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Antigua And Barbuda Increases Scope Of Sales Tax

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration, Harold Lovell has announced that the lower house of parliament has approved an amendment to the island’s sales tax that will increase the tax take to put the country’s finances on a sustainable footing.

Under the Antigua Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) Amendment Regulations the list of zero-rated items is to be reduced to 29 categories in order to generate additional revenues. Responding to criticism, the Minister asserted that this was still comparatively more than many other regional countries.

The country’s fiscal consolidation programme has been developed with the assistance of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre and the International Monetary Fund.

When the amendment regulations are passed by the Upper House, the new schedule of zero-rated goods will take effect from March 1, 2010. The list of items that will not attract ABST includes basic foods such as rice, flour, bread, cooking oil, chicken and fish. Among the other categories are fruits and vegetables, baby foods, baby diapers, medicines and pharmaceuticals, and text books. Additionally, more than 100 agricultural inputs are exempted from the ABST.