Ministry: Tax amnesty extended to May, over $500m raised so far

The Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance in Port of Spain. - FILE PHOTO/ROGER JACOB
The Inland Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance in Port of Spain. - FILE PHOTO/ROGER JACOB

The Ministry of Finance has announced that the tax amnesty that began last November will be extended again, this time, to end on May 19.

In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Finance said the extension was meant to give businesses and individuals more time to prepare financial statements and finalise necessary documentation to submit tax returns and pay taxes due for the year of income 2021 and prior years.

In 2022, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced the tax amnesty, then expected to run from November 14 to December 31. The amnesty allows for the waiver of penalties and interest owed by taxpayers on liabilities including individual income tax, PAYE, health surcharges, corporation taxes business levies, Green Fund levies, VAT petroleum profits tax, supplemental petroleum tax, unemployment levy, stamp duty, property tax, club gaming tax, gaming amusement tax and withholding tax.

The amnesty was first extended to January 31 this year, then to March 17.

Friday's statement said, “To date, the original target of $500 million from the amnesty has been exceeded, which has assisted the Government’s cash flow to a significant extent, especially during a time of declining oil and gas prices.”

On Monday, Chief Whip and Point-A-Pierre MP David Lee called on Imbert to tell the country what its revenue actually is, given the extensions of the amnesty and falling global oil and gas prices. Lee said the falling prices could be having a negative impact on the country's revenue streams.

Speaking at a UNC meeting, Lee pointed out the gas prices on the day, saying that international market prices stand at US$2.63 and oil prices were US$74.69. Both prices are well below the estimated budget figures of US$6 and US$92.50 respectively.

In the Senate on February 28, Senator Wade Mark also raised questions on the price of oil and gas being lower than estimated in the 2022-2023 budget. Mark said then, that an “economic hurricane is brewing,” that could have serious consequences for TT’s economy.

In an immediate response, Imbert told the Senate that, through work done by the Prime Minister and Energy Minister, negotiations were made to have TT’s natural gas sold to local petrochemical manufacturers at a price which reflected the prices of ammonia and methanol.

“So if you don’t know and you just go on the internet and see that Henry Hub is US$2.77, you would simply be completely oblivious to the fact that we get revenue in a completely different way.”

He said then, that data showed TT was holding its own and nowhere near to the spectre of collapse suggested by Mark.

On Monday, Lee said Imbert should face the facts and stop carrying citizens down a road of false hope as it relates to energy prices.


"Ministry: Tax amnesty extended to May, over $500m raised so far"

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