Online poll: Majority against expat tax

More than 87 per cent of Caymanians and residents of the Cayman Islands who responded to last week’s online poll said they did not support the government’s proposal to implement a payroll tax on only work permit holders. The government officially abandoned the proposal on Monday. 

A total of 966 people responded to the poll, 406 of whom said they were Caymanian. Of the respondents who said they were Caymanian, more than 81 per cent of them said they did not support the implementation of a payroll tax on work permit holders only.  

The largest segment of respondents – 408 people or 42.2 per cent of the total number of respondents – were non-Caymanians who said they didn’t support the payroll tax, which Premier McKeeva Bush called a “community enhancement fee”. 

“It is a shame that people with no vote are expected to bear the burden for those that can,” said one person. “What’s next? Will we be expected to go cut the grass in Caymanian’s yards once a week? So much for Cayman pride.”  

“No tax or we leave,” said someone else. 

“This is the most divisive, economy-killing proposal ever,” said another person. “If the government doesn’t reconsider this, it will hurt the Cayman Islands severely.”  

“Anyone who supports this tax fails to realise that in less than five years, all of Cayman’s residents will be taxed,” commented one person. “By that time, many businesses will have taken the view to move their jobs to lower-cost jurisdictions. After all, given labour pool and recruitment difficulties, some companies have already been moving jobs out of Cayman.” 

“Any tax should be fair and equal for all and not aimed at a particular demographic; that makes it a form of racism,” said someone else. 

“I’m non-Caymanian, married to a Caymanian with two beautiful Caymanian children,” said another person. “I worry for the future of this country. I can go to the UK with my children and pay 20 per cent tax, but for that I get free schooling for my kids, free healthcare, an electricity bill 10 per cent of what I pay here and groceries that cost at least 50 per cent less. I love it here and would love for me children to grow up here, but that option is looking slimmer and slimmer.” 

“I always thought the UDP was a better choice than the PPM,” said one person. “Not any more. I’ll take incompetent over stupid any day of the week.” 

“Whether or not you are Caymanian, this will destroy the economy here,” said someone else. “I’m prepared to pay more to stay here, but once the conveniences disappear, I’ll have to re-evaluate.” 

“A better government alternative to sustainable income is to live within your means,” commented another respondent. 

Another 406 – 42 per cent of total respondents – said they were Caymanians who did not support the payroll tax on expats only.  

“This has nothing to do with fairness,” said one person. “It’s just something no one in Cayman should want, including the government.” 

“The beginning of the end of an industry created through the brilliance of Sir Vassel,” said someone else. “Only a madman would orchestrate its destruction.” 

“This is deadly serious for the Cayman Islands,” said another person. “Retract the proposal now or watch the Cayman Islands wither…quickly.” 

“The Cayman Islands government needs to control spending,” said one person. “As inviting as it sounds to tax expats, if I don’t fight against this idea now who will fight for me as a Caymanian when it is my turn to be taxed. Sorry I don’t support any form of payroll taxes in the Cayman Islands.” 

“We all need to share this burden and as Caymanians we have a longer-term interest invested in this national crisis,” said someone else. “If we are all to continue to survive, then it must be a shared burden. But five per cent is more equitable and fair or those who can afford to pay more should. If it’s truly a community enhancement fee, then why not a property tax?” 

“Cayman’s financial industry is founded on being a nil tax jurisdiction,” said another person. “This is like the Pope deciding he’s changed his mind about God.” 

“An ill-thought out proposal by all accounts, which will inevitably destroy the country’s economy,” said one person. 

“I’m ashamed to be from this country right now,” said someone else. 

Ninety-two people – 9.5 per cent – said they were Caymanians who supported the payroll tax on expats only. 

“Should have been done 10 years ago,” said one person. 

“Great news! A payroll tax on work permit holders – it’s a good move,” said someone else. “There should be no taxes on Caymanians.” 

“There is no way to determine if expats are filling in the “I am Caymanian” block,” noted another person. 

“I would prefer to have all foreigners deported,” said someone else. “Foreign workers in the Cayman Islands is very bad for the Cayman Islands economy. The Cayman Islands are over populated. The Caymanian culture and way of life we have enjoyed for decades is slowly vanishing. Foreigners are inter-breeding with our people and changing the beautiful people we are. Stop issuing the permanent residence papers. Save our beautiful Cayman Islands.” 

