The government has revealed that more than 14,000 Saint Lucians will benefit from another timely fiscal intervention, which has been orchestrated and implemented to provide some economic relief to citizens.
According to official sources, effective January 1, 2023, Saint Lucians earning up to EC$25,000 per year will be exempt from income tax.
This week, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre introduced the tax reforms to the lower house of St. Lucia’s Parliament, which sources said were well received in the run-up to the holiday season.
In an effort to reduce the rising cost of living caused by adverse global trends, escalating business processes and other mitigating factors, the government has taken measures to help citizens cushion the economic blunt effects. It is estimated that Saint Lucia ratepayers will collectively save over $14 million per year.
“Because of these changes, the proposed scenario is that the government is going to lose $3.5 million in revenue in the first quarter, between January and March, because of these changes,” Prime Minister Pierre told lawmakers during the meeting. the parliamentary session.
However, the MP for Castries East claimed that ‘we are putting that money back in the hands of the consumer to use as disposition income’.
The tax relief is expected to benefit private sector workers and civil servants in grades I to V, who earn up to $25,000 a year.
Prime Minister Pierre recalled that recently, during a conversation with an elderly lady, she said she was satisfied with the 4% increase that the government allocated to the fund for pensioners.
Stating that these companies help define the characteristic module of his tenure, he said: “We wish we could have done more…and we want to do more, but the fact is incremental, we are doing it incrementally and it benefits you. ”
Reports indicate that the new tax relief will benefit more than 14,000 St. Lucian workers.
Meanwhile, tourism stakeholders are awaiting news on the Tourism Incentives Bill which was launched last March, after ministry officials conducted a series of consultations involving stakeholders from all sub-sectors. of the tourism industry. The purpose of this exercise was to assess the legislative landscape for tourism development, as well as to gather input to inform the proposed Tourism Development Bill.
It is expected that the bill will facilitate the inclusive, resilient and sustainable development of the tourism industry by providing certification, special incentives, tax breaks and exemptions for certified tourism service providers and other related matters .
The bill recognizes the importance of tourism in the social and economic fabric of the country and, among other issues, seeks to address some major factors. These include facilitating the dynamic and diverse nature of the tourism industry, the development of all tourism sub-sectors and the growth and expansion of niche tourism products and services; supporting inclusive development, i.e. engaging, involving and making special arrangements for local tourism investors and providing appropriate and fair incentives; and making it easier to do business in the tourism industry through the establishment of an efficient incentive application and approval process.
Additionally, the bill will seek to promote quality standards for tourism products and services, including consistent and high levels of customer service, while protecting health and safety; and encourage the development of climate-resilient tourism businesses and support environmental conservation and management practices (of cultural, heritage/historical, ecological, natural resources, etc.) in the tourism business sector.
Notably, the bill also aims to provide specific support for industry resilience, i.e. aid for rapid recovery after a disaster or after a crisis by including special allowances, including relief taxes on payment for all international advertising and marketing; post-disaster and recovery tax relief.