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BIG TAX AMNESTY

Public To Get Full Details on Monday

THE new government seems to be making good on its promise of granting a tax amnesty to Saint Lucians.

A statement released yesterday indicated that government had approved a tax amnesty for all tax types administered by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) from October 1, 2016 to February 28, 2018.

“The amnesty is applicable to all arrears up to income year 2014 for property taxes and arrears up to income year 2015 for other tax types,” the statement reads. “Penalties will be waived in full and interest of 60, 80 or 100 per cent will be waived based on the settlement date.”

An official from IRD told The VOICE yesterday that a press conference will be held on Monday during which IRD officials will explain in detail how taxpayers can benefit from the tax amnesty.

The removal of personal property tax for a three-year period was among the “five to stay alive” plan promised to the electorate by the United Workers’ Party (UWP) during the election campaign earlier this year.

It remains unclear just how many people qualify for the tax amnesty and at what levels. Also unclear is how many tax dollars the IRD will be foregoing as a result of the tax amnesty.

The news of the tax amnesty comes just three weeks before the due date of the government’s announcement for a revised rate for the Value Added Tax (VAT). A reduction in the 15% VAT rate was among the “five to stay alive” plan.

A recent Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) assessment of the economy titled “Fiscal and Structural Reforms in St. Lucia: Towards a Comprehensive Agenda”, was presented by CDB’s Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram.

During that September 22 presentation, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Ubaldus Raymond, said the report served as the basis from which government could be guided in introducing its tax measures.

Meanwhile, the IRD is urging taxpayers with arrears to contact the department’s offices to take advantage of the amnesty by regularizing their tax position. Additional information can also be found on the IRD’s website, www.irdstlucia.gov.lc.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

3 Comments

  1. The economic review does not sound to be as robust as it should. The dire situation left by the SLP geniuses requires an entirely new budget before the due date that the annual time frame would suggest.

    There is a need for good control of the schedule regarding short-term debt payments and long term debt maturities. Negotiations should be entered into seeking conversion of some debt obligations. If some of that is secured, the government should be trying to grow ‘green shoots’ even while paying down the national debt. Anything short of this will leave the country in a poverty trap whilst on debt payment treadmill. Tax relief for stimulus is good. However, growing green shoots for growth is critically important for an economic turn around.

  2. Seems like amnesty just for the PMs cohorts not for the general public. Most Saint Lucians don’t own property and those with the largest property will keep the most money in their pockets. Meanwhile poor people paying VAT with no relief.

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