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Monday 14 October 2019
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Tax amnesty extended to month end

Long lines were the order of the day on Friday as hundreds rushed to pay their taxes at the Government Campus in Port of Spain on the last  working day of the three-month tax amnesty.
Long lines were the order of the day on Friday as hundreds rushed to pay their taxes at the Government Campus in Port of Spain on the last working day of the three-month tax amnesty.

AFTER photos of a queue of anxious taxpayers snaking its way into the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) building last Friday, the Government yesterday said the ongoing tax amnesty would be extended to September 30.

The extension came in a Ministry of Finance statement yesterday, citing legal notice 290.

The ministry also warned, “There will be no further extensions to the Tax Amnesty in 2019.”

The amnesty began on June 15 and was initially due to end yesterday (September 15.)

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West yesterday told Newsday the extension would give people time to file their returns.

Of last Friday’s long lines, she observed, “People had three months but many would have waited until the last minute.”

West otherwise said she was glad people had responded to the amnesty, mindful of the fact it would be their last chance to do so for a long time to come.

She recalled that initial estimates had been that a half billion dollars could be raked in by the amnesty. West could not say exactly by when the actual sum would be known, but said it would be known before the October 7 national budget.

Newsday asked about the IRD having discontinued its previous service of offering taxpayer assistance. “We will reintroduce it with the TT Revenue Authority. It is a service that is required.”

Asked her final thoughts, West said she was glad people had woken up and were taking the opportunity to show their records were in order.

She concluded, “Don’t wait till September 30.”

A tax consultant, speaking anonymously to Newsday, said the deadline ought to have gone to the end of October, due to the great task small businesses faced in calculating all their receivables and payables and assessing their equipment for depreciation.

Some businessmen face a choice of paying salaries or paying taxes, he said.

“I have clients running up and down looking for money. Everybody is watching their dollar and preparing for what is next. They need time to collect money, pay their accountants and pay their taxes.”

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