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IslandHops
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August 31, 2016 3:12 pm  

As an adjunct to a separate thread, the hoops required to jump through to obtain a business license have increased, along with the associated unnecessary fees.

Previously if you had a home based business that had no signage and no onsite customers, you did not require a fire inspection. Now you have to go to the fire services and get a form that has to be filled out and notarized, and you have to pay the $150 inspection fee - even though no inspection is required, nor performed.

If there is anything further the VI Government can come up with to dissuade folks from starting or running a business, or just to screw more fees out of us, then I'm sure Mapp's people will figure something out.

VI's Business Friendly climate strikes once again.


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STTsailor
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August 31, 2016 4:00 pm  

Pathetic.
In a meantime most small businesses on the island fiction strictly in cash economy. I am sure my plumber, electrician, handyman and mason don't declare any cash payment they receive.

It is always the business that is run clean absorbs all the hurdle.


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caribstx
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August 31, 2016 4:08 pm  

Not to be harsh, but I think home-based businesses SHOULD pay every fee that a conventional business has to pay. Why should your business have an advantage over mine just because you choose to work out of your home? How do we know that you don't have clients dropping by? Just because you say so?


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OldTart
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August 31, 2016 4:36 pm  

But what's the logic behind having to pay $150 for a fire inspection when none is required for the business and no inspection is done? And yes, I understand that it's not possible to apply logic to many things here but ...


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IslandHops
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August 31, 2016 5:44 pm  

Not to be harsh, but I think home-based businesses SHOULD pay every fee that a conventional business has to pay. Why should your business have an advantage over mine just because you choose to work out of your home? How do we know that you don't have clients dropping by? Just because you say so?

As a home based business you are required to attest to certain conditions. Sure there is a possibility that there are those that may chose to lie on the forms and in the required interview, but I like to think most people would be truthful regarding signage and customers.

As a home based business, which are already restricted to certain types of licenses, do not entertain customers on site, there is no liability. Hence no fire inspection for the safety of the aforementioned customers. If you do not have on-site customers, and do not manufacture or distribute materials, a fire inspection is totally redundant. This is why the home business affidavit attests to these conditions.

There are a lot of businesses that really only exist in the cloud and can be done on a laptop from anywhere. The VI should be encouraging these types of businesses, especially given that have no environmental impact yet provide a source of tax revenue.
Instead these businesses are faced with an anti-business environment. It is no wonder that many of them decide to forgo the onerous, fee laden, and rectally exploratory process of dealing with the VI government.


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OldTart
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August 31, 2016 6:05 pm  

It is no wonder that many of them decide to forgo the onerous, fee laden, and rectally exploratory process of dealing with the VI government.

I totally plan to be legal with my new home-based business once it gets up and going - and so far have had some very helpful and encouraging input from a DLCA employee. But I'll definitely baulk when the fire inspection fee comes up as it makes no sense at all. If they want to come out to inspect (although there's absolutely no reason to) that's one thing but if it's really just a case of paying for a meaningless and totally irrelevant piece of paper ...


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speee1dy
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August 31, 2016 6:57 pm  

wonder if it is the same for an internet based business


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IslandHops
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September 1, 2016 11:31 am  

wonder if it is the same for an internet based business

Yes - it applies to any business that is licensed in the VI.

There are a lot of business that only exist in the cloud. There are valid questions surrounding how we, as a society, determine where a business really exists. If one operates a web based services business on cloud servers, without physical presence, and with clients globally, where does it truly reside? And in the new global economy how does one proceed to select the appropriate location of the legal operating entity, or which licensing authorities apply? What if there are multiple partners in different locations and how would that affect the business entities legal home? - All good questions.

As principal of such an endeavor, I'm sure I could find a way to establish my pivoted startup in some foreign jurisdiction and pay little taxes in the VI. But my personal ethics dictate that I should contribute my share to the local tax base, given that the VI is my chosen residence, even if it is misspent by those in public office. Now this happens to include the additional paperwork and fee for a fire inspection that is not required nor performed.

Of course if I was a bigger tech entity, perhaps with some VC money, then I'd just apply to the UVI research & technology park program for benefits and pay little if any taxes. But that's another topic entirely.


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Gator's Mom
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September 1, 2016 11:45 am  

So tell me, what is the consequence of not having a business license? In particular, what if the government finds you without?

Is it a fine? Are you arrested? Do you go to jail?


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Alana33
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September 1, 2016 12:25 pm  

I'd imagine, at minimum, a fine.
With a internet business, one might be subject to federal laws for collecting money such mail or wire fraud.


