Breaks put performers centre stage
Home-grown musicians have a better chance of taking centre stage after tax breaks for venues that hire Bermudian artists were announced in yesterday's Budget.
Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, said he wanted to boost the number of bookings for local performers with a three-year payroll tax concession.
He also offered payroll tax relief to some retailers and extended the reprieve on customs duty for hotels and restaurants trying to breathe new life into their businesses.
Mr Dickinson said: “Entertainment plays a very important role in the culture and development of Bermuda.
“We have seen a decrease in entertainment over the years and note with concern that our entertainers have very little business, if any, during our off season.
“Therefore, the Government will be providing a concession to all businesses that hire local musicians and entertainers by removing the employer payroll tax for the next three years.
“The Government believes that this concession will encourage more businesses to hire local entertainers and encourage more Bermudians to become involved in this extremely important industry.”
Stephen Todd, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said yesterday: “We are hoping that this is an incentive to get local entertainers to engage again with the hospitality industry.
“I think the focus should be on entertainers, not just musicians. We want to provide a true entertainment experience that our guests are looking for with a Bermudian flavour.”
Mr Dickinson also told MPs: “The retail industry employs nearly 3,500 Bermudians and the Government is very much aware of the pressure on certain segments of this sector.
“In an effort to maintain and increase employment levels in this sector, the Government will provide targeted payroll tax relief to specific businesses by providing a concessionary employer payroll tax rate of seven per cent for all retailers whose payroll is above $500,000 and whose primary sales are in fashion, shoes, jewellery and perfume.”
The Minister of Finance said customs duty brought in about $235 million, or 21 per cent of total Government revenues.
But he revealed that the Government will extend the Hotels (Temporary Customs Duty Relief) Act 1991 and the Restaurants (Temporary Customs Duty Relief) Act 2002 for another five years.
Mr Dickinson explained: “These acts provide a zero rate of customs duty on imported capital goods intended for the renovation and refurbishment of restaurants and hotels and many properties have benefited from these Acts over the years.”