Bill seeks to lower, broaden tax on drink containers

The Minister of Finance yesterday tabled an amendment to the Customs Act seeking to lower the rate of the Environmental Tax charged on beverage containers while widening the range of bottles, cans and other receptacles that will attract the tax.

“The Customs (Amendment) Bill which I tabled today is really intended to effect certain changes in the Customs Act with regards to the Environmental Tax. This tax is charged on containers of imported alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and the tax under the legislation that is currently in force is applied at a rate of $10 per container,” Dr. Ashni Singh said in parliament.

“The bill reduces the rate of that tax from $10 per container to $5 per container. It also addresses another issue. Currently the tax is applied only on imported beverages and not on domestically manufactured beverages,” he said.

He said that the non-application of the tax to domestic manufacturers is an issue that has come up in Caricom. “Some have argued that the application of the tax to importers of beverages and not locally manufactured beverages runs contrary to some of our Caricom obligations and so the application of the tax across the board will address that issue,” he said.

The amendment when passed will also remove cardboard boxes from the list of taxable items under the Act.

The Bill said that the Environmental Tax will be levied on every unit of metal, plastic or glass container of any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage imported into the country and every unit of resin, metal, plastic or glass container to be used in the manufacture in Guyana of any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. The tax will be paid to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the same time as duties on the items.

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