BVI News

Trade license fees to see massive increases under new Business Act

The cost of Trade Licences for locals will be up to six times more expensive while the new prices for non-Belongers are seven to 25 times higher than the previous cost.

The revised version of the Business License Act that passed in the House of Assembly last week is expected to see an increase in fees for trade licenses needed to operate businesses in the territory.

While noting that the increases will encourage the Virgin Islands Trade Commission to become a self-sufficient entity, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Natalio Wheatley said considerable research went into the fee structure of business licenses.

The Finance Minister also said that during the process this research, it was necessary for the territory to compare its fee structure to similar jurisdictions such as the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This comparison led to the discovery that the BVI’s fees are significantly lower.

“Compared to other territories such as the Cayman Islands, [their fees] are five to 10 times higher with a range of $150 to $400,0000. Turks and Caicos annual fees for business licenses range from $150 to $10,000 depending on the type of business. There are currently 45 categories of business activities and 65 fee classifications. Twenty categories are reserved for Turks and Caicos Islanders, or Turks and Caicos Islanders-controlled businesses,” Dr Wheatley explained.

BVI’s new proposed fees

The BVI’s existing fees range from $25 to $250 for Belongers and $200 to $600 for non-Belongers.

But with the increases, the cost of Trade Licences will be up to six times more expensive for locals. The new prices for non-Belongers are seven to 25 times higher than the previous cost.

“As it relates to the new proposed structure, the fees range from $150 to $1,500 for Belongers and $1,500 to $15,000 for non-Belongers depending on the category of business. The proposed fees still remain relatively lower than that of Cayman and on par with Turks and Caicos. We have aimed to be competitive and relatively affordable while balancing the need for the Virgin Islands Trade Commission to generate revenue to become more self-sufficient and make a contribution to the overall finances of the Virgin Islands,” the Finance Minister said.

The Premier said the revised fees will apply to the trade license fee for different activities. He explained that Schedule 1(A) of the Act provides for activities that are open for both Belongers and non-Belonger investors, while part B of the schedule provides for economic activities which are reserved for ownership by Belongers only. Part C provides for economic activities which require joint venture ownership with Belongers.

“The fees applicable to Belongers are different to those applicable to non-Belongers and these are simply a reflection of the fact that as citizens of the Virgin Islands, persons are entitled to some benefits and consideration, support and encouragement and to engage in entrepreneurial activity in their homeland,” Dr Wheatley said.

“The difference in the fees between Belongers and non-Belongers also recognises that non-Belongers are considered Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) within the Virgin Islands. The new structure also encourages more local participation and involvement in the economy while promoting fair competition between locals and FDIs,” the Finance Minister added.

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69 Comments

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  1. DEM GUYS says:

    START FLEXING OFF 💪/ WE GOT SCREWED AGAIN , LOOKS LIKE THEY STILL READING FROM THE COACH SCRIPT 🤔

    Like 42
    Dislike 7
  2. Serious says:

    Pure madness!

    Like 30
    Dislike 4
    • great timing says:

      Irma then Covid then runaway inflation and business owners still struggling to hang on and get through. So you do THIS??? NOW?? Killing hard working locals and tipping the scales for any foreigners hesitating to continue to invest here due to the current criminal corruption scandal. Nice work. Or should I say keep digging?

      Like 21
      Dislike 2
      • Wow says:

        Yep. Some saw this coming and warned about the risk of oppressive measures. It’s called austerity measures-used repeatedly against smaller nations. Read up on the World Bank and IMF. It’s a classic approach.

        Like 1
        Dislike 1
  3. Tolian says:

    And will it still take them 8-12 months to process a simple application once we have to pay the higher fees? Until Govt on the whole starts dealing with things in a timely manner (Work permits, Trade licenses etc) it is nonsense to increase fees and then still receive the same level of terrible service. Utter nonsense.

    Like 79
    Dislike 2
  4. my vision says:

    Be you own leader,and stop following others
    what monkey see,monkey do
    not greedy for what monkey see,monkey want.
    leaders know whats best and good for you.
    not like other greedy countries. why they in greedy mess.

