The Commonwealth Development Authority has approved to provide $640,000 in tax benefits across 10 years to SeaTouch, LLC under the government’s qualifying certificate program.
CDA’s recommendation now awaits Gov. Eloy S. Inos’ approval. He has 45 days to decide on the matter.
SeaTouch will invest some $1.125 million for its business, which aims to provide interactive marine activities, marine animal encounters, and associated activities.
This will require building a floating dock behind the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan that will extend about 140 feet from the shoreline. It will also set up a sales office for marine and aqua tours and related activities on the ground floor of the hotel’s north wing.
CDA has recommended giving SeaTouch a 20-percent rebate on the business gross revenue tax for years one to 10.
Also, SeaTouch will be given a 30 percent rebate on BGRT multiplied by the ratio of total resident employees, plus an additional 30 percent rebate on BGRT for the total resident managerial employees it will hire for the business.
Besides these tax benefits, the company is also recommended to be given a 20 percent rebate on BGRT on local purchases of goods and services used in the operations of the business during the years one to 10.
According to CDA, Year 1 begins on the day of full business operations.
“The BGRT rebate shall be capped at $640,000. If at any time during the 10-year BGRT rebate period, the rebate benefit exceeds $640,000, the rebate benefit will immediately and automatically cease,” states the CDA’s recommendation.
The company will be required to meet several conditions, such as compliance with both CNMI and federal tax laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To encourage high school and college students to pursue education and training in marine biology, marine recreation, the tourism industry, or other related fields, SeaTouch has agreed to design and implement a scholarship program for CNMI residents. Plans for this program shall be submitted to CDA for approval within three months after the effective date of the QC.
If the governor approves the QC, SeaTouch will become the fifth company that presently benefits from the program. The others are the Sand Castle Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Bridge Capital LLC, and Saipan Laulau Development, Inc.