STRAUGHN SAYS GOV’T NOT GOING BACK ON PLAN TO SCRAP PANDEMIC LEVY AT MONTH-END
By Emmanuel Joseph
The Mia Mottley administration is sticking to its promise to scrap the Pandemic Contribution Levy at the end of this month and to remove hundreds more Barbadians from having to pay land tax effective April 1.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan
Straughn on Monday confirmed to Barbados TODAY that the government will not be reneging on the operational period of the measures which were announced in Prime Minister Mottley’s 2022-2023 budgetary proposals.
Straughn said the one-off levy which went into effect on April 1, 2022 for individuals and July 15 for companies, will expire on March 31 as outlined in the budget.
“The Pandemic Contribution Levy will…expire on March 31,” the minister stated. He did not say how much revenue had been collected and whether government had achieved its target.
The Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) has warned that the expiration of the levy period does not remove the obligation to pay outstanding sums and therefore amounts remaining after month-end continue as a liability until the debt is fully satisfied.
Barbadians earning more than $6,250 per month and businesses that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic largely unscathed were required to contribute to the $1 billion bill for the country’s COVID-19 fight.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the “one-off” payments, which were expected to raise $120 million, would be taken as a pandemic contribution levy of one per cent of an individual’s income every month for a year. Businesses in the telecommunications, commercial banking and general and life insurance sectors, and those in the retail of petroleum products, would pay 15 per cent of their net income over an eight-month period.
Meanwhile, Minister Straughn has assured residential property owners whose land values are $300,000 or less, they would no longer be required to pay taxes as of April 1 this year.
“The land tax threshold will increase to $300,000 from 2023-2024 as announced last year.”
It is currently $175,000.
As of April 1, 2023 the new land tax bills will reflect the change,” he disclosed.
The Prime Minister had also pledged that an additional number of Barbadians would be eliminated from the land tax burden when the threshold is further increased to $400,000 from 1 April, 2026.
This measure is aimed at reducing the cost of home ownership for low to medium income households.