“It is a well established fact [that] … any government has but one fundamental way to … have the resources available to fulfill its obligations to its citizens… and that is to raise taxes or fees,” D. Orlando Smith, minister of finance in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), said in a Nov. 15 budget presentation.
But industry analysts and tax specialists believe new fees and taxes will bring in needed money for government coffers while doing little harm to the business community.
In the BVI, Mr. Smith proposed an increase in trade license fees, which businesses are required to purchase to operate there, and to base work permit fees on salary levels, meaning higher-paid workers, many coming from large companies with multimillion dollar payrolls, would pay more. His counterpart in the Cayman Islands has proposed an increase in registration fees for hedge funds. And in the Bahamas, the government is considering a sales or value added tax as well as a broad-based corporate tax for the first time.