IF GOVERNMENT FOLLOWS the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recommendations on tax reform, the next budget would see Barbadians paying more taxes.
The IMF’s suggestions include eliminating the VAT zero rating of food and consumer goods, and converting any other items not taxed into VAT exempt items, which could lead to high food costs; introducing an excise tax for cellphone use, as well as implementing one on soft drinks; stopping the discount for the early payment of land tax and for senior citizens too; raising all vehicle registration, licence, inspection and other fees by 20 per cent; and imposing excise duty rates on goods such as alcohol, tobacco, fuels and vehicles that are currently untaxed. This would likely lead to a hike in the price of these items.
The recommendations are part of the technical advice contained in the 70-page document, A Tax Reform Roadmap For Simplicity And Revenue Buoyancy, compiled by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department in response to Government’s request for such assistance.
The IMF reviewed the main taxes, including consumption taxes (VAT and excise taxes), corporate and personal income taxes, and taxes on real property. It also examined various forms of tax incentives for investment available here.
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