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Vincentians may have to pay more environmental tax on imported vehicles

Vincentians may have to pay more environmental tax on imported vehicles


Cabinet ministers are said to be looking at the possibility of increasing the environmental tax levied on reconditioned vehicles of a certain age imported into the country.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, during a recent press briefing, said that currently there is a discussion before Cabinet which is suggesting an increase on the environmental levy on vehicles over four years old, while they are also entertaining {{more}}the idea of reducing the age of the vehicles to three years old.

“People hearing about the environmental levy on vehicles they would say, ‘No, it is high already’, and I understand,” said Gonsalves, who added that this country is taking climate change seriously.

The Prime Minister said that while duty-free concessions may be granted to operators of buses transporting secondary school students, Cabinet is not giving duty free concessions on vehicles beyond a particular age which persons want to import to transport schoolchildren.

All vehicles imported into the country unless specifically exempted under Cabinet Concession or other enactment attract different percentages of Import Duty (0%, 5%, 10%, 20% and 35%), Import VAT – (15%) and Excise Tax -(35%, 40%, 45%, and 60%).

In addition, the various categories of vehicles attract environmental tax when they are more than four years old. Once over four years old, and the tax is calculated based on the engine capacity e.g. 1500cc, 1800cc, 2000cc and more than 2000cc.

Gonsalves said that it is important to look at vehicle importation as the country fights the impact of climate change as it relates to vehicle emissions.

“We have to be sensitive, as the bulk of the problems come from outside in terms of global warming,” said Gonsalves, adding that there are other important areas critical to climate change.

He said that the Government is also looking at issues like Styrofoam product use, exploring the possibility of introducing geothermal and solar energy on a large scale, as well as other things to address climate change.(LC)