BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Understanding the challenges being faced by international shipping agencies as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and its subsequent impact on the timely importation of goods into the Federation, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has taken the decision to extend its duty free concession on goods to January 31, 2021.
“My Government has been attentive to the concerns from various local couriers, shipping agents and their customers, as it relates to the delivery of goods by suppliers in the United States to their facilities in Miami” said Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris in his 2021 New Year’s Day Address to the nation. “The said goods should have arrived in the Federation in December, 2020. However, due to backlogs in Miami, these goods did not arrive by the December 31, 2020 deadline. Accordingly, our citizens and residents could not benefit from the usual US$200.00 concessionary allowance on their imports. In light of this, it is agreed that to facilitate non-commercial entities importing goods, the allowances will be extended to January 31, 2021.”
This means that gift packages of foodstuff up to 400 pounds in weight are allowed free of duty and taxes, and non-commercial imports are granted duty-free allowance of EC$540 or US$200 off the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of goods.
Mindful of the economic impact of the pandemic locally, the Team Unity Government has also introduced new measures designed to ease the burden on business entities.
“We will extend the due date for the payment of Businesses and Occupation Licenses for all Businesses from January 31, 2021, until March 31, 2021,” said Dr. Harris. “The Inland Revenue Department will work with affected businesses to help them stay current with their existing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter low-interest payment plans to ease their cash flow situations. Taxi and tour operators unable to pay their Businesses and Occupation Licenses for 2020 and 2021 will be allowed to license their vehicles provided that they enter into a payment plan for the settlement of any outstanding Businesses and Occupation Licenses.”
In his 2021 Budget Address, Dr. Harris announced the extension of nine of the measures in the Government’s $120-million stimulus package.
Some of the stimulus measures that were extended to June 2021 are: The removal of VAT and Import Duty on hygiene items; the removal of Import Duty and Customs Service Charges on vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, cough and cold preparations and vitamins; waiver of payments for the consumption of water for individuals who have been laid off or have experienced a reduction in earnings as a consequence of COVID-19; 24 percent reduction of the Corporate Income Tax rate from 33 percent to 25 percent for businesses that retain at least 75 percent of their employees and the reduction of the unincorporated business tax rate by 50 percent.