    Like 18
    Dislike 5
  5. criminals says:

    So they take more of our money to waste? Please come let the UK take over from this circus-act of a government

    Like 48
    Dislike 7
    • . says:

      Criminals….they would do far worst

      Like 4
      Dislike 7
    • Guess what? says:

      @Criminals, so you think that when Britain takes over, they would reduce trade License fees?

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
    • Wow says:

      Who says it’s not coming from the very folks that many want to take over? I can bet you that we will be seeing all sorts of legislation pushed through to meet theconditions imposed to prevent constitutional suspension.

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
    • Wise up says:

      This is a the UK plan. They are now using the Unity Government to carry out their mandate. It is all in the plan for the locals to lose their businesses because they won’t be able to pay the fees. Then the wealthy UK residents will slowly open up their businesses. Bvi prepare for what’s coming.

  6. concern a lot says:

    Once again everything is increasing except for minimum wage, something must be done to control the inflation of prices.

    Like 43
    Dislike 1
  7. hmmm says:

    he forgot to mention that cayman has no payroll or property tax and turks payroll tax is less than the bvi.

    Like 66
    Dislike 1
    • guest says:

      to say he forgot suggests he knows…does he really?

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
    • UTTER MADNESS!!!!! says:

      These JOKERS have no idea how to run a country and even less knowledge about how private business runs. They are CRAZY!!!! So they are just gouging the eyes out of people who are trying to make a living. Do they realise that entrepreneurs, private businesses, little man businesses hardly eke out a living each month? Once they pay employees and overheads and GOVERNMENT TAXES they sometimes go home without anything. Yet, they consider it a privilege to run their own businesses, control their time and dictate their own hours. They employ people and pay them. They take care of their own families and send their kids to college. When some of these kids graduate, they continue the business or do it all over again starting their own businesses.

      Keep poking entrepreneurs and private business owners and see what happens. If YOU Sowande think we won’t start laying off people or cutting back on employees altogether you have another thing coming.

      Every time the government needs money they can’t keep taking it from the taxpayers. They need to start running the government like how most people run their businesses and homes. TIE DEM BELLY!!!! Go without. Start putting things into place to make government more efficient. Government NEVER had a money problem. They have ALWAYS had a management problem. And the management problem starts with those who running the government. TIME FOR ALL YOU POLITICIANS TO GO HOME – PERMANENTLY!!!!

      Like 39
      Dislike 2
      • Tolian says:

        The problem is the Govt civil service is so bloated it consumes the vast amount of Govt annual revenue just to pay the civil service…Lord help us in 10-15 years when the retirement payments start increasing. Trim the civil service, make it more efficient and accountable.

        Like 19
        Dislike 1
  8. Sigh says:

    Poor mankind

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  9. De Garbage Man says:

    Even more locals will now be fronting for non belongers

    Like 30
    Dislike 1
  10. Assent says:

    by the Guv is necessary for this ‘proposed legislation’ to become law.

    IF this proposed act becomes law it may encourage belonger owned business but it will definitely discourage non-belonger and foreign investment businesses. Which is better for the BVI? The Guv will decide soon!

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  11. ... says:

    illegal businesses already going after work from persons that pay trade taxes now it bout to be come worse

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  12. Persian Messenger says:

    This is madness

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  13. Wages says:

    With this new increase coming . When will wages hourly or even salary march the cost of living here. . Imagine making 6.00 per hour just to pay bills and rent . Some families can’t afford to even take a day trip to VG just for fun as a family to have a break . New government stop looking at other places for your example and look within this territory to figure what will work best for the territory. Also the time frame to make changes without causing a small business to fail or to have to get rid of workers . Think about it

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  14. It start says:

    Wait for land fees to increase too….

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  15. Tell me says:

    Tell me why anyone from elsewhere would want to invest here. What is there here that is not available somewhere else? You say you want local entrepreneurs and yet you raise business license costs. Being on a par with T&C removes economic incentive to invest here. So, what’s the motivation to invest here rather than there? It certainly can’t be in how we deal with trade license, work permits and the like which leave everything on hold until someone decides to approve it months after the fact. Do we think because BVIslanders are more diligent, courteous and efficient always willing to earn a day’s wages for a day’s work?

    Like 19
    Dislike 4
  16. Rid dem now says:

    Call election please we have to find better politicians,nonsense.

