Belize Budget to indirect Taxes to Boost Revenues

Belize has rejected International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendations to raise taxes across the board in favor of more selective reforms that are proposed as less punitive to the jurisdiction’s businesses and poorest citizens.

In his budget speech the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Natural Resources, Dean Barrow, rejected the IMF’s “publicly rehearsed” advice to raise general sales tax (GST), ditch zero-rated treatment for certain products, cancel exemptions, and increase personal and business income taxes as these measures are “regressive and punitive to both citizens and enterprise.”

Instead of the above-mentioned, he announced a series of “pro-poor and pro-people” reforms, which he expected to increase revenues by 2.2% of GDP. These include a 10% income tax on statutory boards of “quasi government entities;” increasing the excise levy on aerated water, beer and stout, cement, and fuel; increasing the environmental charge on imported goods by 1%t; and raising stamp duty on foreign exchange permits by 0.5%.

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