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The premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Rufus Ewing, has hit back at claims made in the media and the general population that tax hikes introduced by Finance Minister Washington Misick will raise the cost of living.
The government has increased the fuel tax to 75 cents per gallon, and the vehicle licence fee from USD35 to USD175. Other tax increases include a rise in stamp duty for real estate sales, a 6 percent levy on income for health care, a new 7.5 percent tax on all imports, increased customs duty rates, and a 12 percent tax on hotel rooms.
The premier said he will investigate any firms that raise their prices as a result of the tax increases, but did not indicate how businesses are expected to take on the increased costs without passing them on to consumers.
The tax increases are supposedly temporary and are intended to cut national debt. However, the Turks and Caicos Islands have been subject to numerous tax hikes since the Progressive National Party took power in 2003.
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