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Smokers and drinkers to be hit by tax rises

Smokers and drinkers will have to pay extra sin taxes, it was revealed on Friday.

Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, said duty on tobacco, wine, spirits and beer will all be increased.

He added that the higher taxes were expected to generate an extra $1.5 million to $2.5 million in revenue.

One of the major increases will be on loose tobacco, where duty will jump $200 to $500 a kilogram.

Mr Furbert said the hike on loose tobacco was “to achieve effective duty parity with the rate for cigarettes”.

He explained there had been a loophole for loose tobacco which resulted in a loss of revenue of between $3 million and $5 million.

Duty on cigarettes will increase by three cents per cigarette — up from 37 cents to 40 cents.

Importers will now pay $80 per carton of 200 cigarettes.

Duty on beers and ciders will increase by ten cents from $1.26 to $1.36 a litre.

Wines will increase from $5 a litre to $6 per litre and spirits will go up from $31.35 per litre to $32.

However, Mr Furbert said several goods would get duty relief.

Farmers will be allowed to import goods for commercial food preparation duty-free.

Mr Furbert said the move would “help to reduce local food production cost allowing local farmers to better compete with cheaper overseas imports”.

Mr Furbert was speaking as he presented proposed changes to customs tariff legislation.

Mr Furbert said that to help cut the cost for school maintenance, the duty-free list of school supplies had been expanded.

The list of items for schools which will attract no fees includes light fittings, security cameras, plumbing and drywall supplies, computer network equipment, and cabling, doors, windows and telephones.

Mr Furbert said legislation, which gave duty relief for chemicals and equipment to tackle oil pollution would also be expanded to allow all materials designed to combat pollution into the country duty free.

The environmental engineer in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will certify the goods eligible for this relief.

The legislation was also amended to allow duty-free import of medical supplies and goods used to help people with mental, physical or learning disabilities.

There will be no duty on walking canes, medical therapy braces, artificial limbs and oxygen cylinders and regulators.

Aids to vision and hearing will also be duty-free.

There will also be a decrease in duty on footwear from 12.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

Duty parity: Wayne Furbert has explained there had been a loophole for loose tobacco, which resulted in a loss of revenue of between $3 million and $5 million

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Published March 25, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 25, 2019 at 7:25 am)

Smokers and drinkers to be hit by tax rises

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