While he doesn’t foresee any radical interventions on expenditure or revenue in the upcoming 2019/2020 budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the government is preparing to introduce new revenue collecting streams.
Following a budget cycle that implemented sweeping tax reforms, Turnquest said this upcoming fiscal exercise will focus more on clogging the leaks the government has experienced with revenue collection.
“I don’t see any tax adjustments per se. I think what you will find is there may be some minor adjustments to how some of these taxes would be applied and we may have the introduction of some fees for some services that have been escaping us, for instance the Airbnb kind of things,” Turnquest said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“You will definitely see us focus on compliance this year, because we still believe that there is revenue yield we are losing as a result of lack of compliance, so we will be beefing up our tools in that regard. Generally speaking I don’t expect much changes.”
The government is preparing to present the 2019/2020 budget by the end of this month.
Last year’s budget exercise was marked by the increase in value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.
The government forecasted it would collect more than $1 billion in VAT during this fiscal year.
Notably, at the end of March collections from VAT were only 55.6 percent of the budgeted amount for the year, with $470 million of the projected VAT revenue still outstanding.
“We put out our three-year fiscal plan and we are fairly satisfied with the results that we received from that this year. We need to stay faithful and allow the process to work out, be disciplined in respect of the plan,” Turnquest said this week.
“The macroeconomics haven’t changed so dramatically that we need to make any radical interventions, so you may see us do some adjustments here and there, but I don’t suspect any major revenue announcements or any major expenditure announcements, other than the infrastructure priorities that the government has identified for this year.”