Tax collection reportedly on track to return to pre-Covid numbers

Tax Department Commissioner Ralph Warner addressing business owners and executives at a tax forum (photo by Elesha George)

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By Elesha George

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The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is seeing an improvement in tax collection, similar to figures seen before the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Ralph Warner said tax collection continued to rebound from 2021 figures and remained flat so far for the year.

The Inland Revenue Department accounts for 53% of central government revenue through tax collection and 46% of overall government revenue.

Warner, who was speaking to a tax forum last week, said the closures and restrictions had significantly affected revenue from sales (ABST) as well as property tax and stamp duty in 2020 – a year he described as being “tough” on tax collection in the twin. island state.

“In 2020, that’s when our hospitality business pretty much shut down, so the fact that we weren’t getting any revenue from that business had an overall impact on overall revenue.

“In 2021 there was a rebound and in 2022 there was further improvement in tax yield,” he said.

Since then, the commissioner said the department has been collecting more revenue, returning to its “pre-Covid era” where it collected more than EC$400 million a year.

“In 2021, we even surpassed what we raised in 2019. I think in 2019 our figure was around $400 million, in 2020 it dropped to around $300 million, and in 2021, we’re back to our normal number which is over $400 million,” he told the Observer.

The increase was supported by a number of new sources of income, which the commissioner said came from people who set up new businesses after being made redundant or quitting their jobs in 2020 and 2021.

Warner said the telecoms sector and small businesses made up the shortfall left by the biggest tax contributor – the tourism and hospitality industry – which came to a screeching halt when the Covid cases started. to increase in the world.

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