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Trinidad And Tobago Budget Hikes Taxes

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

20 April 2016

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, has announced tax reforms and tax increases in his 2016 mid-year budget review.

The Minister noted that the dramatic fall in the oil price combined with the write-off incentive meant that some major oil and gas companies may pay little or no corporation income taxes in 2016. The oil and gas fiscal regime will be reviewed, he said, including the accelerated capital expenditure write-off incentive, which took effect in 2014.

Preparations are underway for the introduction of a comprehensive property tax in 2017. Field assessments are being conducted to ensure land and property valuations are complete. The Minister said "that it is quite possible that up to 40 percent of properties in Trinidad and Tobago have not yet been assessed."

A levy of seven percent will be imposed from September 2016 on online purchases of goods and services from retail companies resident overseas who are not subject to taxation in Trinidad and Tobago. Taxes on alcohol and tobacco products will also rise from May 2016.

Customs duty and motor vehicle tax on luxury vehicles will rise by 50 percent with immediate effect, starting with private motor vehicles with an engine size exceeding 1999cc. Meanwhile, all taxes on compressed natural gas (CNG), electric, and hybrid cars with engine sizes up to a maximum of 1999cc will be removed.

To incentivize the private sector, the present tax concessions for the construction of multistorey car parks and commercial buildings will be extended to 2025. These concessions involve tax holidays on income from property rentals and property sales.

The Government is also considering grants and other fiscal incentives to motivate the private sector to get involved in urban renewal and rural development in designated areas.

Last, current legislation will be examined to see whether the level of penalties provide sufficient incentives for increased tax compliance.

TAGS: environment | compliance | tax | tax compliance | property tax | energy | vehicle tax | budget | audit | Trinidad and Tobago | oil and gas | food | tax reform | construction | penalties | retail | services | VAT refunds | Tax

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