The government will reduce the duty on some refrigerators and stoves, while increasing the duty on plastic shopping bags, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.
“To advance our commitment to environmental sustainability, we have tailored several measures in the 2019/2020 budget with an aim to not only protect the environment, but also to increase environmental awareness across all islands,” Turnquest said.
“In addition, the
measures aimed at environmental purposes are in line with the government’s planned ban on plastic by January 2020. These measures include…increasing the duty on biodegradable and compostable plastic shopping bags, from 5 percent to 45 percent; but at the same time, reducing the duty on reusable cloth shopping bags from 30 percent to 5 percent.”
He continued, “[The government will also be] banning the use of selected single-use plastic bags, plastic food utensils and Styrofoam food containers by January 1, 2020.”
Turnquest also announced that the duty on new vehicles between 1.5 liters and two liters, which are valued at $50,000 or less, will decrease from 65 percent to 45 percent.
“In this context, only cars with less than 200 miles on the odometer will be considered ‘new,’” he said.
The finance minister said the government will also “harmonize” the rates on all new electric and hybrid vehicles, which cost less than $50,000, to 10 percent.
“It should be noted here that this measure will have a sunset clause of five years, after which this special revision will revert closer to the rates for other small size vehicles,” Turnquest said.
He also revealed a number of other tax concessions.
“The tax relief measures included in this budget include duty reductions worth $28 million in revenue,” Turnquest said.
“In an effort to rebalance the tax burden between the provision of goods and services and reduce the attendant distortionary impacts, we are beginning to make good on our commitment to reduce duty and excise rates over the next three years. To that end, we will, at this time, adjust the duty on selected frequently imported items. Generally, the focus of these reductions is around educational supplies and equipment, and household implements and goods.”
Home refrigerators that are smaller than 18 cubic feet and home stoves that are smaller than 30 inches in width will be duty-free.
Pens, school rulers, pencils and crayons – which have a duty of 10 percent – will be duty-free.
Sharpeners and fire extinguishers, which have a duty of 45 percent, will become duty-free.
The duty on garbage can liners; flashlights; pots and pans; and all household furniture will decrease from 45 percent to 25 percent.
Duty will be removed from chart paper.
The duty on projectors, projector screens and radios will decrease from 45 percent to 35 percent.
The government will remove duty from musical instruments, and it will allow trailers for commercial fishing boats to be eligible for duty exemption.
The government will also amend the Spirits and Beer Manufacture Act “to reduce the minimum bushel requirement for production, to now make microbreweries eligible for import duty concessions”.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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