Sin Tax Goes Into Effect Today; But Could It Have Been Avoided?

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Good morning folks and happy Monday! So the Sin Tax officially goes into effect today, May 1st. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Sin Tax, it’s Governor Mapp’s latest idea to boost revenue in the Territory. He thought – and we wholeheartedly disagree – that it is a good idea to raise the tax on beer, wine and spirits in order to increase revenue. Governor Mapp estimates that the Sin Tax will produce about $8 million in tax revenue between today and September 30th.

(Side note: We heard from the local distributors and they do not plan to increase the rates until May 15th, so we still have a couple of more weeks before we see these prices rise. Click here to read more about the price increases.)

We’ve written about the Sin Tax several times and each time, it’s been met with resistance from all of you and rightfully so. In my opinion, and it seems many of you tend to agree with me, it just seems absurd to tax these items as it has the potential to negatively affect tourism. (In addition to the beer, wine and spirits tax, there is also a new $25 a day occupancy tax on all timeshares within the Territory.) Yes, it’s not a huge increase but it’s an increase nonetheless. Now clearly I’m not in government, but this just doesn’t seem to be a good idea.

Enter Property Taxes…

One of my friends sent me a spreadsheet last week that detailed all of the back property taxes that are currently owed in the USVI, and it was astonishing. There is currently more than $103 million dollars owed to the Territory. Now the Governor has directed his staff to collect at least $25 million by September, but why not all of it? If the Government simply kept up on tax collection, perhaps there would have never been a need for a Sin Tax? Just my two cents…

So who exactly is on this list? The one that really stuck out to me was Rock Resorts aka Caneel Bay. They currently owe more than $1.2 million. Wow. And the Marriott over in St. Thomas – well they owe more than $1.4 million. I sent in my tax check a few weeks back, maybe they should too…

Again, I’m not in Government, but this just doesn’t seem to make sense. Let’s collect taxes owed before creating a new tax. Makes sense, right?

Want to see the complete list of who owes what? Click here to view a list of all outstanding property taxes owed in the USVI. 

19 comments for “Sin Tax Goes Into Effect Today; But Could It Have Been Avoided?

  1. Jenny Rapoport
    May 1, 2017 at 9:27 am

    As usual the little guy pays his taxes. Shame on you Caneel Bay!!

  2. Cathy
    May 1, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Sad to see that, Caneel Bay Resort is on that list.
    Going forward with this new information, I now find it even harder to swallow the exorbitant prices that they charge. Laurance Rockefeller would not be happy.

  3. Yahweh
    May 1, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Meanwhile, the Governor stays at an expensive resort when on St. Thomas, legislators have expensive cars on each island and the people get what in return? Potholes in the roads that on rare occasions are cold patched, overflowing dumpsters, drug dealing cops, and a faltering economy. Fortunately, we also live amid great natural beauty in a fine climate among lovely and loving people.

  4. Eliza Smith
    May 1, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Threaten to pull the big corporations’ business licenses if taxes are not paid in a TIMELY manner…

  5. Bruce
    May 1, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Another reason to visit Barbados,The Cayman’s or Turks and Caicos. Later St.John!!!

    • Ann Pennywitt
      May 5, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Amen, and add Dominica and Belize to the list. Eco tourism is full force, at both places. I lied on St Thomas and St John, back in the day, no more. The sin tax is just any easy way for the elected officials and their cronies, to skim more into their pockets.

  6. Gina
    May 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    According to the document attached to the list the delinquent property tax is to be submitted or a payment plan submitted within 30 days of the publication of the list. So it shouldn’t take until Sept 30 to recoup the funds, or the properties will be auctioned. Looks like a lot of property could be auctioned.

    The unfortunate aspect of this is people outside the territories that are unaware they are delinquent.(They won’t see the newspaper notice.) When I bought my resale TS the owners at the time didn’t realize they had missed making a property tax payment 3 years earlier. So if they still owned my TS they would be in jeopardy of losing it. (The section of WSJ that we own pays property tax directly to the USVI, we don’t send it to the TS management co. It is not part of our maintenance fees.) They had paid the more recent tax payments but the one from 3 years earlier was sitting out there collecting late fees.

    But a significant portion of that list is not inadvertent missing of tax payments.

    • James
      May 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Inadvertent missing tax payments ? WTF do you know you own the property ? or did they forget that also? Every time they rent it out that should remind them OH we need to pay our tax ! how are they writing if off on their income tax if it’s not being paid?

    • Ann Pennywitt
      May 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Agree but the chance of Marriott and Caneel Bay not knowing the have delinquent taxes is 0%

  7. Gina
    May 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

    ARDA is filing a lawsuit fighting the “occupancy tax”

    http://stthomassource.com/content/2017/05/02/timeshare-group-suing-over-timeshare-fee-2/

  8. James
    May 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Seems like this governor should be voted out next time around ? Also they should start foreclosure proceedings on all of the property on this list! Do not set up a payment plane for anything older then 6 months, foreclose and sell off the property!

  9. Skip
    May 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Sadly, the government is running a deficit of over $100 million each year. It owes the pension plan billions of dollars. These continuing deficits have been funded with annual borrowing. The banks have said “no more” especially given their experience in Puerto Rico. The only solution is to downsize government spending, meaning employment, by a significant percentage. But no elected official will support the cuts because they won’t get reelected. So we muddle towards bankruptcy.

  10. Jules
    May 5, 2017 at 11:02 am

    We LOVE STJ and visit whenever we can. However, the increase in all rates and taxes to the lack of adequate parking makes me think we need to visit other islands. I have never heard of such a backwards, dysfunctional gov’t. I feel as though they (the govt) is not interested in having our business.

  11. Jo
    May 5, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Shame on Caneel & any other resort/business for not paying their taxes. I’m going to look at that tax listing & make sure I frequent those who DO pay their taxes when we come again this fall.

  12. Phil
    May 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    My wife and I visited St. John multiple time a year (2-3) from 1991 – 2010. We never missed Festival, Wagapalooza or Halloween at Skinnys. On one trip there we found an abandoned kitten on Hawknest and brought it back to the States with us. In 2011 we decided to vacation elsewhere due to the ever-increasing costs associated with staying there, the over building on island (Peter Bay, Gallows point and the proposed marina in Coral Bay) and the excessive government interference with commerce in the entire USVI.
    We now vacation elsewhere but miss the St. John of old (1991 – 1999). Unfortunately it has become a tourist trap and we don’t want to be #1 on a #2 destination.

    • Red Boots
      May 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

      St John has become a slice of the materialistic driven , ugly American aspect of the U.S……You caught the tail end of its authenticity , considering the local, black , west indian culture……..I left in 1991 after having been from there in the 50’s……..

  13. Diane
    May 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Get ready Westin people – more foreclosures!

  14. Doug Hammer
    May 6, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Been coming for years, last visit will be in Sept. cause its already paid for. Plenty other beautiful islands to visit, take your ridiculous sin tax, I’ll take myself elsewhere.

  15. diana
    May 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Plenty of us don’t drink the things taxed. The bacteria levels in water, other pollution n poor quality health care is a bigger problem. The Governor is negligent, outrageously self serving n needs 2 be voted out.

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