Budget Speech outlines major plans for 2017

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne, on Friday, presented a $1.2 billion budget that promised to improve tax collection, address pay increases for public servants and provide affordable housing for society’s poor and vulnerable.
In a three-hour presentation that was punctuated with jabs at the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) — which the PM said left the country in “shambles” — major emphasis was placed on tax reform.
He said that, this year, his government “will focus on strengthening tax administration rather than the introduction of new tax measures”.
Browne said as part of this plan, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will take “decisive legal action” against taxpayers in arrears, establish memorandums of understanding with other government agencies in order to help “to help improve tax assessments and revenue collection”.
He said that the department will place a cap on discretionary tax waivers, particularly Import Duty and the Revenue Recovery Charge.
“These interventions will result in an increase in the yield from Property Tax, the Unincorporated Business Tax, Stamp Duties, the Import Duty, Revenue Recovery Charge, Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax, and the Corporate Income Tax,” Browne said.
He said that the enacting of an updated Tax Administration Procedures Act (TAPA), will be the centre of improving the efficacy of the IRD.
The prime minister stated that an increase in revenues is also expected to come from plans to begin collecting tax on Income of International Banks and the Gambling Tax, this year.
He said the move will help the country to ward off the label of being called a tax haven.
“Tax revenue, comprising of direct and indirect taxes, will account for about 79 per cent or $742 million, while non-tax revenue of $193 million will make up the remaining 21 per cent,” he added as the speech continued. “Direct taxes are expected to yield $97 million in 2017.” 
See : Budget table
 (More in today’s Daily Observer)
 

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