by Linda Straker
- No new taxes when 2021 budget was presented
- List of fees and services provided by Government will be updated
Finance Minister Gregory Bowen did not announce any new taxes when the 2021 budget was presented but in the first quarter of 2021 the list of fees and services provided by Government will be updated as part of measures to improve revenue collection.
“There will be a strong drive to collect tax arrears. Our revenue collecting agencies will continue their efforts to improve the administration and revenues to not only ensure that we all pay our fair share, but to also facilitate an improved taxpayer experience,” Finance Minister Gregory Bowen told the House when he presented the 2021 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure on Wednesday, 2 December 2020.
“Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance will undertake a review of all Government services and fees by the first quarter of next year and make recommendations to the Cabinet for updating this list of fees and services,” he said while speaking under the subtopic of revenue measures.
Government, according to the estimates, collected less than expected projected fees in 2020 and has revised the target for 2021. The total sum of EC$13,856,042 was collected while the projection was for EC$19,270,461.
There are dozens of fees charged for Government services which range from photocopying to expunging of criminal records, as well as market and marriage fees. The 2021 target is to earn EC$14,886,578 in fees and some of the areas for increased earnings are from marriage, naturalisation, market, bus stickers, fish market user, hospital and expunging of criminal records fees.
In 2020, Government received marriage fees of EC$23,651 which is almost 50% less than the projection of EC$49,381. The 2021 projection is to earn EC$25,410. Naturalisation fees for 2020 were EC$261,651 which is less than the estimated target of EC$404,163 while for 2021 the target is EC$280,725.
Fees to expunge criminal records were set at EC$4,439 but Government only earned EC$1,791 and the target for 2021 is EC$1,924. Under the Ministry of Health, Government has set an increase of EC$$121,759 for hospital fees in 2021 which is an increase to the EC$113,330 earned in 2020.