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Thread: Important change in residency and visitation policies - US Passport holders ONLY

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonairehomes View Post
    Sevet

    As a visitor to Bonaire you are now able to stay up to 6 months out of any 12 month period. If you want to stay MORE than six months a year you will need to apply for residency. This will not change, and is the standard procedure in most countries throughout the world.

    If you only stay six months a year, or less, you are considered a visitor/tourist who doesn't use the local infrastructure much and so you are usually not subject to local income taxes, etc.

    If you stay six months and one day, or more, most countries consider you a "resident" and then you need to request resident status. Once you are granted resident status, the local government assumes you ARE using the local infrastructure and services, and as a result you are subject to local income taxes and so on.

    In the case of Bonaire some of the benefits from being a resident are significant, such free health care, and lower property taxes, the downside is that you now have to pay local income taxes.

    There's no "free lunch".
    This is true, but income from Pensions and Rents are excluded from taxation. As we are retired and live on our pension and investment income we have no "wages" to declare when we file our local Tax return and owe no tax here on the island.

  2. #12
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    Thank you both!

  3. #13
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    1st question, yes, one 5 year visa, no more annual renewals. Finally. Second question, nothing official but I doubt it. 6 months is kind of a standard international limit on staying non-resident for tax purposes. It's just one factor but a good indication of intent. Stay over 6 months and it looks like your permanent home. So being able to stay up to 6 months in a year is way better than 3, and makes having a vacation home here much more doable, but staying over 6 months looks like tax residency. Which may or may not be a bad thing from an income tax standpoint, depending on the type and amount and source of income you have. Being tax resident also means your home here is taxed at 0.345% of value (grondbelasting) vs. non-resident rate 1.15% (vastgoedbelasting.)

  4. #14
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    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Z View Post
    Being tax resident also means your home here is taxed at 0.345% of value (grondbelasting) vs. non-resident rate 1.15% (vastgoedbelasting.)
    Thanks for the great info, Bruce. We bought our home in 2010 as non-residents and we became residents in mid-2014. Will the adjustment in tax rates happen automatically? Or will we need to go to the Belastingdienst and file some kind of form for the adjustment?
    KOB
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  5. #15
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    It's better to go to BCN and bring your sedula and tell them you are now full time residents. I don't know what other information they require but be sure when you get your bill that it says GB and not VGB. If VGB you'll need to go in a prove this is your permanent place of abode.

  6. #16
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    Thanks, Bruce ... I am sure the form from the registrar showing legal place of residence on Bonaire will help. After all, that's what's used when you renew your sedula. Stay tuned !!
    KOB
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  7. #17
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    Correction to Bruce's Property tax rates:

    - The tax rate on your home if you are a resident is 0.345%. This is called "Grondbelasting" or GB for short. This tax is billed by the Island Government (Openbaar Licham of Bonaire), and they are two or three years behind with their billing.
    Your proof of residency consists of your sedula, plus your proof of registration that you get from the Bevolking showing the property as your registered address.
    - The tax rate on your home as of 2015 if you are a NOT resident is 0.84%. This is called "Vastgoedbelasting" or VGB for short. This tax is billed by the RCN (local branch of Dutch Government) and they have billed this tax for 2014. They have just started sending the 2015 bills.

    The amount of your taxes is calculated by taking the "tax value" of your house less a standard deduction of $70,000 and multiplying that amount by the tax rate for either the GB or VGB, whichever applies.
    Bob Bartikoski
    Owner RE/MAX Paradise Homes
    +599-786-7362
    Website: www.bonairehomes.com
    EMail: bob@bonairehomes.com

  8. #18
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    Thanks, Bob
    KOB
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    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

  9. #19
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    Hello, I have a question. I already have my residency papers approved for this year and have been in the process for 5 years now so this is my last year, but havent been back to have my picture taken for my sedula. Will I be able to get my permanent residency when I get my picture taken?
    Also curious if I can get my full residency now, will I have to have my good conduct letter from the police on bonaire? I am confused on the process now.

    Thanks for any help on that matter.

  10. #20
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    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    Hi Dee ... I'm no expert, but you will probably not get your permanent residency when you get your photo taken for your sedula. The photo is taken & your sedula is made at the Civil Office (red building around the corner from Kooymans). The paperwork authorizing your residency is done at IND, so I would go to IND and ask them about the new process.

    We were offered the new permanent residency when we were in the middle of renewing in early April. We were told that the paperwork we had (good conduct letter, residency documentation, etc.) for the 1-year renewal was sufficient for the permanent residency as well.

    However, we opted for the 1-year this year because we were going off island in mid-April and would have had to do some new paperwork and make a new appointment. Didn't want to do that because our current sedulas would have expired before we could get another appointment. In any event, we'll do the new process at next renewal.

    Good luck !!
    KOB
    PADI CD-159014
    KOBScuba.com
    Lighthouse Beach Resort #32

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