tHE iNDUSTRY AT A GLANCE
The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of three principal islands, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. The territory’s capital is Charlotte Amalie, located on the island of St. Thomas. The U.S. Virgin Islands were once part of the Danish West Indies, a colony of Denmark from 1814 to 1917, sold to the United States for $25M in gold in the 1917 Treaty of the Danish West Indies. The islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States, organized under the Revised Organic Act of 1954, a United States federal law that functions as its Constitution.
the government of the u.s. virgin islands
The United States Virgin Islands’ Government consists of three co-equal branches of government, the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. The Virgin Islands’ executive power is held by the Governor along with the Lieutenant Governor, are elected by registered Virgin Islands residents to four-year terms and two consecutive terms are permissable. The legislature of the United States Virgin Islands is comprised of a total of 15 senators: 7 from St. Croix, 7 from St. Thomas, and 1 Senator-at-Large who is based on the island of St. John; elections for senators take place every two years. The U.S. Virgin Islands is represented in the United States House of Representatives by a non-voting member who serves a two-year term is elected by the territory’s people. The Virgin Islands’ judicial power rests in the District Court of the Virgin Islands, Supreme Court, and Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
The District Court of the Virgin Islands serves as United States Federal district court in all cases arising under the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States. Appeals from the District Court decisions of the Virgin Islands are escalated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands is an appellate court for appeals from the Superior Court’s decisions. The U.S. Tax Court does not have jurisdiction over income tax laws in the Virgin Islands.
The United States Internal Revenue Code is utilized as a “mirror system” in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue oversees the internal revenue laws of the U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. Virgin Islands tax includes income, container, gross receipts, excise, highway user’s, hotel rooms, real property, entertainment, franchise, fuel, gift, inheritance, personal use, tire, and stamp taxes.
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Businesses, individuals, and government organizations need to deal with issues and opportunities that are heavily impacted by government legislation and regulation. This area of law isn’t always the easiest to comprehend, but it’s important that anyone who has to engage with it has a basic understanding, even when working with an expert law firm such as Mcchain, Hamm, and St. Jean, LLP. The ability to do so will only aid your success, public perception, and market growth. When you have an issue that needs to go before the local or federal governmental bodies, you need to have sophisticated public policy advocates lobby for it. This is because the legislative process has changed significantly in recent years. A series of congressional reforms has divided power between several different subcommittee chairpersons and opened up the legislative process. Legislatures have also seen an influx of complex issues recently, creating an inflation of specialized staff members and an increased need for information that typically comes from experts outside of Legislature/Congress.
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McChain, Hamm, & St. Jean, LLP has cultivated trusted and longstanding relationships with key Governmental agencies and the extensive knowledge of the working environment. Experienced, professional legal advocates are essential in navigating this variety of experts and committees with which you need to communicate when you bring an issue before the government. They’re also critical in convincing regulatory government officials that there are objective and substantial arguments in favor of, or opposition to, the actions your agency is seeking.
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