Imbert: Govt collected $2.4 billion from Tax Amnesty

Oil com­pa­nies have con­tributed the most rev­enue dur­ing the 2019 tax amnesty that took place be­tween June 15 and Sep­tem­ber 30.

Speak­ing at the “Spot­light on the Bud­get” yes­ter­day Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert high­light­ed the seg­ments of so­ci­ety that made up the tax rev­enue.

He said: “Look at that, $750 mil­lion came in, in tax­es, just in that three months this year, from the oil com­pa­nies.”

Apart from the $750 mil­lion that came from oil com­pa­nies, Im­bert said cor­po­ra­tion tax­es amount­ed to ap­prox­i­mate­ly $600 mil­lion and tax­es from for­eign com­pa­nies came in at $431 mil­lion.

Im­bert said the rest of tax rev­enue came from in­di­vid­u­als.

The 2019 Tax Amnesty gained the coun­try $2.4 bil­lion and was ap­prox­i­mate­ly $1.6 bil­lion more than Im­bert ex­pect­ed to re­ceive.

He said: “The Tax Amnesty, I was amazed. In 2016, we had a tax amnesty and we had tar­get­ed $500 mil­lion we got $750 mil­lion so that when we de­cid­ed to have a Tax Amnesty this year as we pre­pared for the rev­enue au­thor­i­ty, I thought maybe we would get $700 mil­lion, $800 mil­lion tops.”

Im­bert said it is usu­al­ly a norm for the coun­try to en­ter in­to the bud­get pe­ri­od with an over­draft of 95 per cent.

The min­is­ter added: “It’s a fea­ture of T&T that per­ma­nent sec­re­taries wait un­til Ju­ly and Au­gust and then they wake up and we start to get mass­es of files com­ing to the Min­istry of Fi­nance be­cause they’re all try­ing to spend what re­mains in their al­lo­ca­tion.”

Im­bert not­ed that be­cause cheques are writ­ten in Sep­tem­ber, they have to be dealt with, in Oc­to­ber or No­vem­ber— which make them “two of the most dif­fi­cult months for a gov­ern­ment.”

How­ev­er, Im­bert said that be­cause of the rev­enues gen­er­at­ed from the tax amnesty, the over­draft per­cent­age dropped to 82 per cent.

Im­bert al­so took time to men­tion the in­vest­ments to come to To­ba­go.

He said he “heard a com­men­ta­tor com­plain­ing that we are on­ly al­lo­cat­ing $200 mil­lion for cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment in To­ba­go.”

He not­ed, how­ev­er, that the cost to build the new air­port ter­mi­nal in To­ba­go is $870 mil­ion.

He added that State agen­cies like WASA will be spend­ing $1bil­ion in To­ba­go in the fis­cal year 2020 for in cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture.

Im­bert said, “So when you add that up, $1 bil­lion from oth­er agen­cies, $200 mil­lion to the House of As­sem­bly di­rect­ly, $300 mil­lion loan ap­proval, that’s $1.5 bil­lion and then you put in the air­port that’s $2 bil­lion dol­lars.”

He not­ed that the ac­tu­al in­vest­ment is “ten times the num­bers that I’m hear­ing from the crit­ics.”

The min­is­ter not­ed that the air­port ter­mi­nal will be a state- of- the- art fa­cil­i­ty and the up­com­ing con­struc­tion in To­ba­go will bring the is­land “in­to the mod­ern age.”