    Like 18
    Dislike 3
  17. the biggest problem I see says:

    is allocation; who gets the biggest slice of the pie?

    While the HOA discusses raising fees and taxes, it has yet to discuss legislature regarding their own accountability and government transparency so how are they planning on siphoning all this off?

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  18. Nonsense says:

    I don’t have an issue with the raising of the fees in comparable with other overseas territories. But will Sowande also give us the benefits, the roads, the schools of the other overseas territories. Let’s do it Sowande go ahead raise your fees but also remember there is no fees in those jurisdiction for sending monies overseas. BVI want the qualified minister of finance that the other jurisdictions has.

    Like 12
  19. Jane says:

    Why should any BVIslander require a discretionary trade license in their own country? Seems to me that this keeps the Elites rich, and the poor hungry. Competition is healthy, and the market should decide who is successful.

    Of course foreigners should require a trade license, and let them pay for that. There is no corporation tax here after all.

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  20. Oh please, stop crying says:

    This is what you all wanted with the UK heavily involved in the direction and decisions of Government and now you’re bi*****g. This is only the beginning of what is to come, wait until they reduce the size of the Government workforce. Yall had big mouths for changes like the UK is your saviours, well suck it up and shut up, this is what you wanted.

    Like 2
    Dislike 6
  21. When says:

    Does those increases take immediate effect or are they introduced over a period of time.

  22. Captain BVI says:

    Raising fees solves all of the BVI’s problems! More money, more graft, more corruption. VIP is really doing their best to become the RIP party with this plan to put even more pressure on businesses. Strupes!

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
  23. FED UP says:

    I JUST HATE THE FU****NG GOVERNMENT RIGHT NOW . YOU F**K UP PEOPLE MONEY WASTE ON ALL KIND OF SHIT AND YOU JUST FU***NG UP PEOPLE WAY OF LIFE..

    NO INCREMENTS FOR 5 YEARS
    MINIMUM 6 dollars a hour
    You all really trying to kill this place to the ground…

    I still can’t believe the government received a $40 million grant free money from social security.. and not a damn thing to show for it…

    That money could of been use to build schools roads equip the hospital, pay civil servants 5 years of back up increment.. Gosh Damn it what is the problem with these people..

    civil uproar and disobedience going soon start!!

    Like 19
  24. Madea says:

    What about the drug smugglers? They don’t pay any licence? Its a tax on honest people. Instead of a trade licence the Government could impose Corporation tax as its coming! But you have get the local businesses to pay their existing taxes first!

  25. Captain Flint says:

    The Government should do a survey of the Inland Revenue should check all those businesses that take it from employees but don’t pay the payroll tax and SSB and NHI over. Collection of tax is key – but they don’t chase the non payers. If the non payers dont pay then take the trade licences away.

    Like 13
  26. Power and greed says:

    Cayman not good to compare, No payroll tax, no SSB and no NHI. The government guarantees the right of ownership of each parcel of land, there are no restrictions on non belongers of a single property. Stamp duty is a flat rate 7.5% and not 12% for non belongers and no licence required.

  27. Madea says:

    So basically the Government is getting rid of non belongers businesses once and for all. Nevis here we come.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  28. USA says:

    The US dollar should be taken away as the currency here in BVI then every man and business will high tail it out of here. This country is abusing and taking advantage – switch up to EC$ – it’s what this country deserves.

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  29. Rubber Duck says:

    They sold this pile of third world communist government control as being designed to encourage business.

    In what possible way does increasing fees by a factor of 25 encourage. business?

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  30. Crazy Joe says:

    There is no business licensing system in the UK. Anyone may start any business he wants (with a few exceptions such as casinos.)

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  31. Get back out says:

    This is what we SHOULD MARCH against. Don’t let this pass. Kill the small man before he can even get off his feet.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  32. Closed Up Shop says:

    We had a trade license to rent our house out a few weeks a year. But with the last trade license increase and the 10% tax, it wasn’t worth it. Now we’d be in the hole!

    Better to let people use it for free, or close it up. The government wonders why there’s a lack of accommodation.

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
  33. Me says:

    This is pure madness!
    See..I said this in a blog that people do not read. Meetings were called and business owners did not approve but yet the Government went and did what they wanted to do.

