Chamber division voices opposition to duty rate rise proposal – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Chamber division voices opposition to duty rate rise proposal

A Bermuda Chamber of Commerce division has added its voice to calls for proposed duty rate increases on imported personal items to be scrapped.

The Chamber's Shipping Division has had several meetings in recent weeks as a result of the proposed hike, which could see tax raised to 35 percent, the same as the tax imposed at the airport. In some cases it could be the equivalent of a 100 percent increase in tax.

Spokesman Steve Thomson, of Mailboxes Unlimited, said: “It is counterproductive to raise taxes on citizens in times of hardship. Bermudians are suffering now with reduced hours, layoffs and less money in general. To increase taxes now will injure businesses leading to layoffs and cost Bermudians significantly more money via duty.

“Tax increases that focus on personal imports, while seeking to address one problem will fail, while simultaneously creating another problem.” And he believes small businesses in Bermuda will also be inadvertently affected.

Small businesses often consolidate containers to import goods, and these shipments will be less frequent in his view, as duty rates increase the number of shipments will diminish.

“The cost of inventory and shipping would increase for these businesses and further compound the ongoing recession, forcing even more small businesses to close while escalating inflation,” he said in the statement.

“Increasing taxes in times of recession decreases business activity and leads to reduced employment,” he said. “It hurts individuals who are already suffering and reduces competition for specific businesses allowing for increased prices, which is inflationary.

“Government should look at reducing the duty charged to retailers and maintain the current structure on imported goods. This will have the same effect of assisting the retailers, but will not punish local residents or injure the shipping, courier and freight companies in Bermuda.”

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Published February 13, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated February 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm)

Chamber division voices opposition to duty rate rise proposal

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