Lower House adopts tourist accommodation tax bill

By Carlena Chevalier

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The tourist accommodation tax bill, which will apply to hotels, guesthouses, private villas and Airbnb rentals, was passed by the Lower House of Parliament this week.

The law paves the way for the imposition of a tax for each guest, per night, on accommodation owned or operated by people who earn income from the tourism sector in Antigua and Barbuda.

The new fee, which was originally scheduled to come into effect on March 1, 2020, will help establish a Climate Resilience and Development Fund (CDR), the government said.

It imposed a charge of $ 3 per person per night for room rates up to $ 150 per night, or $ 5 per person per night for room rates over $ 150 per night.

However, children five and under will be exempt from the tax.

The tax commissioner must inform a person who provides tourist accommodation to a guest of his or her payment deadline. When that person is also registered under the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax Act, the payment period is the same as that person’s taxable period.

Within 21 days of the end of each payment period, these individuals must file a document with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), which shows a return for the payment period, a statement of the number of rentals or services that occurred during the period, income from rentals or services and any other additional information required by the Commissioner.

A payment reflecting the information contained in this document for the specific period must also be made.

Failure to keep records and accounts in accordance with this section will be found guilty of an offense and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of EC $ 5,000, while a person who threatens, assaults , obstructs or interferes with an officer acting in the performance of his duty under this Act, commits an offense and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $ 20,000 or to imprisonment for one year or both of this fine and of this imprisonment.

There have been concerns that the tax will increase the cost of vacations in the country, thus deterring potential visitors, but the government hopes to use the extra money to fund projects that will build climate resilience and provide a buffer for public finances in the country. times of natural disasters.

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