Senators Debate Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill

The Senate also passed the Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill which seeks not only to create a tax regime for companies engaged in certain business activities but also to set the rate of tax for these companies in addition to tax exemption. The bill was rushed through all its stages in the Senate today as it was on December, twelfth, during the Special Sitting of the House of Representatives. The reason for the quick passage of the bill is due to international pressure. The E.U., in particular, and the O.E.C.D. consider that Belize’s export processing zone and the international business company regimes are both carrying out harmful tax practices. During today’s debate, Senator Mark Lizarraga questioned the definition of ‘chargeable income’.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Business Community
“Chargeable income Mr President basically means taxable income. But does this mean taxable income on sales or profits? Because while the rates are aligned of those with business tax which is calculated on gross sales the impression I am getting from many in the field is that the intent for it to be on net profit. Big difference. I’d like some clarity because whether you are going to charge the rate on your net profit or on your gross receipts is completely different. It is not the same. I am not talking about the choice. I am talking about the rate.”

Aldo Salazar, U.D.P Senator

“Chargeable income means in section two and I think we are talking about the second part of the definition. The first part deals with natural persons. In the case of any person other than an employed person the aggregate amount of the income from the applicable sources specified in section five of this Act, remaining after allowing the appropriate deductions and exemptions under this Act. Section five gives you a list of deductions that can be made by anybody as it exists now.”  

Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill Passed

Like the Income and Business Tax Amendment Bill, it was necessary for the International Business Companies Amendment Bill to be passed before the year ends. That bill seeks to eliminate ring-fencing by extending the regime to Belizean residents and removing the restrictions from international business companies to carry on business with Belizean residents. It also needed passage for Belize to be compliant with international regulations and avoid being blacklisted.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Business Community
“I think that many in the industry feel that the bill confirms with the pressures that were being put on us and that those foreign powers, so to speak, using their words are not with us yet; that they will be coming back. And there is the general feeling that there is a lot of hypocrisy from these foreign powers because they have not themselves addressed many of the core problems in their own jurisdiction.”

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