by Natario McKenzie
Tribune Business reporter
COLLECTIONS of stamp taxes on financial and realty transactions "surged two-fold", from $109.5m in fiscal year 2017/18 to $225.3m in fiscal year 2018/19, outpacing the budgeted $143.7m the Ministry of Finance's fourth quarter fiscal snapshot and report on budgetary performance revealed yesterday.
The report stated that: "Specifically, stamp tax on realty transactions increased more than three-fold to $137.6m, on account of the establishment of a ten percent rate on transactions over $100,000, which became effective July 1, 2018, which had replaced the VAT charged on realty deals."
The report went on to note: "Stamp taxes on banking transactions accounted for $46.1m or 20.5 percent of these receipts."
Gaming taxes increased marginally, by $2.6m or seven percent, to $39.8m in fiscal year 2018/19 which represented 56.8 percent of the budget.
"Performance was constrained by the concession granted to the gaming house industry to submit taxes at the old rate for the first half of the fiscal year, following the court settlement, and the incidence of outstanding payments at year end," the report noted.
"Although general stamp taxes improved to $9.2m from $4.4m in the previous fiscal year, they comprised only 32.7 percent of the budget target. This outcome was due to the non-introduction of the five percent stamp tax on gaming patrons which was estimated to add an additional $20m in receipts."
The report also noted that customs and other import duties were higher by $12.7m, although $52.2m below budget expectations.
"The $3.4m year-over-year gain in departure taxes was $0.6m less than the budget, but basically in line with the increased level of visitor arrivals to The Bahamas. By contrast, taxes on exports tapered by $5.8m to $12.5m, and by a lesser $1.4m from the budget target," the report stated.