On Friday we told you about the legislation Government is drafting to increase the business tax on phone companies from 19% to somewhere in the vicinity of 25%. Government also intends to increase the tax on public investment companies like the Belize and Atlantic Banks from 8% to reportedly 15%, which is what the other banks pay. It will mean that Michael Ashcroft’s Telemedia and Belize Bank will pay millions more in taxes annually but Prime Minister Dean Barrow told us it’s nothing personal.
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“So I don’t want anyone to get the impression that this is a dedicated piece of legislation vis a vie BTL or the PIC banks. It is a far more generalized exercise, but in the mix there is a rethink of the business with respect to those two entities, that is telecommunications and PIC group companies in banking.”

Jules Vasquez,
You realize it will be seen as an act of war by the Ashcroft business empire.

Hon. Dean Barrow,
“Well I can’t be too worried about perception. I have to focus on the reality, the reality is that government needs additional revenue and we believe that the increase that we are proposing can fairly competitively, fairly comfortably be afforded by the entities that will be affected.”

The legislation will be introduced at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.