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speee1dy
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September 1, 2016 2:27 pm  

i had hoped in the future to start an internet based business. but not sure why i would need to pay for an inspection as not people would ever shop from my house


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OldTart
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September 1, 2016 4:14 pm  

With a internet business, one might be subject to federal laws for collecting money such mail or wire fraud.

I HIGHLY doubt that. Only the IRS/IRB would be interested.


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Gator's Mom
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September 1, 2016 5:00 pm  

So tell me, what is the consequence of not having a business license? In particular, what if the government finds you without?

Is it a fine? Are you arrested? Do you go to jail?

http://viconsortium.com/featured/dlca-cracking-down-hard-on-businesses-operating-without-license/

Answering my own question.

Fines and other punitive measures - last sentence in article. My imagination runs wild.


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Alana33
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September 1, 2016 5:15 pm  

With a internet business, one might be subject to federal laws for collecting money such mail or wire fraud.

I HIGHLY doubt that. Only the IRS/IRB would be interested.

And you don't think they would be, given the financial state of the islands, federal laws, aside?


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OldTart
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September 1, 2016 5:46 pm  

And you don't think they would be, given the financial state of the islands, federal laws, aside?

Mail fraud, wire fraud? There's no federal fraud involved in transacting simple business over the internet unless you're money laundering. But I'll be sure to ask DLCA when I apply for my business license.


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watruw8ing4
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September 1, 2016 6:00 pm  

i had hoped in the future to start an internet based business. but not sure why i would need to pay for an inspection as not people would ever shop from my house

I'm about to start the process to get my VI business license, since I've finally had to cut the rest of my PA ties. But this gives me pause.

I run income producing web sites, and buy and sell sites at auction. I do this using the same laptop I use to pay my personal bills and watch cute puppy videos, all on basic Broadband VI. No extra assets or equipment. Heck, I don't even have an office, and never even use the one desk in the house. In 7 years I've never had a buyer or seller come to my house, and I never will. There's no question of endangering clients or employees, so there's no logical reason for me to have a fire inspection. May as well make me get certified for food handling while they're at it. It's just another money grab, IMO.

I don't make tons of money because I do this for fun and rum money only. If the red tape and unnecessary fees get too obnoxious, it may be worth it to just give it up and watch the VI kiss my tax payments from the income good-bye. Rum is cheap, so I'd get by.


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Alana33
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September 1, 2016 6:04 pm  

And you don't think they would be, given the financial state of the islands, federal laws, aside?

Mail fraud, wire fraud? There's no federal fraud involved in transacting simple business over the internet unless you're money laundering. But I'll be sure to ask DLCA when I apply for my business license.

Please do.
Isn't it a requirement to have a business license prior to conducting business?


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speee1dy
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September 1, 2016 6:16 pm  

(tu)

i had hoped in the future to start an internet based business. but not sure why i would need to pay for an inspection as not people would ever shop from my house

I'm about to start the process to get my VI business license, since I've finally had to cut the rest of my PA ties. But this gives me pause.

I run income producing web sites, and buy and sell sites at auction. I do this using the same laptop I use to pay my personal bills and watch cute puppy videos, all on basic Broadband VI. No extra assets or equipment. Heck, I don't even have an office, and never even use the one desk in the house. In 7 years I've never had a buyer or seller come to my house, and I never will. There's no question of endangering clients or employees, so there's no logical reason for me to have a fire inspection. May as well make me get certified for food handling while they're at it. It's just another money grab, IMO.

I don't make tons of money because I do this for fun and rum money only. If the red tape and unnecessary fees get too obnoxious, it may be worth it to just give it up and watch the VI kiss my tax payments from the income good-bye. Rum is cheap, so I'd get by.


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OldTart
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September 1, 2016 6:36 pm  

And you don't think they would be, given the financial state of the islands, federal laws, aside?

Mail fraud, wire fraud? There's no federal fraud involved in transacting simple business over the internet unless you're money laundering. But I'll be sure to ask DLCA when I apply for my business license.

Please do.
Isn't it a requirement to have a business license prior to conducting business?

Yes, and your point?


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IslandHops
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September 1, 2016 7:13 pm  

...
... so there's no logical reason for me to have a fire inspection. ...

That's exactly the point. They don't perform any fire inspection for home based businesses.You file a notorized affidavit instead. But, they still charge the $150 inspection fee, along with the annual renewal fees. You pay them for the privilege of not getting an inspection.


