February 19, 2008 - #87
Taxes As Of January 1, 2008
Based on specific French laws n°2007-223 and n°2007-24, which date from February 21, 2007, defining the political status change of Saint Barth into an Overseas Collectivity (COM) the island’s territorial council voted on November 13, 2007 to create the list and amount of local taxes that went into effect on January 1, 2008. The first increase is that of import duties on all merchandise from 4% to 5%. In addition, the population of Saint Barth is now subject to two new taxes: an annual business tax and a registration tax for all vehicles. Both are due by March 31, 2008.
The annual business tax is payable by all businesses, no matter what kind of business it is or what it does, as long as it is a professional activity: industrial, sales, artisans, agricultural, artistic, sports, or service provider, etc. The level of this tax is fixed at 300 euros per company plus 100 euros per employee with a ceiling of 5,000 euros. All companies must fill out a form that can be picked up at the Collectivity offices in Gustavia or found online at the Collectivity’s website at www.comstbarth.fr. A list of all personnel as of January 1 must be attached to the form. Payment can be made at the new treasury office, located in the new building on the site of the old fire station on Rue du Roi Oscar II in Gustavia.
The registration sticker for vehicles can be purchased at the Collectivity offices, the treasury building, the territorial police station, or from a special agent at the post office. The cost of the sticker ranges from 30 euros for a small motorcycle to 3,000 euros for a vehicle over 14 tons. For example, the owner of a car with a fiscal rating of seven to ten horsepower (based on a French taxation system) would pay 150 euros, and those with cars between 11 and 15 fiscal HP would pay 300 euros. At the February 12 meeting of the territorial council, a new bracket of 500 euros was created for vehicles between 16 and 25 fiscal HP, with the level of 2,000 euros now for vehicles over 25 fiscal HP. The different levels are listed on the Collectivity website, along with other official forms such as the request for an international driver’s license. The registration card for all vehicles is still obtained at the sous-prefecture, but it is now issued by the Collectivity, rather than the prefecture.
All visitors to the island must now pay at 5% guest tax based on the nightly rate for their hotel, villa, or apartment. This tax is collected directly by the management of the rentals.
Finally, the territorial council is applying a capital gains tax which went from 16% to 25% and which decrease after a property has been owned for 10 years.
Christophe Beaupère director of the president’s office
Christophe Beaupère, 32 years old, single, a native of Nantes (France), and a member of the UMP political party, was named the director of president Bruno Magras’ office on October 29, 2007. He came from Paris where he had been a consultant, and held a post at the National Assembly as an aide to the UMP deputies, after working at the general council of Osie, and serving as bureau chief for Catherine Mégret at the city hall in Vitrolles from May 2001-July 2002. In Saint Barth, he helps the president on a wide variety of tasks, from new responsibilities for the COM to communication with the media. His contract runs for the five-year term of the president. The UMP party on the island will become an official UMP federation now that Saint Barth is a COM, and those members whose dues have been paid for 2008 will elect their representatives in elections scheduled for March 29, 2008.
Creation Of A Social Security Office
Henri Yacou, director of the French Social Security services for Guadeloupe, was in Saint Barth on January 21, 2008, to sign an agreement with the COM to create a social security office on the island. This will be the first decentralized office but is something that Yacou hopes duplicate in the future on such islands as Marie-Galante and Désirade. This should be welcome news to those who felt that the irregular presence of social security officials on the island slowed down the treatment of dossiers. Following a petition to that effect, the problem was somewhat improved in 2003 with the presence of someone to deal with health insurance issues a few weeks per month. This service will now be explained with the addition of two young employees after a three-month training period. They will work in the Saint Barth office under the direction of Madame Navy, the social security manager who has been coming to the island on a regular basis. The COM will provide the office space with computers. Those freelance workers subject to a different regime are still waiting for an agreement that would improve their situation as well.
As of early January, the members of a group called The Point In Movement paraded through the streets of Gustavia on Sunday afternoons, with a different theme to their costumes each week, in preparation for a big carnival parade on Mardi Gras. The island’s school children has their own parade in the early afternoon on February 1, while the following Monday saw the traditional parade in pajamas at sunset in Gustavia. Then came Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, when solo marchers, groups of friends, or groups such as Les Cassiopées or Rhum et Gingembre paraded through town for hours in the late afternoon. These large groups had spent months working on their costumes, choreography and float design. Then on Wednesday, February 6, the final parade saw the marchers dressed in black and white as they carried a straw effigy of Vaval, the Carnival King, to be burned in a giant bonfire on Shell Beach.
More to come