U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John P. de Jongh  De Jongh has executed an executive order this past week laying the groundwork for new economic and cosmetic renewal projects in historic towns on St Croix and St Thomas.

“The United States Virgin Islands recognizes the importance of revitalizing these once-vibrant towns with an infusion of new business and economic opportunities, to renew their physical appearance, and to rejuvenate and diversify the local economy by providing incentives for business relocation and job creation,” de Jongh said in the order.

Accordingly, Government House will establish Enterprise Zones within those towns “in order to attract new businesses and provide incentives for investment in order to sustain the future preservation of these towns for the People of the Virgin Islands.”

Continue Reading Governor Promotes Urban Renewal with Tax Benefits

With the holidays over and a new year upon us, it is a natural time for business owners to map out strategies and goals for the next twelve months. Doing so allows businesses a chance to focus their energies on having a successful 2012 and gives them a metric by which to measure their successes and locate opportunities for improvement at the end of the year. Here are three suggestions that will assist businesses in planning for the year ahead

Continue Reading New Years Tips for Business Owners

U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen has introduced legislation that would create an innovative tax program that would leverage private pension assets to raise funds for infrastructure development in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to assist in the recovery and development of the Territory by providing for a reduction in the tax imposed on distributions from certain retirement plans’ assets which are invested for at least 30 years under a U.S. Virgin Islands investment program.  The new program is projected to raise approximately $250 million a year dedicated to infrastructure of the U.S. Virgin Islands, while simultaneously raising an additional $500 million a year for the U.S. Treasury.

Continue Reading New VI Tax Break Legislation Introduced in U.S. Congress

An interesting tax case with implications for beneficiaries of the Virgin Islands Economic Development Program is currently being fought in U.S. Tax Court.  On April 1, 2010, Arthur I. Appleton filed a Petition with the Tax Court to challenge as void the tax assessments leveled against him by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) because, he argued, the assessments were imposed after the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Under Section 932 of the Internal Revenue Code, Virgin Islands residents, like Appleton, are required to pay income tax directly to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”), not the IRS, pursuant to the “mirror code”, where the term “Virgin Islands” is substituted for the “United States” in the Internal Revenue Code. Yet, the IRS retains audit and assessment powers. 

Continue Reading Third Circuit Overrules Tax Court on EDC Case

The USVI attracts many businesses to its shores by offering generous tax incentives to qualifying companies that are approved by the Economic Development Commission (“EDC”). However, fewer people seem to be aware that those same benefits—90% reduction in income tax liability; 100% exemption on real property taxes, gross receipts taxes, and excise taxes, and a reduction in customs duties—are available to technology-based businesses through partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands Research and Technology Park the (“Technology Park” or “Park.”)

Continue Reading Tech Park Can Offer Investors Savings and Simplicity

The Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (“BIR”) recently announced a 90 day gross receipts tax amnesty, which will expire on January 25, 2011. The amnesty was signed into law in October and allows businesses to file delinquent gross receipts tax returns with the BIR and pay any outstanding balances due without having to pay penalties and interest.

Continue Reading Virgin Islands 90 Day Gross Receipt Amnesty

Discussing your estate plan with heirs can be a very difficult conversation to have, but no matter how uncomfortable it may be, it can be quite effective in reducing potential conflicts among family members and make sure your heirs understand the choices you have made. If your children will not receive equal amounts of inheritance, it would be helpful to explain why. Maybe you previously helped one child buy a house, so the other is receiving a larger percentage of your estate. Maybe one child will require medical care, so you wish to make sure they are taken care of into the future.

Continue Reading Preserving Peace in the Family

After over a decade of discussion, review and deliberation by the Virgin Islands bench and bar as well as the Law Revision Commission and several Legislatures, on February 8, 2010, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John P. deJongh signed into law sweeping reforms of the Territory’s probate practice and procedure.

This new legislation reduces needless expense and delay in the administration of estates and trusts, enhances protections for those under guardianship and increases uniformity with other states and territories. This summary highlights five areas of important reforms enacted by the new legislation.

Continue Reading Territory Receives New Probate Code