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Alter City Group applies for $1.1 billion in tax incentives

Macau-based Alter City Group has applied for full tax benefits under the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands' qualifying certificate program, amounting to $1.1 billion, according to the Saipan Tribune.

The Tinian investor has projected around $500 million in tax payments from casino operations in their Plumeria Golf and Casino Resort over the next 24 years, according to Anthony Muna, a consultant for the Macau-based group who was quoted by Saipan Tribune.

ACG has applied for a tax break for a period of 25 years, however it is noted that casino tax payments are not subject to tax incentives, according to Muna. “Casino operations will pay all required taxes,” said the consultant in an email to the Tribune

Muna said ACG has requested a rebate of BGR Tax, Bar Tax, Income Tax, Developers Tax and Excise Tax from 2016 to 2040 under CNMI’s qualifying certificate program amounting to $1.1 billion. ACG’s request for tax incentives is in order to undertake the immense $1.2-billion project at  Puntan Diablo on Tinian “that will undoubtedly transform the Tinian economy and the livelihood of Tinian residents.” “It’s mainly for developer’s tax and export and import tax and also for the BGRT tax,” said ACG managing director Ken Lin.

 The Commonwealth Development Authority has recently conducted a public hearing on Tinian for ACG’s QC application, and CDA Executive Director Manny Sablan said the board will discuss ACG’s request and then make a recommendation to the governor who will decide the outcome of the QC application.

According to Muna, the planned completion date for the resort is estimated for Jul. 2027, with a commencement date of Aug. 2016.  The resort construction is divided into three phases, with the first phase, including 150 unit villas and the casino to complete in Jul. 2018. Operations will commence in 2019.

In related news, ACG is reportedly also considering managing a temporary casino, while the group awaits completion of its project. “We won’t just have a piece of paper living in our drawers for the next few days. We want to get that going. Hopefully, we can use that to explore the options - such as a temporary casino or the training centre here on Tinian - and get that industry back again”, said Ken Lin, quoted by the Saipan Tribune. A temporary casino or a training centre would require an amendment to the Tinian Gaming Act however, according to the Saipan newspaper.  

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