Digital nomads urged to take advantage of NMI’s rebate system
If Burger, Comer, Mallari LLC managing partner Dave Burger had his way, he would like the CNMI to try and attract more digital nomads to come to the islands.
According to the internet, a digital nomad is a person who earns a living working online in various locations of their choosing. This is in contrast to working on a fixed business location.
Burger, who was the guest speaker during the Saipan Chamber of Commerce’s Sippin’ and Taxes, Tax Trivia Night mixer last week, said the CNMI can be an attractive destination for these so-called digital nomads.
“We’ve always had what we have here—great weather, low crime, and friendly people. We’ve always had that and a good tax system with credits as the U.S. tax system has great benefits which is the U.S. rebate,” he said.
Another advantage the CNMI has compared to other locations is the low-maintenance lifestyle it affords.
“If your job is on the laptop, why not be here and enjoy the tax rebate. There’s also not many places to go and spend your money here. So you don’t have to be shopping in Rodeo Drive or going to the mall every weekend. You just live a nice quiet life with friends and family,” he added.
Burger also wants the CNMI law on retirement taxes changed.
“We need the law changed so the retirees can get their retirement income and have it sourced here. It’s not CNMI sourced now. It’s outside. I want it to be inside.”
He said he sought the help of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (D-MP) a couple of times but it needs more lobbying in the U.S. Congress.
“I did pursue it. I mean, I wrote a letter to Kilili a few years ago. He turned it over to his chief of staff and they got back to me and they said they loved the idea but it really does take somebody to walk it through the U.S. Congress.”
Burger also said he liked the idea behind the Sippin’ and Taxes, Tax Trivia Night mixer.
“I think it was a good event. Do some networking. Meet some people you might come across every day you know, just keep it lighthearted and enjoy maybe even a little bit about taxes.”
Chamber president Joe C. Guerrero thanked all who attended the Sippin’ and Taxes, Tax Trivia Night mixer and promised it would definitely not be the last.
“So it’s the first of our quarterly mixers for 2023 and we plan to do one every quarter. The first one is here and I offered Naked Fish as the sponsor. It’s a paid event, but it’s a chance for Chamber members to come together in a casual environment, meet new people and network with other businesses and also be informed.”
He said the Chamber decided on a tax theme for the first quarter because April is tax season.
“I’m so glad that Dave from BCM volunteered to help me with some questions for our little tax trivia game to make it fun. He also spent a few minutes talking about some tax updates, nothing too boring, but you know, just informative but a chance again for people to mingle and meet with each other outside of the office,” he said.
Guerrero added that the quarterly mixers have been on the pipeline since 2021.
“We have planned this, but we kept delaying it. And then last year, it just didn’t work out. We were just too busy trying to restart the Chamber. And since COVID-19 is becoming behind us a little bit, we want to engage our members and the community as well. So, expect a lot more of these kinds of events this year,” he said.
One of the attendees was Manhita Marianas director Eva Aguon Cruz and she had a blast.
“I don’t have a strong background when it comes to taxes but my teammate made it fun! Financial literacy is a must for aspiring entrepreneurs and even those in the nonprofit sectors, and taxes are an important part of that,” she said.
Joeten Motors Co.’s Ernie Henzon said the mixer was a great way to relax and at the same time learn a thing or two about the local tax system.
“It gave us additional knowledge and the trivia game made us review what we learned before,” said Henzon, whose team actually won the trivia game.
BMC’s Elijah Raphael Cabauatan also said he had a great time taking part in the mixer.
“It was my first time to join a tax-related event and we all had fun,” he said.
Pacifica Insurance Underwriters, Inc. operations manager Shigeki Paul Tenorio said the mixer was an eye-opener.
“I am not familiar with the CNMI tax system but I was curious if there’s any way to attract financial companies to our islands. So it was interesting to know that Mr. Burger is intending to attract [digital] nomads to our islands by changing the laws.”