    Utter madness…how can you compare TCI and Cayman
    With BVI? The cost of living is way different. Salaries are way different. I lived in both places.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  34. Investor says:

    Upon reading this proposed law it appears the recycled HOA has no successful business experience. Primarily this draft law is discriminatory with all this belonger/non-belonger BS. Simply all BVI resident person or companies should pay the same annual Trade License fee from $100 to $10,000 depending on the type of business NOT the owner’s status.

    Secondly foreign investment in a BVI business should be encouraged with concessions and tax breaks NOT discouraged with excessive red tape, fees and onerous regulations.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  35. De Silent One says:

    Wow! How much more increases can people endure with the same minimum wage salary? How about the Government cutting back on some of those places that they are rent all over this country for offices when you have a building that should have been completed four years ago and able to accomodate some of those offices, when are they going to stop the bleed?

  36. MonKeyBusiness says:

    There is a very interesting Poem where a Monkey was giving all the very simple reasons why Men aren’t related to them. One of those reasons had to do with fencing a coconut tree, a Monkey would never do that because he knows that it would eventually lead to theft if all Monkeys would need to eat some Coconut from time to time.
    In this current Trade License scenario, the Government apparently have not taken enough time to study the situation, it appears as if they started just from a need for more money standpoint. I would hate to think that strictly looking at another country’s way of doing Business would suffice to make a Policy decision on your Country’s own internal situation. Did it occur to the BVI Policy makers that probably the relatively lower fees was a competitive advantage? If you simply need more money, just ask the delinquent Businesses to pay up their outstanding taxes, social security and NHI. No need to remodel the wheel only to appear as if you’re doing something.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  37. Sam Studdard says:

    This is what happens when you have a character like Slow Wande A-Who-R-You, the Drew, and all these F*cking stupid ppl we keep putting up, either through votes or usurped power by way of a party.

  38. Islander says:

    Same nonsense, how you’ll expect ppl to survive? Government don’t care about the ppl, all they see is dollar signs, draining the ppl of this country no wonder ppl leaving. Rubbish

  39. Truth says:

    What are thes people doing. My god,this is crazy.

  40. Business owner says:

    This is lunacy, it will kill a lot of small businesses. Government states they want new businesses then they tax the profit out of it before you start.If this is the case i for one will close shop.

  41. smh says:

    MASSIVE MISTAKE AGAIN

  42. Confu$ed says:

    It really is unbelievable this move is. They say they want more investment in the BVI but they raise the fees for Trade licenses? They have not targeted any particular business or business area which they want expanded in order to create jobs and add to the GDP. But they raise the fees. A really simple and stupid govt is the one that seeks to raise taxes to increase income. They should be looking at incentives NOT raising fees. These idiots are looking at fees as income generating. My word how stupid. If you want foreign direct investment then provide specific incentives and let the economy grow. They need to google some shit. They are soo lost. Get the UK in here asap please…!

  43. Bon Sense says:

    Tax the rich not the poor. Go after your Financial Services

  44. Im Glad says:

    Imagine the likes of Riteway, One Mart etc paying just $250 a year! No man. Raise it higher

  45. Hmm says:

    So government don’t believe in gradually increasing prices. Why make such a huge increase one time? Are these people bullies?

  46. hm says:

    “We have aimed to be competitive and relatively affordable while balancing the need for the Virgin Islands Trade Commission to generate revenue to become more self-sufficient and make a contribution to the overall finances of the Virgin Islands”

    So… more government over sight at the expense of the people. This cant THE unity government…

  47. excatly says:

    The people we vote in to make life better turn around and make life worse. Such a disappointment!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Kick us while we are down.

  49. Redstorm says:

    The fees are too much overall, most supermarkets raised their prices of 300- 600%more imagine crackers that was 1.29 is now 3.54. I am not mad about the increased fees , but think about giving tax breaks to employees with additional 5000.00 and a four day work days for those who are engaged in Farming.

    Meet with the community and listen to them,if not you will pay the price come Election Day. Most people on this island is looking for what’s in it for them. The treasury show have a surplus or are we to think this country brokes.

  50. Lol says:

    Gotta know it once dope not flowing anymore they gotta switch to plan B n that’s up yah a**… 😂

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