JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Stamp duty rates on alcoholic beverages have been reduced, effective June 1, as part of the Government’s strategy for the systematic unification of the rates of taxation.
  • Importers of beverages such as wines, liquors and cordials will now enjoy a US$00.60 reduction in stamp duty from US$1.60 to US$1.
  • A unified tax rate of $1,120 per litre now exists for all sectors and took effect for the hotel sector on June 1, but has been in place for all other sectors since April 22.

Stamp duty rates on alcoholic beverages have been reduced, effective June 1, as part of the Government’s strategy for the systematic unification of the rates of taxation.

Importers of beverages such as wines, liquors and cordials will now enjoy a US$00.60 reduction in stamp duty from US$1.60 to US$1 while beers have been reduced from US$00.90 to US$00.60 per litre.

A unified tax rate of $1,120 per litre now exists for all sectors and took effect for the hotel sector on June 1, but has been in place for all other sectors since April 22.

The disclosure was made by Collector of Customs at the Jamaica Customs Agency, Karlene Henry while speaking at a JIS Think Tank held on Monday, June 2, at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

Mrs. Henry told JIS that “prior to April 22, 2014, the distributive sectors and the hotel sector were required to pay different amounts with regards to Special Consumption Tax (SCT). The distributive sector was required to pay $960 while the hotel sector would pay $700 per litre for SCT”.

During his budget presentation in April 17, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips said this change was necessary as “we have found that the differential rates increased the administrative costs as the system was not simple, but rather introduced that added complication to the administration.”

He added that this measure is expected to yield approximately $844 million in revenue.

Addressing other changes which were effected on June 1, Mrs. Henry said that government ministries, departments and agencies will now be required to make direct payment of General Consumption Tax (GCT) on imported goods to Jamaica Customs.

She added that there will now be no withholding of tax but entities will now be required to pay up front.

Meanwhile, Technical Specialist at the Tax Administration Jamaica, Donna Newman, informed that a reimbursement system has been put in place for all Government ministries, departments, and agencies that will now be required to pay GCT directly to customs.

“When they pay at Customs, they will be reimbursed by the ministry, and the Accountant General Department and the Ministry of Finance have forged a link as to how to pay the GCT on the other purchases,” Ms. Newman explained.

Also, effective June 1, under the productive sector input relief incentive effective, the car rental sector will be allowed to import 1000 vehicles per annum with a maximum CC rating of 2,500 and Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) of US $35,000.

Mrs. Henry further informed that tour operators will now be able to import 20 vehicles per annum with the similar CC rating of 2,500 and CIF of US$35,000.

She affirmed that Customs is ready to deal with the influx of queries and new business which is expected to arise from implementation of the reform measures.