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Tax backtrack - Gov't scraps cess on books, salt, other goodies - But drinkers, smokers to feel the squeeze

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Blazestar
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PostSubject: Tax backtrack - Gov't scraps cess on books, salt, other goodies - But drinkers, smokers to feel the squeeze   Thu May 07, 2009 11:01 am




FINANCE MINISTER Audley Shaw has recanted from his position of charging general consumption (GCT) on books and all printed materials, excluding
.

Minister Shaw has also announced a lifting of the proposed tax on salt, rolled oats, syrup, fish soup, cock soups, noodle soups,
spirit and lubrica-ting oil for com-mercial fishing.
The finance minister made the announcement when he closed the 2009/2010 Budget Debate in Gordon House yesterday.
"The Government has listened very carefully to the points raised by everyone ... we have listened and we are responding," Shaw said.
Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller regarded the roll-back of the tax on books as "a victory for Jamaica", but said the Opposition remained unhappy with the size of the tax package.
"While we applaud the removal of the GCT on certain things we are still very, very unhappy," the opposition leader said.
Forced
The finance minister was forced to review the tax measures after the Opposition
The finance minister was forced to review the tax measures after the Opposition People's National Party, its youth arm the People's National Party Youth Organisation, the Book Industry Association and several other interest groups voiced strong objections to the plan to tax books.
The repeal of GCT for the items opened up a $2-billion hole in Government's $555.7-billion budget, which Shaw has plugged with sin taxes.
Effective Monday, a special consumption tax (SCT) will be imposed on beers and spirits. These products will be taxed at 25 per cent.


Previously, beer was taxed at from 16 to 21 per cent and spirits taxed at 24-30 per cent.
Under the new regime, the SCT will bring everything under one umbrella and will lead to increased prices for beers and spirits, except for white rum.
Shaw told the House that the tax on beer and spirits will earn the country $530 million this fiscal year.
Ironically, the minister had defended his decision not to tax these products, claiming that it could lead to job losses in the sectors.
Meanwhile, the SCT on cigarettes has been increased from $6,000 per 1,000 sticks to $8,500, a move which Shaw said will earn the Government $1.84 billion.
He said that 20 per cent of this amount will be placed into the National </FONT></FONT> Fund.
The finance minister has been taken to task by the Opposition, which has argued that his tax package will be a burden on the backs of middle- and lower-class Jamaicans.
The tax on and computer parts remain in place, except if such products are being purchased by an approved educational institution

Courtesy of JamaicaGleaner
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Tax backtrack - Gov't scraps cess on books, salt, other goodies - But drinkers, smokers to feel the squeeze

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