License, Taxes, Hea...
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License, Taxes, Healthcare, Car Inspection,

Active Member

I've been living in STJ for just under 3 months now and it seems its about time to get a V.I. License. This has raised a number of questions in my mind about declaring residency, taxes, and healthcare.

I work for a dot com company based in Cambridge, MA and telecommute. At the moment I am taxed and have deductions taken out of my check as a MA resident. I'm not familiar with how income taxes work in the USVI, especially with an off island employer, but it seems to me it would probably be cheaper to declare myself a resident here and pay taxes here. Anyone know how that works and how I would go about doing that in a way I can document?

I also receive healthcare through my job - Blue Cross BlueShield HMO Blue New England - USVI is covered, but I assume there will be some complications that come along with this if I'm no longer declared as a MA resident. Up until now I figured I would just keep myself on paper as a MA resident, but it seems to me I am going to need to get a V.I. License.

What do you guys think?

And on a completely separate note, my car inspection is coming up...i'm fixing all the lights, mirrors, seatbelts on it, but the exhaust system isn't in such good shape - the catalytic converter is dead and the guy who owned it before me just cut off the bottom of it. Will the pass me even though my jeep sounds like a boat? Its something I should fix anyways, it just would be good to know if I need to do it now.

Thanks! I really appreciate how helpful everyone has been on the board


Topic starter Posted : February 22, 2009 2:02 pm
Advanced Member

I suggest you get MASA or SkyMed to get an added security for $120 a year. That will get you off the island to PR. If you want to really feal warm and fuzzy, get the upgrade for $240 a year and they will take you to a hospital of your choice in the states, time permitting and the severity of the situation.

MASA also gets you discounts when you show your card. 5% off groceries at Plaza Extra is a big one.

Posted : February 22, 2009 2:20 pm
Trusted Member

I would recommend discussing your tax situation with a qualified professional. I have heard many and varied opinions on this issue (some legal, some not so much!). Jim Sheets (773-7510) is a CPA with offices in downtown Christiansted that knows our tax codes like the back of his hand - I definately recommend him for people in STX and he may be able to give the name of someone in STJ or STT.

The benefits administrator for your company should be able to tell you if declaring your residency here will cause any changes in your status with the health care provider.

In STX, if the car would pass can really depend on the mood of the inspector that day! They are getting more strict in following the rules but I was just there last week and saw one car pass that was held together with duck tape (literally - that's how the bumper was held on) - but the headlights, turn signals and horn worked!

Good luck!

Posted : February 22, 2009 2:42 pm
East Ender

I agree that you should speak with a tax person. Kathy Gibson, CPA comes to mind-776-0640 in Charlotte Amalie. One question: Is there a state income tax in Mass? Because you'd save that amount for sure.

Re: health insurance...I believe it is fraud if you use a bogus address. Have you found providers who accept your policy? I have friends who had difficulty with stateside policies.

Posted : February 22, 2009 3:36 pm
sloop jones
Advanced Member

if you live here, you should pay taxes here. you use the services our gvt. provides, you drive on our roads etc.. why should you pay taxes to MA.?

Fix your cat converter. it is not a question of are driving around on our island farting .

sloop jones.

Posted : February 23, 2009 12:27 am
Active Member

Thanks for the tips everyone! I really appreciate everyone's helpful suggestions.

My car passed inspection (woo!) but I'm still looking to get the exhaust fixed - anybody know of someone who does good exhaust work on STJ? Is my best bet on St. Thomas?

According to an accountant buddy of mine, its a huge pain in the ass to prove to massachusetts a change in residency/domicile for tax purposes and just generally isn't worth it unless I can definitively say I won't live back there in the next 5 years, and I don't plan that far in advance...

Still gotta figure out the deal with healthcare, but according to BlueCross's physician finder tool there are some doctors in network down here. Emergency coverage may be a different story, but I think I will end up getting one of the MASA/Skymed plans as well.

I've had a police officer tell me I need to get a VI license in 90 days, but a employee at the DMV tell me I don't need to get one until my stateside license expires. So I think I'll stick with my current one for the time being.

Topic starter Posted : February 26, 2009 8:19 pm
Exit Zero
Trusted Member Registered

It is far easier to get a VI drivers license BEFORE your Mass. one expires. The police officer was correct about the 90 days and on a small island you are likely to meet him/her again and having to explain why you have ignored the warning may not go as well if your reason is "the DMV employee told me".
Cash Muffler on STT does excellent work.
Proving residency is not at all difficult if you have a mailing address, utility bills, rent receipts, drivers license, voters registration, and pay stubs with withholding paid to the IRB. 183 days is the standard domicile.

Posted : February 26, 2009 8:36 pm
Trusted Member

The police officer is correct and they love to give tickets for it.

According to my CPA buddy here you're taking a big risk paying taxes stateside if you live here. They will fine you heavily if they find out. But to each their own. When you pay here you will give them a copy of your return and they will stamp it. That will help if you have to prove you case but generally the IRS gets it when you say you live here, sometimes they want proof, usually they have it. But I have no idea what Mass will get.

Posted : February 26, 2009 8:40 pm
East Ender

Matt: I would call some of those doctors and check. It is a good idea to establish a relationship with a physician before you absolutely need it. When you check with MASA read the small print. Some of their policies send you to the nearest facility where the service is rendered, and that is usually Puerto Rico. And I am sorry, I would rather take my chances anywhere but Puerto Rico.(td)

Is your CPA buddy from Massachusetts? I would check with one who knows the VI code. I'm pretty sure the VI wants whatever is theirs or can be construed to be theirs!

Posted : February 26, 2009 9:32 pm
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