Bank license fees bring millions in revenue

POSTED: 07/10/15 7:45 PM

St. Maarten – Since 1996, bank license fees in St. Maarten have generated 365.2 million guilders in revenue. Between 1996, when the 1-percent levy replaced the former 1.3 percent foreign exchange tax, the banking fees netted on average 16.7 million guilders per year up to 2009, data published by the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten show.

Until 10-10-10, license fees went to the central government in Willemstad and where then pro rata divided over the islands. Since 10-10-10, all bank license fees collected in St. Maarten go directly to the local treasury.

In 2010, up to 10-10-10, banks collected 17.4 million in license fees. For the remainder of the year, the fees amounted to another 5.6 million, bringing the total for that transition year to a bit over 23 million guilders.

Between 2011 and 2014, local banks collected 97.4 million per year. The annual average of 24.3 million is more or less in line with the annual revenue over the years 2006-2009.

This year license fees over the first five months brought in 10.4 million guilders.

The Central Bank’s data show that license fees have a high season and a low season that follows the economy. In 2013 receipts in June, July, August September and November stayed below 1.8 million in revenue. Last year this was true for six months out of twelve. The top month in 2013 was May (2.6 million) and in 2014, it was December (2.5 million).

Banks are by law obliged to withhold 1 percent on transactions in foreign currency, like for example withdrawals from dollar-accounts or cashing checks in dollars.

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