“Should be more than 10 per cent,” said another person. 

Twenty-four people – 2.5 per cent – said they were non-Caymanians but accepted the government’s decision.  

“I’m non-Caymanian and regretfully, I accept it,” said one person. “After all, I would have to do it back home to the US.” 

Another 36 people – 3.8 per cent – said they were non-Caymanians who didn’t live in Cayman. 

“If a tax must be implemented, then it should be implemented on everyone,” said one person. 

“I handle reservations from the United States for a resort on Grand Cayman,” said someone else. “I was on your beautiful island for two separate work permits and abided by all your laws. On a daily basis I communicate with prospective vacationers and try to get them to choose Grand Cayman over another island. I feel like you do not appreciate the tourists that come to spend their hard-earned money on/in your home. I once had a love for Cayman and its people and culture, but your attitude has become ungrateful.” 


Next week’s poll question 

Do you support the suggestion for nine two-member constituencies for the Cayman Islands? 


Maybe, but I need more information 

No because I like the election system they way it is.  

No because I only want single-member constituencies 

I can’t vote in Cayman 


online poll


  1. I visited the Facebook group Caymanians Expats United Against Taxation and must admit that I did not see many indigenous Caymanians listed as members of the group. The group appears to still be primarily an expat led group with very little traditional Caymanian support.

    Despite this fact the group must still be recognized for the role it played in getting the government to reverse direction on the proposed Community Enhancement Fee.

  2. I would prefer to have all foreigners deported, said someone else. Foreign workers in the Cayman Islands is very bad for the Cayman Islands economy. The Cayman Islands are over populated. The Caymanian culture and way of life we have enjoyed for decades is slowly vanishing. Foreigners are inter-breeding with our people and changing the beautiful people we are. Stop issuing the permanent residence papers. Save our beautiful Cayman Islands.

    Aside from this comment being racist and xenophobic it is completely ignorant. Sure, deport all expats. With it you’ll also deport a trillion USD currently managed in Cayman and you’ll all be back to fishing and rope making. If that’s the culture and way of life you are referring to, have at it. Foreign workers are bad for the Cayman economy? What a joke. Who do you think all the fund managers, lawyers and accountants are? Caymanian?

    I am a person who’s been travelling to Cayman for years because I love the place. As such, I’ve followed the Caymanian news daily over that entire time. I’ve no vested interest in whether people are taxed there or not but in my opinion doing so will only guarantee one thing…the complete destruction of the Cayman economy. Now it seems that it’s taken the entire Cayman business community to clue in your hapless leader to that fact. Too bad it has ruined Cayman’s reputation globally.

  3. In all my years travelling through the Caribbean I have yet to find a nation with as good a lifestyle for its indigenous peoples.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why someone with the opportunities provided here could ever want to see it destroyed.

    Education, healthcare, employment, security, lifestyle, future, all jeopardized for what?

    For the insecurities of a very few that have not embraced the good of the many?

    Don’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

  4. I’m happy to see the Powers That Be changed their mind about the Expat Tax.
    I do not work in the Cayman Islands I have a rental Property which I paid a 7% Stamp Tax when I purchased it. Also, I pay a 10% Tourism Tax on my rentals.
    Expats and/or their employers pay a YEARLY Permit fee of anywhere from a few hundred dollars to CI 24,000.00. The higher paid Expats are already paying dearly for the privilege to work in the Cayman Islands. I would think many would move elsewhere to work if an Income tax was enforced.
    Someone should have thought this through prior to proposing the Tax.
    One of the greatest attributes of the Cayman Islands is it’s FREEDOM from Taxes.
    I’m glad to see so many Caymanians voicing their objections.

  5. Thanks Government for making us feel even more, less than welcome here. We work hard and spend money here. Our spending does not exceed our income and we do not borrow. Not sure why government thinks it’s okay to spend more than they take in and borrow money and waste even more money on interest payments.
    Most people in the finance world have degrees and experience in that discipline. Hmmm, pony up boss after two budget failures. At this point it will be nothing but interesting to watch CI crash and burn. Sad but true, just a matter of how fast. Hope your boyz are enjoying their last big fling in London. More caviar please.

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