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Monday, April 21, 2014

Lawmaker wants to end QC after July 1, 2014

If Rep. Antonio R. Agulto (Ind-Saipan) would have his way, he wants to put a stop to the Qualifying Certificate program, a form of tax relief for certain investors, after July 1, 2014.

Agulto said the program “has not accomplished its purpose of attracting significant new investments in the Commonwealth; therefore the qualifying certificates should be discontinued.”

Along with at least eight other lawmakers, Agulto introduced House Bill 18-148, providing a sunset provision for the issuance of qualifying certificates under the Investment Incentive Act.

“No qualifying certificates shall be issued after July 1, 2014,” reads the bill’s proposed sunset provision.

Agulto said since its enactment in 2000, the Investment Incentive Act has had only four active beneficiaries.

The Qualifying Certificate program aims to attract investors by offering tax relief for up to 25 years.

Commonwealth Development Authority executive director Manuel Sablan earlier expressed opposition to the idea of eliminating the program for alleged failure to meet its mission and objectives.

The program’s abolition keeps surfacing due to a belief that it provides too generous incentives, leaving the CNMI with little benefit. Sablan said CDA is open to possible amendments to the law that created the QC program but not its complete abolition.

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