Business leaders’ Budget wish list

  • Ronnie Viera

    Ronnie Viera

Foreign firms based in Bermuda should be allowed to buy homes for its top executives, Bermuda’s biggest business group said yesterday.

The proposal was part of Chamber of Commerce’s wish list for the Budget, due to be unveiled by Finance Minister Bob Richards on Friday.

Chamber of Commerce president Ronnie Viera said that rules should be established to allow offshore firms — which meet strict criteria — to enter the domestic real estate market.

He added that Permanent Resident Certificate Holders should also be allowed to “purchase any property on the island” and that tax on sales of homes to non-Bermudians should be lowered, with an increase in Stamp Duty for foreign buyers instead.

The Chamber added that — in addition to extending payroll tax exemptions for employers and employees in retail — duty relief should be granted on upgrades to existing stores and for fitting out new shops.

And Mr Viera called for the existing payroll tax exemption for employers in the restaurant trade to be continued — a measure he said had helped “end the erosion in top-line revenues over 2012-2013.”

The Chamber also wants to see existing foreign property owners, who have bought and sold a home, to be allowed to buy a new one without again going through the “cumbersome” permission process.

And Mr Viera said overseas residents who already have an internationally-recognised driving licence should be allowed to drive without taking the Bermuda test.

Mr Viera added: “In general, it is our hope that a clear statement from the finance minister will be made on when Bermuda can expect to see a balanced budget, with plans for addressing this now and in the immediate future.”

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Published Feb 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm (Updated Feb 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm)

Business leaders’ Budget wish list

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