September 20, 2002

British V.I. weighs income tax change

ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands (AP) --The government is considering
eliminating personal income tax as part of an initiative to clean up offshore tax havens in
this British Caribbean territory, officials said.

The government should comply with a new European Union code calling for the
elimination of collecting income tax from local companies while exempting
foreign firms, said Robert Mathavious, managing director of the Financial
Services Commission, on Wednesday.

To stop the practice, officials were considering a proposal "to move to a zero
rate of income taxation by 2005," he said

It was unclear when officials would make a decision.

British Virgin Island residents pay between 3 and 20 percent annual income tax,
depending on their yearly earnings. Foreign corporations pay 15 percent of
their net profits.

Combined, the taxes are expected to generate $37.8 million in revenue this
year, according to the 2002 budget.

Chief Minister Ralph O'Neal on Monday said officials are exploring ways to
replace the lost revenue if the income tax is repealed.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.