At today’s House meeting, an amendment tagged to the Income and Business Tax Bill which involves Real Estate was withdrawn and the tax will remain at fifteen percent. Prime Minister Dean Barrow commented that there was a lot of (quote) “garbling of the facts” in relation to that tax and made the announcement he has chosen not to implement the less than one percent increase.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It wasn’t that this bill proposed to raise the rate to fifteen percent, it already is and has been for some time fifteen percent. In fact, that rate of fifteen percent on all Real Estate was imposed in 2005 by Act number six of 2005. However, the Commissioner of Income Tax, acting on his own, felt that while the rate of fifteen percent was in order for Real Estate brokers and agents earning commissions. It was too high for other categories of real estate business; that is real estate developers, condominium owners, long time leases, time share operators or share transfer shares. So the commissioner in practice started charging business tax fort he aforementioned categories at the rate of one point seven-five percent. So all categories of real estate business except real estate brokers and agents earning commissions, for whom the Commissioner of Income Tax maintained the official rate of fifteen percent, all others were charged at one point seven-five percent but without there being a formal amendment of the law. What we were seeking to do, is to regularise this position but at the same time we were taking the opportunity to increase the real rate, not the nominal rate, which remains fifteen percent, but the rate being charged from one point seven-five to two point five percent. In view of what’s happening in tourism and the related effects therefore on the property market in San Pedro, the Condominium development projects, that we will not in fact raise the one point seven-five percent that the commissioner was charging, notwithstanding the law said fifteen percent, we will not raise the one point seven percent to the two point five percent.”
With an eye to helping the tourism industry to be more eco-friendly, today the House also approved an eleven million U.S. dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to finally turn the Solid Waste Management Project into a reality.