ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The leadership of the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) has been told it’s their turn to reveal their tax plan for the country as the government appointed Tax Policy Review Task Force pushes ahead with proposals.
Political analyst Arvel Grant said while the ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) administration, through an appointed body has shown what is likely to be its plan, the ALP is yet to explain to taxpayers how it will make up for lost revenue under its stated aim to scrap Personal Income Tax (PIT).
“It imposes a burden on the ALP to clarify in some detail how it will deal with the question of its proposal to eliminate or remove personal income tax,” Grant said.
The task force’s proposals would slash Personal Income Tax (PIT) by 40 per cent for the majority of middle to high-income earners and increase the Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) from 15 per cent to 16 per cent.
The plan would mean more take home pay for the near 40 per cent of the working population that earn from $3,001 to $35,000 per month. But it has been criticized for increasing the tax burden on the near 60 per cent of the working population (more than 26,000 employees) who fall below the $3,001 PIT threshold.
Task Force Chairman Neil Coates said the suggestion to increase ABST came because the group “could not decrease the government’s revenue without making a recommendation to recoup that revenue.”
The ALP has been promising on the campaign trail to remove personal income tax, but ALP MP Molwyn Joseph has come out against the task force’s plan to increase ABST as a balance to reducing PIT.
Grant said this puts the pressure on the opposition party to explain how it would make up for the more than $40 million in lost revenue expected to come from scrapping income tax.
The task force is expected to complete the proposals and hand them to Cabinet at the end of the month.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)