Tax Loophole Costing Government Millions In Revenue

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Thursday 26th April, 2018 –With millions of dollars lost in revenue due to a loop hole in the Non-citizens Landholder’s License Fees, government is taking steps to curb the exploitation that has been ongoing for almost two decades.

A fee of $400 is charged to Antigua and Barbuda firms, whose directors constitute more that 33% of all directors acquire real property.

Non-citizens are required to pay five percent of the value of the land to be acquired, which would normally be multiples of $400. But for decades, many non-citizens have found a way to beat the system by using the arrangements set out for local companies, resulting in them paying way less than they are required to.

As Cabinet spokesperson Melford Nicolas explains, the non-citizens are being assisted by local lawyers to circumvent the process, causing the Inland Revenue Department to lose approximately three million dollars annually.

Through the use of technology, Minister Melford Nicholas says upgrades are being carried in key divisions including the property evaluation department, with the aim of improving tax collection.

The amendment to close the tax loop hole is expected to be tabled in parliament at its next sitting.