Any business or individual that wishes to enter into a contract with the BVI government will now be required to get a Certificate of Good Standing.
This decision was taken at a recent Cabinet meeting on September 21.
In the decision document arising from that meeting, Cabinet said these businesses and individuals will be assessed by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to ensure they are in good standing with their taxes.
“Where it has been determined that taxes are outstanding, such sum owing or a portion thereof agreed to by both parties, would be deducted in accordance with Chapter 206 – Income Tax, Clause 65A,” Cabinet stated.
While on the subject of certificates of good standing, Cabinet also decided that the IRD, the Social Security Board, and the National Health Insurance (NHI) must collaborate and present to the Cabinet a Joint Implementation Plan in thirty (30) days.
This plan should outline how these three tax-collecting agencies will produce — in a timely and efficient manner — good standing certificates to persons and businesses that request these documents.
As that plan is drafted for future consideration, Cabinet further decided that businesses will get a one-year grace period to produce their Certificates of Good Standing and Certificates of Earnings to the IRD.
The grace period is also extended to applications for Social Security and NHI during the work permit and entry permit process.
The latter Cabinet decision comes a month after Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley faced criticism from Opposition legislator Julian Fraser for the government policy which required work permit holders to provide a Certificate of Good Standing — for both themselves and their employees — if they wish to renew their work permit and extend their stay in the territory.
Also, earlier this month, Premier Andrew Fahie announced that the government would implement a new policy that offered relief for many struggling business owners in regards to Good Standing Certificates requirements. The previous policy required outstanding payments to be paid in full before the certificates were granted. However, this approach was quickly rolled back and allowed for payments to be made over a one-year period.
Fahie had said the COVID pandemic along with the recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria meant many businesses were facing financial trials and paying those monies up front came with great difficulty.