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Antigua And Barbuda Releases 2015 Budget

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
20 January, 2015

Antigua and Barbuda has released its 2015 Budget, which reports a substantial increase in non-tax revenues as a result of the recent introduction of a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).

The territory said that amid tax revenue growth of just one percent, collections were increased substantially by the launch of the CIP in October 2014, with non-tax revenue rising by some 86.5 percent during 2014. To receive citizenship, investors must commit to invest USD250,000, spend USD400,000 on island real estate, or make a business investment worth at least USD1.5m.

On fiscal policy, the Budget confirms an increase from January 1, 2015, to the license fee paid by international banks operating within the jurisdiction, which will result in an increase in revenue worth XCD513,000 (USD190,000). There are twelve international banks operating in Antigua and Barbuda. Of these, ten hold Class 1 international banking licenses and two hold Class 3 composite International Bank and Trust licenses.

The territory has also newly launched the ASYCUDA customs management system, designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which is expected to increase revenue collections from trade and cut tax administrative costs.

The Budget also announced the expansion of an ongoing tax amnesty to cover property tax. Under the amnesty, individuals who owe sales tax will benefit from a waiver of penalties and interest if they pay up before the end of March 2015. For property tax, any non-commercial residential property owner who owes property tax arrears and pays their 2015 property tax assessment before June this year will receive concessionary treatment.

The territory has also announced that it intends, with the assistance of the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, to undertake a study of the costs and benefits of the numerous tax incentives on offer to new and existing businesses. The territory has estimated that these cost about 25 percent of total tax revenue each year. These take the form of tax holidays; accelerated depreciation allowances; loss carry-forward allowances; and waivers of stamp duty, undeveloped land tax, and border charges, among others.

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