August 20, 2019

No sales tax for TCI, says Premier

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From The Sun

There are no plans to introduce a sales tax or any new taxes this year or next year, says Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Sharlene Robinson.
The Premier made the clarification Hon. Dr. Royal Robinson, the Opposition’s Appointed Member in the House of Assembly, issued a statement saying that the PDM Government intends implementing a General Sales Tax (GST).

“I wish to advise the public that the Government has no plans to introduce a new tax in 2019 or 2020,” the Premier said. “This Statement is consistent with the Fiscal and Strategic Policy Statement (FSPS) laid in Parliament several months ago and the Budget laid on April 16th and now before the House where it is stated that no new tax is being forecasted or shows no new source of revenue.”

The Premier added: “We are projecting an increase in the existing revenue streams as recorded in the FSPS which is a document agreed between TCI and the UK and which sets the framework for the Budget. As stated when the Budget was laid we will focus efforts over the next year in strengthening the revenue collection and policing systems through the assistance of CARTAC who have already conducted its first visit.”

The 2018-2019 “budget book” under the Ministry of Finance, stated: “Commencement 1st Quarter 2019/2020 The introduction of a GST in any country is a move toward tax reformation in the levying country. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) subsumes many indirect taxes. And is a tax on both goods and services. One of the benefits of the GST is that is seeks to regulate the disorganised/informal sectors. GST is a taxation system is a concrete base and is a transparent form of taxation. Completion: March 2020.”

The budget book also noted that two tropical cyclones that directly hit the Islands in the 2nd Quarter of 2017-18 have underscored the need for a taxation system that is less volatile and prone to global, regional and environmental factors, while being fair, equitable and efficient. It noted that Government has begun consultations to arrive at a more appropriate taxation regime. 

The Premier conceded that the Key Performance Indicator being circulated speaks to the introduction of a General Sales Tax, but she noted that the Ministry of Finance will move an amendment on the floor of the House to delete this.

“No recommendation for a new tax has been made or accepted by my Government or Cabinet. Regrettably this was not raised during the Meetings of the Appropriations Committee, then this information would have been given and the representative‚Äôs time would have better been spent. As there is no support mechanism in policy or funding, the amendment is solely to delete words,” she added.

“I assure the people of this country that we enjoy a strong financial position and are considering now how we can use the strong cash position for major national initiatives.”

Meantime, the Opposition’s Appointed Member noted that “in typical fashion, the PDM tried to hide this fact by the late publication of the Budget Booklet in the hopes that we the people would not have read said Booklet and thereby miss it”. 

He added: “The Premier as Minister of Finance is using the old tried and proven adage that if you put it in print and in plain sight, the people will miss it! Not so this time Madam Premier. We are up to your sneak attack and are now exposing you for the devious person that you are. Instead of coming to the people and saying that her Government has run out of options and have to do something, the Premier is trying to blind side and momaguy all of us with this type of tactic. 

Robinson noted that the PNP tried under former Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing to implement a form of taxation, but it was in plain sight, publicised and brought to the House of Assembly for a vote. 

“Do we not remember how the then Leader of the Opposition castigated Hon. Ewing in the debate on the floor of the House of Assembly to such an extent that the Bill was defeated? Now she is trying this underhanded approach to get her way and then say, “I told you so, but you didn’t read the fine print! Shame on you Premier Cartwright-Robinson for trying to take the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands for fools!”

For more on this story go to; https://suntci.com/no-sales-tax-for-tci-says-premier-p4165-129.htm

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