US VIRGIN ISLANDS: Paradise Isn’t Just For Vacation Anymore

U.S. Virgin Islands:
America’s Business Paradise looks to a Vision for the Future

Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Welcome to America’s Business Paradise! Doing business
in the U.S. Virgin Islands has many advantages beyond the world-class beaches
and eco-tourism, incredible views and waterscape, and unique Caribbean culture
and cuisine. With the United States’ legal protections, the familiarity of
currency, and mirror tax-system, the U.S. Virgin Islands is an ideal location
for starting, growing, or expanding a business.

The Territory is “Open for Business.” It has
thriving companies in the financial services, hotel and resort, high-value
manufacturing, business process outsourcing, and distribution and logistics
sectors. The Territory has world-class internet access, the fastest in the
region, and a rapidly improving infrastructure across the three main islands of
St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John since Hurricanes Maria and Irma. There is
easy air access to and from the continental United States with several direct
flights to major cities and no passports required for American citizens.

Credit: U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

A 20 YEAR VISION FOR THE TERRITORY

The USVI 20-Year Economic Vision sets out a clear
pathway for ensuring that the Territory will continue to be a vibrant and
growing economy. This 20 year economic development vision, coined as
“Vision 2040”, is being steered by the Virgin Islands Economic
Development Authority (USVIEDA) as an interactive, participatory process to
produce a long-term economic strategy and action plan that positions the USVI
as a competitive and vibrant place to live, work, visit, and as a prosperous
business location for investment.

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

BUSINESS INVESTMENT

Not just for vacations. While visiting the famous
islands, consider the benefits of utilizing the USVI as a platform for growing
your business. Regardless of whether you are a hedge fund, family office,
manufacturer, investor, hotelier, tech company, energy or financial services
operation, we might be your ideal location with a competitive base on our
abilities to develop, retain, and attract a skilled workforce. Qualified
businesses committed to local economic development can access robust tax
incentives and be better positioned to maximize profitability.

Tax Incentive Program. In the U.S. Virgin
Islands, unique tax benefits translate to a better bottom line. The USVI tax
incentive program is not only one of the most competitive tax benefit packages
within the Caribbean, but across the globe and is fully sanctioned by the U.S.
Government and the Internal Revenue Service. As businesses continue to take an
interest in USVI investment opportunities, the USVI Economic Development
Authority continues to promote its economic development tax incentive program
offered by the V.I. Economic Development Commission (VIEDC) as a benefit with
no additional federal tax obligations for USVI domiciled persons or entities.

VIEDC Tax incentive Program:

  • 90% reduction in federal corporate income tax
  • 90% reduction in federal personal income tax
  • 100% exemption on business property tax
  • 100% exemption on gross receipts tax
  • Reduction on the customs duty from the standard
    6% to 1%
Credit: U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Marine Industry. In November 2020, the
U.S. Virgin Islands Chart Yacht Show, the Territory’s extensive cruising
grounds offered perfect socially distanced vacation with over 100 charter brokers
from the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe attending virtually and over 50 in-person
touring a fleet of nearly 50 multi-hulls, monohulls and motor yachts – at IGY’s
Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas. Hosted by the VI Professional Charter
Association (VIPCA), this turnout of in-person and virtual yacht brokers made
the show a great success, reflecting that the USVI’s charter industry is truly
resilient even through these challenging times.

Hotel Development. The Hotel Development
Act was created specifically to promote investment in and development of hotel
and related facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

Under the new law, up to 100 percent of revenues
generated from the existing 12.5 percent occupancy tax, plus 100 percent of the
gross revenue generated from the newly approved Economic Recovery Fee, which is
up to 7.5 percent of the hotel guest bill, may be allocated to finance new
hotel construction or fund a property’s renovation project.

This new economy will be supported by a robust local
workforce. The University of the Virgin Islands offers a hospitality program on
the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses preparing graduates for exemplary service
in the hospitality and tourism industries. The hospitality program received
national recognition ranking number 26, in a list of “50 Most Affordable
Small Colleges for Hospitality Administration and Management.”

Small Business Exporting. With USVI-made
products, 11 small-manufacturing businesses have participated in the NY NOW
Summer trade show in New York City to showcasing locally-made product in
Denmark. Through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), a federal export
program made possible by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration
(U.S. SBA), the USVIEDA sponsored and led a delegation of entrepreneurs based
on St. Thomas and St. Croix. These small manufacturers promoted their home and
lifestyle products to buyers from across the world for export-related
opportunities.

Contact

How can you learn more about the U.S. Virgin Islands as
a tourist destination? Visit www.visitusvi.com. To learn about expanding
your business to the Territory and applying for tax incentives, go to www.investusvirginislands.com,
or email info@usvieda.org, or call
340-714-1700.

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