Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2016 Contents BG4 BUDGET PREVIEW
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 29 • 2016
Establishment of the T&T Revenue Authority
(TTRA) to replace the Board of Inland Revenue
(BIR) is entirely dependent on whether the
current PNM administration has done any
groundwork over the course of the last year it
has been in office.
So says Andre Henry, former chairman of the T&T Revenue
Authority Management Company Ltd, the company set up
under the Manning-led PNM administration charged with
operationalising the proposed entity.
Responding to questions via email, Henry said setting up
the TTRA over the next 12 months is, to a large extent, depend-
ent on several variables.
"Firstly, has preparatory work re-started since the change
of government last year? Secondly, is the format the same as
proposed back in 2009-2010? This will have implications for
the legislative requirements to establish the RA."
Henry added that serious consideration had to be given to
staffing requirements and roles at the proposed authority.
"What arrangements are proposed for staffing? Under the
previous PNM administration, the proposal was to terminate
all the existing staff and employ new staff, with the old staff
applying for positions in the new organisation."
Questioned as to whether he had been approached by the
current administration to provide any counsel or advice, or
to act in any capacity within a proposed revenue authority,
Henry said: "My views have not been sought."
Asked about whether he felt a new Revenue Authority would
be able to treat with the current issues of tax administration
and collection any different from the current BIR, Henry said
a few minor adjustments could have major results.
"There are some fairly standard disciplines and work processes
that if implemented could see a significant increase in both
coverage and compliance," he said.
The Business Guardian reached out to members of the busi-
ness community to get their feedback on the current corporation
tax regime and whether they anticipated any changes to it.
Andrew Sabga, deputy chairman of the ANSA McAL Group
said he believed the Government would hold firm on any
changes to the current corporation tax regime.
"I do not envision the Government making any changes to
the current corporation tax regime. To increase corporation
taxes at this time would be counterproductive to stimulating
investments in the local economy which are need to keep the
wheels of business turning," he said.
Sabga said he did believe, however, that the Government
would continue with various other austerity measures.
"Certainly, given its reduction in fiscal revenue, it is not in
a position to spend as it could have before and this may very
well translate into reductions in transfers and subsidies and
small budgets at different ministries."
Joseph Rahael, managing director of Amera Caribbean
Development Ltd, one of the largest property development
companies in the country, echoed sentiments similar to Sabga.
"It is my hope that corporation tax is left alone. Any upward
adjustment in corporation taxes would place a tremendous
burden on businesses operating in today s economic environ-
ment and would have a strong negative impact on the local
business community. We may very well even witness businesses
shutting up their operations as a result of any additional tax
burdens," he said.
Rahael suggested that, instead of making changes to the
current corporation tax regime, the Government should focus
on creating a more diversified economy.
"For far too long successive governments have paid lip
service to the much needed economic diversification of T&T.
The Government should be focused on creating the necessary
infrastructure and incentives that would allow businesses to
grow and thrive and in so doing, they would actually be broad-
ening the tax base and diversifying their revenue stream.
"Also, fostering business development would do much for
the foreign exchange situation in our country. More businesses
being able to export their products would be beneficial to T&T
as a whole."
Taxing issues for
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