Bill seeks to expand tax break for small businesses

Sen. Mary Camacho Torres (PNC file photo)

Recognizing the need to provide greater relief for Guam’s small business owners, Senator Mary Camacho Torres has introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the limited tax exemption under the Business Privilege Tax (BPT).

If enacted, Bill No. 202-36 (COR) would permanently increase the revenue threshold, or the amount of gross receipts eligible for 3% BPT. The measure is co-sponsored by Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes as well as senators Joe S. San Agustin, Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, Christopher M. Dueñas, V. Anthony Ada, and Frank F. Blas, Jr.

Currently, businesses are only eligible for the BPT reduction on the first $250,000 of their gross receipts, provided their gross annual income is between $50,000 and $500,000 during the most recent tax year.

Torres’ proposal would expand the reduced BPT rate up to $500,000 of the business’s gross receipts.

According to the Department of Revenue and Taxation, approximately 90% of Guam’s 15,000 BPT filers report less than $500,000 in annual revenue and are eligible for this exemption.

The bill is slated to go into effect the first day of the month following enactment.

“Last year, one in four businesses on Guam faced closure, leaving the backbone of our economy at risk of breaking,” said Senator Torres. “By expanding the BPT reduction under the Dave Santos Act, Bill 202 helps our businesses keep more of their hard-earned money. I thank those of my colleagues that have lent their support and hope for swift consideration of this proposal.”

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our community, yet they continue to be the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes. “With so much uncertainty in the months ahead, Bill 202 sends a clear message that this government is committed to supporting our businesses through the storm.”