Are you wondering whether you qualify to receive benefits from the Economic Development Commission in the U.S. Virgin Islands? To be considered eligible for benefits, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Invest a minimum of $100,000 outside of their inventory in a business or industry that is determined to advance the best interest of the territory.
- Meet all the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 934 (in the case of an individual, partnership or corporation).
- Provide full-time work for at least ten people, of whom at least 80 percent must be U.S. Virgin Islands residents. These residents must have lived in the territory for at least a year before being hired. Any enterprise that applies for economic development benefits as a Category IV Designated Service Business that provides non-labor intensive financial services is required to employ at least five people.
- Comply with all local and federal regulations and laws, including environmental legislation.
- Be an investor in the enterprise for which the economic development benefits are being sought. An applicant cannot be a contractor, subcontractor or any other corporation or person acting as an agent on the behalf of the company that would receive those benefits.
- Provide an easement for free access to the shoreline if the applicant will be conducting any business on property adjacent to the shoreline.
- Review the full list of requirements in exchange for benefits.
Categories of eligible activities
There are several categories of activities that could make you eligible to receive benefits from the EDC, although the agency does have the authority to look outside these categories so long as the enterprise advances the economic well-being of the Territory.
Here are those categories:
- Category I – Legacy Virgin Islands Industries: Examples include businesses that produce rum, milk or dairy—or any companies that manufacture watches or jewelry.
- Category II – Product Assembly, Manufacturing, Repair and Maintenance and/or Export Operations: Examples include agriculture or mariculture and food processing, machine and heavy equipment, bottling and packing and the marine and aircraft industry.
- Category III – Facilities, Tourism and Communications: Examples include guesthouses, hotels, healthcare, transportation, recreation, retirement facilities, telecommunication and utilities.
- Category IV – Designated Services Businesses (defined in section 703(g)): Examples include commercial distribution and trading services, international banking, insurance agencies, public relations firms, call centers, investment managers, print and film industry companies, investment banking, venture capital management, medical laboratories, computer and technology businesses and engineering companies.
- Category V – International Financial Service Entity: Companies that would fit within this category are defined by Act 7968, § 7, Jan. 20, 2017, V.I. Sess. Laws (2017).
If you are looking to apply for EDC benefits and would like assistance in the process, reach out to a dedicated U.S. Virgin Islands corporate planning attorney.
Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney and Chair of the Government Relations Practice Group at BoltNagi, a well-respected and established business and government relations law firm, serving individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.