Govt aims to net more from goods and services

February 10, 2017
Dr Andre Haughton

Persons might have to pay more for goods and services as consumption taxes are to go up by $22 billion in the new financial year.

General Consumption Tax (GCT) on locally consumed goods is slated to increase by $6.6 billion.

The Government expects to collect $77 billion through this tax in the financial year, which ends March 31. That amount is expected to rise to $83.6 billion.

There will also be an increase in the special consumption tax (SCT), which is normally applied on items such as alcohol, petroleum products, and cigarettes.

Another area that the Government is targeting to collect massive amounts of revenue is through income tax.

Some $50 billion in individual income tax was targeted for collection last fiscal year, and this year the Government is looking to get an additional $19.9 billion from that source.


Tax threshold


Economist Dr Andre Haughton said that if the Government plans to honour its plan to increase the income tax threshold to 1.5 million, the increased revenue could come from more people registering their employees for PAYE or from capturing persons who are not in the tax net.

The Andrew Holness-led Government has said it would increase the income tax threshold to $1.5 million, which means that income tax would not be paid on the portion of income below $1.5 million.

Persons earning below the threshold will not pay income tax.

Haughton said the combined $22 billion increase in GCT and SCT would be due to the Government's decision to subject more exempt goods, such as food items to taxes.

"As it relates to poverty alleviation, if that is what is happening, it is a bad move," Haughton said.

The Government is projecting to spend just under $710 billion to conduct the affairs of the country this year.

The amount represents a 20 per cent increase over last year's budget, $488.6 billion of which will come from tax revenue.

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