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watruw8ing4
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September 1, 2016 11:48 pm  

...
... so there's no logical reason for me to have a fire inspection. ...

That's exactly the point. They don't perform any fire inspection for home based businesses.You file a notorized affidavit instead. But, they still charge the $150 inspection fee, along with the annual renewal fees. You pay them for the privilege of not getting an inspection.

LOL! Yep, I see that now. I should have gone further: " there's no logical reason to be charged for unnecessary services which aren't performed anyway". An even greedier money grab. A $15 "waiver of fire inspection for home businesses form handling fee" would be more reasonable, or would at least make for a more valid excuse.


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Scubadoo
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September 2, 2016 12:50 am  

wonder if it is the same for an internet based business

Yes - it applies to any business that is licensed in the VI.

There are a lot of business that only exist in the cloud. There are valid questions surrounding how we, as a society, determine where a business really exists. If one operates a web based services business on cloud servers, without physical presence, and with clients globally, where does it truly reside? And in the new global economy how does one proceed to select the appropriate location of the legal operating entity, or which licensing authorities apply? What if there are multiple partners in different locations and how would that affect the business entities legal home? - All good questions.

As principal of such an endeavor, I'm sure I could find a way to establish my pivoted startup in some foreign jurisdiction and pay little taxes in the VI. But my personal ethics dictate that I should contribute my share to the local tax base, given that the VI is my chosen residence, even if it is misspent by those in public office. Now this happens to include the additional paperwork and fee for a fire inspection that is not required nor performed.

Of course if I was a bigger tech entity, perhaps with some VC money, then I'd just apply to the UVI research & technology park program for benefits and pay little if any taxes. But that's another topic entirely.

Our legislators need to start revising these laws for the 21st century. Let's say I write books. I get up in the morning and take my phone and laptop out to the beach, any beach. I write my book. I send it to Amazon using my phone's WIFI hotspot. Amazon sells some books for me, at some point they send a deposit to my bank account in the cloud. Let's say it's one of the cloud banks that doesn't have any brick and motor presence anywhere either. No customers to visit, no clients to interface with, not even over the phone.

Business license? OK but even that's pushing it. I'll register my business name and get my license. No building/office/studio required let alone fire inspection. Let them come inspect the beach. Oh there is probably a law that says I can't conduct business on the beach without a permit or license. Better stop writing that book in my head. Or I'll sit above the high tide line at the edge of the yard. Or maybe at a friend's house tomorrow. Or relative's house the next day. Work a few hours. Visit a few hours. Heck, maybe I even go to Starbucks and write for a while. As long as I drink a coffee now and then I don't suppose they will care.

Sit on the beach with a beer and compose the next book in my head before going back to the laptop on the patio to type it up. Am I conducting business on the beach? I guess so if my business is to write books and I'm thinking of my book on the beach. Maybe there is a zoning ordinance making it illegal to operate a business on the back patio. Am I operating a business when I'm writing my book on the patio?

Maybe I'm only a part time resident in the VI. I'm still required to have a business license to operate a business in the VI, i.e. write a book. In order to get my "business" license I'm required to have a permanent resident sign-off as the responsible contact. In the event I run off to another island and someone wants to sue me for writing bad books they can come after the permanent resident. The 9-5, 5 days a week in a brick and mortar office world is not all there is anymore. Sooner or later lawmakers and agencies are going to have to adapt to reality with the cloud model. Fortunately for me I don't write books.


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sunshinefun
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September 2, 2016 11:49 am  

Among other things, I operate a couple of AirBNB's here that make a good amount of income. I don't have a business license, don't pay tax on the earnings (but don't claim the expenses either) and haven't had a fire inspection. AirBNB transfers the funds directly to my bank account in the states. I know a few AirBNB operator's the do pay tax and such, but, they're the exception. The vast majority that I know don't.


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Gator's Mom
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September 2, 2016 12:51 pm  

Among other things, I operate a couple of AirBNB's here that make a good amount of income. I don't have a business license, don't pay tax on the earnings (but don't claim the expenses either) and haven't had a fire inspection. AirBNB transfers the funds directly to my bank account in the states. I know a few AirBNB operator's the do pay tax and such, but, they're the exception. The vast majority that I know don't.

That's ballsy - you publicly market and don't think anyone from local hotels will check and complain? Are you getting a 990?

Wow I thought if in any area, VI would be tight on the reins in the hospitality business.

Does your property insurer know you're in the short term rental business?


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Alana33
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September 2, 2016 1:17 pm  

I wouldn't brag about being such a cheat.
Sorry but that's just not right.


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