Remove 7% Online Tax – Kamla

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OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on the government to remove the online 7% purchase to help small and medium size businesses given the current forex crisis.

In a statement on Wednesday, she said, “I call on the government to remove the seven percent online purchase tax as a tangible measure to ease the onerous cost of living and assist small and medium- sized businesses in the procurement of essential supplies for their operations. 

“The implementation of this tax has furthered the financial pressures on emerging entrepreneurs, existing SME’s and enterprising citizens while also being a contrary approach to dealing with the foreign exchange crisis.”

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She said he statement by Finance Minister Colm Imbert that there was “an explosion in online shopping over the last several years” suggests that the government is considering increasing the online tax as a high-handed and punitive measure.

Persad-Bissessar said, “This would negatively impact the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) sector, fledgling entrepreneurs and sole business operators who conduct many of their purchases online for speed, savings, flexibility and efficiency.”

She added that local shipping companies were on record as saying that there is no “explosion” of online shopping.

Persad-Bissessar said, “This government should look at other sources of increasing income, such as acting upon the many failed promises they have made over the years about diversifying the economy. They should also aggressively institute measures to boost the declining energy sector and to return the Point Lisas Industrial Estate to its fullest potential.

“The United National Congress has a policy of encouraging entrepreneurship and is strongly against any tax that punishes ambition and the growth of free enterprises, which by extension creates jobs and adds to the overall economy.

“Government must increase foreign exchange earnings – not punish creative and ambitious citizens.”


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