Both Belongers and non-Belongers will soon have to pay significantly more to operate businesses in the British Virgin Islands after the recent passing of the Business Licensing Act in the House of Assembly, which proposes to increase the fees for trade licenses.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. the Honourable Natalio Wheatley successfully moved the motion in a recent sitting of the House of Assembly to have the new legislation replace the current Business Professions and Trade Licenses Act Cap 200, which is approximately 33 years old.
The new fees for Belongers will range from $150 to $1,500, up from the previous $25 to $250. For non-Belongers, they will have to spend even more money on trade licenses as the new fees will range from $1,500 to $15,000 which is up from the previous $200 to $600.
Speaking on the need for the updated legislation and new fee structure, Premier Wheatley said the new fees will assist the Trade Commission in being more self-sufficient and will contribute to the economy of the Virgin Islands.
Premier Wheatley also revealed that considerable research went into the development of the new fee structure.
He said the current fee structure has been in place for a long time and is outdated.
He added that the fees were considerably lower when compared to other jurisdictions such as the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.
The finance minister also said that with the current legislation there was difficulty in fitting some of the modern businesses into the existing framework and labels.
He said the only way to fix the issue was to overhaul the legislation to make it more aligned with the modern needs of the territory.