From left: international tax administration consultant Grenville A. John; Permanent Secretary in Anguilla’s Department of Finance, Aidan A. Harrigan; and specialist in tax administration reform and VAT/GST implementation, Mark Waddington.

ANGUILLA--Anguilla’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACOCI) hosted an informational presentation of Anguilla’s three-phased restructuring tax structure plan at the La Vue Hotel conference centre, on Tuesday, July 9. ACOCI President Sandra Lovell welcomed the many business community members and stakeholders present.

The objective of the goods and services tax (GST) is to establish a modern and efficient tax system in Anguilla and an effective and fair tax administration. The implementation of the comprehensive tax reform project will be phased in over a four-year period beginning in September and culminating in the adoption of the GST in 2023.

International tax administration consultant Grenville John discussed the background and details of the three phases. He said, “The partners involved in formulating the plan include the government of Anguilla, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.”

John said Phase 1 would reform the international trade taxation structure in Anguilla. Anguilla is part of the global community and therefore must stay abreast of the international trade focus on free trade and the eradication of import duties. He said the current tax structure in Anguilla was outdated and highlighted numerous instances of outdated trade and Customs regulations still being used. He stressed that Phase I would be a revenue-neutral exercise. Slated for January 2021, Phase 2 entails the partial introduction of the GST, with Phase 3 seeing its full adoption scheduled for January 2023.

Specialist in tax administration reform and value-added tax (VAT)/GST implementation, Mark Waddington said the interim goods tax introduced in Phase 1 would be repealed at the beginning of Phase 2 and would be replaced by the GST, as would the accommodations tax, the communications levy and the environmental levy. The GST will be tailored to Anguillian requirements, and will be designed to encourage investment. The GST standard rate will be appropriate to regional benchmarks, and there will be relief on standard foodstuffs as well as potential exemptions for medical services and medicines.

He said the objective of the adoption of a GST in Anguilla was to broaden the tax base on the consumption of its goods and services while reducing its reliance on Customs import duties. It will mobilise revenue from Anguilla’s own domestic resources, facilitate business investment and meet the obligations to international stakeholders such as the Caribbean Development Bank.

Waddington said, “There are roughly 200 nation states in the world, and 166 of them have GST/VAT taxes in place and there is a reason for that. These taxes work in a way that no other taxes work, and their success has grown in their effectiveness.”

Following the presentations, the audience shared their opinions of the programme, offering different views of how revenue could be collected.