St George’s University (SGU) and the Government of Grenada have negotiated a new agreement that will bring significant changes in the way it conducts business. This will impact especially the student population who are housed at dormitories, and the take home salary of non-Grenadian staff.
The agreement, which received the approval of the Lower House of Parliament at today’s sitting was presented to the House by Education Minister Anthony Boatswain. He said the new agreement reflects the university’s commitment to government’s ‘shared sacrifice’ message.
One of the significant changes is the provision for all non-Grenadian staff whose earnings qualifies them to pay income tax to comply with the legislation. Previously, all non-Grenadian staff at the university were exempted from income tax. Boatswain told the House that the tax rate on salary will be at 15%.
As part of its initiatives to raise revenue, government, as of 1 January 2014, approved legislation which provide for all workers earning between EC$36,000 and EC$60,000 to be subject to income tax at 15%, while those beyond EC$60,000 are subject to 30% income tax.
Another significant change is the application of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on university housing. “The students who reside in the dormitories will now be subjected to paying that VAT on accommodation, which previously did not exist,” Boatswain explained to the members.
Earlier in the year the VAT legislation was amended to provide for all persons or companies who own properties that earn more than VAT threshold of EC$120,000 per year, to register to pay VAT, even if the accommodation is rented for residential use. The amendment to the Value Added Tax legislation which came into as of 1 August requires all suppliers of accommodation to register and pay a 10% VAT.
Under the law, ‘accommodation’ includes: a supply of accommodation in a building, part of a building, a group of buildings (including the structures within the cartilage thereof) that constitute a hotel, motel, boarding house, guest house, villa, inn, student housing dormitories, apartment complex, private house or a room or similar establishment in which lodging is regularly or normally provided for a daily, weekly, monthly, or other periodic considerations.
Accommodation also includes a supply of accommodation in, or the right to occupy as a residence, a caravan, houseboat, camping site, boat, marina berth or similar place, on terms commensurate with those of landlord and tenant if the accommodation is provided to an individual, (alone or together with other individuals).
The Bill which also affect the concession received and other areas of operations, will now have to get the approval of the Upper House or Senate and then be published in the Gazette for it to be enforced.
By Linda Straker