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Friday 23 August 2019
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Imbert aims for $500m from tax amnesty

Finance Minister Colm Imbert
Finance Minister Colm Imbert

The tax amnesty will apply to all taxes that incur interest and penalties, Finance Minister Colm Imbert clarified today. It does not mean that people won't have to pay taxes for the period mid-June to mid-September.

At a press conference at the Ministry of Finance, Imbert said the tax amnesty will be a waiver of penalties and interest on all taxes due and payable by September 2019. He said this amnesty will target revenue of $500 million.

The last tax amnesty in 2016 ran for two-and-a-half months and netted $750 million, $250 million more than the $500 million target.

Imbert acknowledged that in TT there appears to be a belief that the government will always have amnesties, especially because it really helps in budgetary support. But, as he noted in his mid-year review on Monday, this is likely to be the last amnesty, as the government prepares for the launch of the TT Revenue Authority.

He said there are billion of dollars tied up in the Tax Appeal Board, and often, amnesties mean that backlog gets cleared when people retract their claims and just pay the disputed taxes to avoid additional charges.

He also noted there was an informal economy in TT and anybody who deals in cash could be a tax avoider.

The Board of Inland Revenue will be enforcing tax collection as best it can, he said, but added that the organisation was mired in bureaucracy, which is why tax reform was needed.

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