BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - CONTRARY to statements circulating in the public’s domain, Minister of Finance Dr. Timothy Harris is reassuring the general public that there would be no increase in business taxes or reinstitution of personal income tax.
In addressing the National Assembly today (Nov. 17), Dr. Harris lamented that “it is untrue” that his administration is seeking to make changes to tax level on the island. Instead, he disclosed that it is a necessary amendment to ring St. Kitts and Nevis in line with the OECD's recommendations in order to not be Blacklisted.
“My administration has no intention to introduce personal income tax or increase corporation taxes,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
In circulating the notice last week, many were caught by surprise with the announcement that the Government would bring an amendment to the Income Tax Legislation currently on the books.
But Dr. Harris told the National Assembly that an in-depth reading of the Bill would indicate that the Government is only seeking to “clarify the application of taxation compliance with international good governance standards”.
The proposed changes, according to Dr. Harris, are expected to mitigate against any damage to St. Kitts and Nevis at the international level.
“The amendment proposed will ensure our commitment with the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and avoid the reputational damage and consequential financing costs which come with blacklisting,” Dr. Harris explained.
St. Kitts and Nevis, he noted, was only removed from the list of non-cooperative jurisdiction earlier this year after amendments were made to several pieces of legislation.
“As a responsible Government and highly respected member of the international community, my Government cannot shirk from our obligations even when they are inconvenient,” the Finance Minister added.