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Antigua Budget Targets Improved Business Environment

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

23 December 2012


Antigua and Barbuda's Minister for Finance Harold Lovell has announced that the 2013 Budget contains no tax hikes or additional taxes as the government targets higher revenues on the back of stronger growth and reforms to improve the business environment.

Under a World Bank-funded initiative, the territory has implemented an electronic business registration portal, launched in October as part of its ambitions to feature among the top-20 leading jurisdictions in terms of the ease of carrying out economic operations, as measured by the World Bank's Doing Business report.

In the latest budget, the government has confirmed a new concession for manufacturing firms to defer the payment of the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST), import duty and other taxes until their finished product is sold. In order to qualify for the facility, a manufacturer will first have to provide a list of raw materials and inputs that are used in their production process to the Customs and Excise Department and comply with a number of additional reporting requirements.

In 2013, the government will introduce a Sea Port Departure Tax, to replace the previous Embarkation Tax in respect of departures from Antigua and Barbuda by sea.

Meanwhile, to improve the efficiency of the local tax regime, a new Tax Policy Review Task Force has been established to:

  • Examine the main sources of tax revenue and assessing their performance;
  • Assess the feasibility of eliminating border taxes in Antigua and Barbuda; and,
  • Review current tax legislation, tax policies, tax structure, and tax rates.

The government has also announced that the ABST rate will be temporarily cut during the period from December 21, 2012, to December 24, 2012, from 15% to 5%, to boost consumer consumption.

TAGS: tax | business | sales tax | fiscal policy | international financial centres (IFC) | budget | offshore | manufacturing | legislation | tax rates | Antigua and Barbuda

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