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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – Trade Minister, E.P. Chet Greene, has announced that concessions given to companies will be terminated at the end of this year.
“We will notify companies that have been receiving tax concessions that have been running for years and years, seemingly unending, that the Inland Revenue department will cease or end all those concessions effective December 31,” Greene said in the post cabinet media briefing yesterday.
According to him, the move will allow these companies the opportunity to renegotiate the concessions they receive from the government. The minister added that the cabinet thinks that it is time to change the entire tax structure of the country to ensure that that there is a re-evaluation of benefits for both the private sector and the government.
During the media briefing, Greene reiterated the government’s promise of no new taxes.
He said that the Tax Administration and Procedure Bill 2018 that was discussed in the Lower House earlier this week did not speak to any new taxes but rather to the collection of already existing taxes and the mechanisms used to determine the tax arrangements.
Noting that some people are already making mischief concerning that Bill by implying that it introduces new taxes, Greene pointed out that the concessions that have been given to existing hotels or future hotels will not be affected since those concessions are government statutes.
He claimed that the Tax Administration and Procedure Bill 2018 is yet another move by cabinet to reform and improve the efficiency of tax collection mechanisms.
Just two weeks ago the cabinet announced a plan to synchronise the databases of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the Survey and Mapping Office and the Land Registry in an effort to increase the efficiency of property tax collection throughout the country.
Deputy commissioner at the Inland Revenue Department, Jermaine Jarvis, said that the synchronisation of these systems will help the IRD ensure that the property tax that is payable is indeed correct. The synchronised system will also allow for the production of a list of all the outstanding taxes for this year and previous years.
Anomalies within the three systems have resulted in inefficient collection of taxes over the years, and it is anticipated that this exercise will put an end to all irregularities.