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Saint Lucia in discussions with EU on foreign-investor tax regime

By SNO Staff

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Government offices, Waterfront, Castries.

(SNO) — With Saint Lucia under pressure from the European Union (EU) to amend or abolish a regime which gives foreign companies and their employees certain tax exemptions, the Allen Chastanet-led government is said to be in discussion with the organization on the matter.

Nicole McDonald, senior communication officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the island stands by what it has been doing so far, however it doesn’t want to end up on any EU-sanctioned blacklist.

“We continue to be open to dialogue and discussing with the EU on ensuring that Saint Lucia doesn’t end up on any blacklist,” she told HTS.

Earlier this month, the EU’s Code of Conduct Group wrote to Chastanet expressing concerns over amendments made to the International Business Act.

The amendments give foreign companies and their employees tax exemptions ranging from zero to to one percent of their income, in stark contrast to local businesses which have pay up to 30 percent in taxes to the government.

The EU is concerned that this may cause foreign companies and individuals to evade taxes or hide their assets.

The organization described such measures as “harmful” and told the government that the regime should be either abolished or amended by December 31, 2019, or the island could be placed on the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.

But according to McDonald, Saint Lucia is standing by what it has been doing so far but dialogue continues.

“We stand by what we have been doing so far and we stand by the direction we want to take the sector in a certain way,” she told HTS. “We want to ensure though that both local and foreign investors can benefit from the same types of incentives.”

On the matter of foreign investors paying zero to one percent on taxes while Saint Lucian companies paying up to 30 percent, McDonald said this too is being looked at.

“That’s one of the things we are looking at right now, yes, that is one of the things we are looking at,” she remarked.

In the meantime, McDonald pointed out that discussions continue on the matter.

“What I am saying is that we are in discussions with them on that,” she stated. “Dialogue is going to continue, I can’t state right now what the final decision will be on that.”

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3 comments

  1. I agree 100% with the EU on that one. Chastanet and typical politicians are not the sharpest knives in the draw. And small businesses can't afford to pay such exorbitant taxes while foreign companies pay nothing. these stupid rules must be changed. so go on pressure the government to implement positive change

    (1)(1)
    • A Lesson in Civics:
      All governments have fixed expenditures for services granted to the entire population, rich, poor, red, yellow and those in between. If the government of the day has to provide the same level of services, these have to be paid for, but with the existing tax system we now have in place. The same or a greater amount of money has to come into the government coffers of all governments, present and past to continue to offer some very basic level of services. Other people in other countries will not cough up that money to pay for wellbeing. But the money has to come from somewhere.

      The IMF will not even allow any government to borrow from it for that kind of expenditure.

      However, to attract new business from abroad or business persons from abroad, incentives like lower taxes have to be in place. Already our crime rate is giving us a headache regarding this. If those businesspeople can get beter or same incentives elsewhere, they may move out or not come to Saint Lucia.

      Some may love to have the same low taxes for all and sundry. We can aim to lower our national tax level and suffer more inconveniences like having flies around sick people the hospital, or having relatives bathe them and bring them toilet paper.

      Choose Saint Lucia. Venezuela is a great example. Choose.

      (2)(1)
  2. You see people
    Local business= 30% Tax
    Foreign business= 0-1 % Tax

    Yet they say be innovative and become entrepreneurs when the system is against you the entire time

    (6)(1)

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