PM Issues Firm Warning Over Payment Of Taxes In 2020

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The nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been called upon to pay its fair share of taxes to ensure that the country’s economy continues to grow.  Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne during his presentation of the 2020 Budget in the House of Representatives told the nation that the government cannot spend revenues that it has not received.

He further stated that his government cannot build roads, deliver water, and supply other critical services if taxes are not paid.

“The point is, our tax revenues are not at the level where every principle of finance and economics suggest they should be, in an economy that is growing as impressively as ours.  And, while revenue decreased, expenditure in 2019 was $1.02 billion – approximately the same amount as we spent in 2018,” outlined the country’s leader who is also Finance Minister.

He further outlined that while his government contained spending in 2019,  capital spending increased in order to deliver infrastructural development that the country requires.

“The bulk of government spending was on non-discretionary, primary recurrent expenditure.  Specifically, wages and salaries, statutory contributions, goods and services, pensions and transfers, amounted to $819 million,” PM Browne stated.

He said that due to this development, new measures will be applied, to ensure tax compliance and revenue collection.

“The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will launch a new, user-friendly and interactive IRD website this year.  It will provide critical information to the public and feature e-payment and e-filing functionalities.  The IRD will also intensify enforcement efforts, working with the Office of the Attorney-General, to take legal action for the recovery of outstanding taxes, particularly ABST, Property Tax and Corporation Tax,” he said.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced that the Customs and Excise Division will use specialist equipment and tools donated by China and the United Kingdom Border Force to improve operational efficiency and revenue collection.

He said that the Comptroller and his team will also pursue new tactics to combat smuggling activities and safeguard the country’s borders against illicit trade.

While imploring citizens to pay their fair share of taxes, he said that those who do not pay are depriving the country and its inhabitants of the economic and social infrastructure and services they need.

“Such behavior is unfair and unjust.  We are a society that pays no personal income tax.  There is no tax on interest earned on savings or dividends.  There is neither inheritance tax nor death duties.  There is no capital gains tax when locals sell property at a profit.  We do not, in this country, burden our people with the plethora of taxes imposed in the majority of others,” said Prime Minister Browne

He concluded by stating that it is only fair that the limited taxes that are in place, should be paid for the benefit of the nation. “I plead with you to pay your taxes,” PM Browne stated.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. A welcomed call by PM Browne but he must go beyond talking as it seem to be an annual theme. The small man and the small business do not get the kind of ‘breaks’ that many large business that is making far more monies get. Yet, when they do not pay their taxes in time and on time, there is no sanction.
    The collection arm of ALL government entities needs to be strengthened if the budget numbers are to meaningful.
    I recently read that one hotel owes government in excess of UD $23 million in taxes and fees……ABST, APUA Electricity & Water. Medical Benefits, Social Security & Education Levy. This is almost laughable and pinpoints exactly what I am saying. Government cannot continue to budget for funds that it is incapable of or unwilling to collect.

  2. The revenues levels arent where they need to be bcos EACH ADMINISTRATION KEEPS DRAINING TREASURY….THEN COME UP WITH CLEVER WAYS TO ADD MORE TAXES ON COUNTRY….

    STOP STEALING START THERE….

  3. Many of us tend to have allegiance to the bigger countries like America etc and comply willingly to paying taxes…..

    As citizens or residents of this beautiful paradise, We should bear in mind the great quote from one of America’s great presidents, ” It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for the country…..

    Taxes need to be paid! Let us not allow politics to prevent us from paying but be civic minded and comply accordingly.

    If we are not getting a pound of flesh for the taxes collected then our voices should then be heard.

  4. Just put people in jail if they lie about their taxes due or willingly fail to pay. That will solve the problem in 1 minute or less, promise. After you prosecute them in court for tax fraud, then the government should file judgements against properties and garnish wages and bank accounts until all tax due is fully paid. Of course the courts can oversee that the government doesn’t do unfair/bad things.

  5. The government over the years have themselves to blame for the low collection of taxes from the business community. They fail to want to pay the brightest accountants to work for them. They want to pay people so much less then the private se for is offering. Well is like saving a nickel while losing a dime. Those big companies local and overseas always hire the best accountant to look at tax holes and to see how they can legally shift profits. tax evasion. No wonder the European Union want us to strengthen and close loopholes for those companies trying not to pay their taxes in their country of origin. So this is not a local issue. The PM’S approach to hire outside accounting firm reminds me of Barbados hiring an outside firm to restructure their debt. Slap in the face for Professionals in Barbados. This will be the same for Antiguan Professionals. And I can tell you we have some really smart accountant here. And not just smart but well qualified. And as I said it is always only about the money. You want to safe the country losing mill Ins of dollars but you do not want to pay local professionals a couple of hundreds of thousands to do so. Well I got news for you. The overseas professionals will cost you much more. Please attach a special unit to the IRD or to your ministry and give them proper guidance and direction. My nice is part of one such team and her complain is that they are left to twiddle thumbs the entire day. No leadership. Please address that Mr. PM.

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