debating the jump to the VI
Good afternoon. I have been researching a move to the VI in about six months to a year from now. My questions are these what are taxes like? Living cost seems to be expensive from what i see; Are the taxes? How easily is it to rent an apartment,cottage, or house? Is an automobile needed or could i get by on a bicycle for my needs? what else should i know besides the expensive living,slow pace,bad water and power service,and insect. Any help would be great thank you. Have a happy day.
First, I would recommend reading this forum thoroughly. Your questions have all bean asked and answered numerous times. That being said...
There is no sales tax. It sounds nice, but when you're paying $6 for a gallon of milk it doesn't seem so nice at the time. Second, it's always wasy to rent here if you have the money. The deterents will be if you're a smoker or have pets. Third, (depending on the island I guess) a car is really kind of a must. You could live on the taxi routes, but they're unreliable and don't run at night. And the roads are not bicycle friendly.
Really, you need to save up at least $10,000, come down for a PMV and don't burn your bridges back home if you do decide to move here. Most mainlanders and up moving back within 6 to 9 months. It's not for everybody, but we love it! 🙂
There's no sales tax in the USVI, but the Gross Receipts Tax makes up for that. Businesses have to pay it, and they add it to their prices.
We pay no "state" tax, only federal tax. We use the same IRS forms as the statesiders, but we file and pay them to VIBIR (aka BIR or IRB) instead.
It's expensive to live here. Most goods are shipped in. Food is twice the price. Electricity is three times or more. We've got mold, bugs and the salt air can kill your appliances.
Crime is high. Law enforcement is low. Drugs and alcohol are cheap. It's a great place to be a screw-up.
A PMV (Pre Move Visit) is highly recommended.
About half the people who move to the USVI leave again after 6 months, whether it's because of high prices, lack of work, crime, island time, or family or work obligations.
Having said all that, most of us love it here. The weather and people are great, and island time suits many of us.
Drugs and alcohol are cheap. It's a great place to be a screw-up.
😀 So true! Although I have to add that I was a nut case who came down here with $300, no job, no place to stay, BUT a round trip ticket and am still here 12 years later. I got lucky in a lot of ways, but it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows either.
I read a lot about USVI and also Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, as well. Most say what all of you have said about going first, for many months to live as a resident and not as a tourist. Vastly different living styles as tourists are isolated a lot more. Hawaii is very close to USVI living in routine matters of cost for food and shelter. Shipping raises the prices. Each lives a different manner so it is all possible. Utilities are much more costly depending upon each person, but still basic rates are higher, since fuel costs are part of the resources. The general scenario for crime is pretty similar in our current world, everywhere. USVI and Hawaii are USA territory/state and have English, and Federal taxes . Hawaii has tax exemptions for social security and retired military pay. Many states have that too. Family separations and travel for mainland situations must be considered, as air costs and convenience are a big factor. Ocean air is corrosive-islands are islands. Also electronics suffer quickly. If air conditioning is a must for a comfort, cost will be a big concern all over. Age and medical needs are a factor. Explore all potential costs and resources. Emergency airlift to Puerto Rico w/o specific insurance can be very costly. A good approach is taking each thing in your daily life, and future "what ifs", and list exactly how you will meet that "need" in a given location. If not, you will be gone after 6-12 months, back to the mainland, exposed to the reality of daily life when the glamour of sand and water has become routine. Sometimes people are running "to" or "from" something and that disappears when confronted with hard facts of where you go. Peace, and good success!! Our differences make life a lot of "fun"!!
wapa also kills your appliances. crime is high here ( one year we had the highest murder rate per capita ) . i dont know if per capita our other crime rates are higher or not, maybe it just seems that way because we are so small of a community.
i live here and would like not to, i did play tourist last week and that was so much different and better.
Our per capita crime rate is the highest every year. So yes that means our crimes rates are higher. Think about it this way, I can easily very easily name friends and co workers here that have been robbed and/or burglarized. Where as in most of the cities I lived stateside that was pretty darn rare. Here your odds are much better that something could happen so you really should be prepared as much as one can be that is. 50 to 60 murders per 100,000 is very high.
hiya, i am with you on that. we have had a vehicle broken into about 4-5 times. cell phone stolen a job my husband was working on burglarized at least 3 times. we have one friend whose house was burglarized. another friend who had stuff stolen out of the car. i was mildly assaulted on the street downtown.
i grew up and lived in the states for over 40 years and as a child we were burglarized twice. i lived outside of dc and didnt even lock my doors until 1995 or 1996.
in the states i would go out and about at all hours of the day or night, not here.
I didn't do a PMV and just came down after I was offered the job I interviewed for. I did visit for the interview and it was only for a day. I got a tour of the island and did a lot of research before moving. While typing this the power went out and we are under a hurricane watch. Living here is very difficult but if you're an adaptable person you will do fine. There is no comparison to living in the states everything is more expensive, you have to plan ahead for everything when shopping. a car is very necessary but you can find other means of transportation. I actually started walking to work from the north side to downtown and my girlfriend picks me up after work , this makes for good exercise as gyms are pretty much non existent or expensive. As for crime I haven't experienced any yet but I can say I saw it every day in my old neighborhood in Chicago and don't miss it. Last I heard 8 people were shot on my old block last week and 3 died. As for renting there is plenty around I found a 3 bedroom w/washer and dryer, threw $800 into making it look nice and have a cheap place to rent for $1100 a month. Most places are expensive though and you really need to look around. I rented a furnished place for a month until my stuff arrived. I did end up camping in the new place with plastic tableware, and air bed and a dvd player plus lots of alcohol. I must say I'm glad I shipped a twenty foot container down here with my car because I'll never find what I have now down here including my trusty reliable excellent conditioned used car. All in all I'm happy to be here, miss a lot that I had in Chicago but feel I'm less of a consumer and more relaxed in my lifestyle. I really wish some of these East Indians would open up a restaurant and some Ethiopians would move down here and open up one as well. If that happened I would be set . Alright I'm going to eat and drink and ride out this storm.
Thank you everyone for the info. It helped quite a bit. I like what i have researched so far and these post have help by the crime, taxes(state&federal). I have never been down there but was going to plan a trip for a couple of weeks and try to rent a place on a weekly basis to get a feel for things before that jump. I am think i may have the personality to live there but my ideas maybe different that life there. Thanks again for all the help. I greatly appreciate it.