Industrial standoff in Antigua over tax adjustment

The Antigua & Barbuda Trade Union Congress has warned of widespread industrial unrest, while the cash-strapped government said it is merely seeking to fully enforce the Personal Income Tax, which currently applies to wages and salaries above a certain threshold.

Last week, the TUC President Kim Burdon said the entire membership is displeased with the plan that has been outlined by government officials during stakeholder consultations.

“We feel that the government is really pulling at straws here and looking in an area that would not necessary be appropriate,” Burdon said, while cautioning about the possible impact this could have on workers.

But, Revenue Reform Manager Everett Christian yesterday said they are merely trying to close a tax loophole.

“…If they can provide counter-proposals, tell us how we can close these loopholes, how we can make this system more efficient, we are prepared to take these recommendations on board,” Christian urged.

Minister of Finance Harold Lovell has said that benefits and allowances have mushroomed out of control while the salaries and wages of some individuals have been reduced.

“There are now many persons in Antigua & Barbuda whose benefits and allowances exceed their declared salaries and wages,” the minister stated.

“…We have been informed of some businesses that pay a portion of salary and allowances overseas for their local staff. This is taxable income that must be reported to the Inland Revenue Department.

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