.

    If you want an inch of land from a local, pay him half a million for half an inch or keep walking. When those people sell they sell for nothing less than five mil and up and acre.

    We had better stop being fools.

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    • anegada says:

      happening on Anegada, west now in the hands of Belgium millionaires and the government trying to give 100’s of acres away for a golf course. Belongers by buying a passport does not make them BVIslanders

  10. Rubber Duck says:

    Hold the land for seven years for a possible 4% gain? You cannot be serious. But it’s about time we got rid of stamp duty altogether. And especially the 12% designed to stop foreigners buying houses. Check out the number of houses that have been on the market for years and years. They put investors off building here. All our competitors in the Caribbean and elsewhere are encouraging foreigners to buy houses. Only BVI has its head up its backside here.

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  11. ok says:

    If a local, Belonger, Islander or whatever you want to call them… want to sell THEIR land to WHOMEVER, who are you or the Government to tell them they CAN NOT. It is theirs!

  12. Norris Turnbull says:

    They Will continue Mr.Penn. Its already happening before we were born. Georges, smith, Todman, scatliffe, harrigan, stevens etal..

  13. Greed says:

    Dem selling out dem birthright. Short sighted . Who owns the land owns the country

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