The working class will continue to be taxed highly for personal income tax for some time until the country’s economy picks up.
This is because the reduction of the personal income tax rate for the working class at this time would be impossible as the country’s development and recurrent budget depends heavily on it.
That’s the response from the Prime Minister (PM) James Marape to the Member for North Fly district James Donald in parliament, when the member asked about possible ways to reduce the rate of personal income tax at a time when the country is in a bad economic state induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What I think is that we should cut down the tax for personal income tax for everyone, reduce it down to half and what we can do is we can put up a mechanism to control the collection and collect the envelope, because the moment you cut tax you give the purchasing power to the people. Our people will have enough money to spend,” said the member for North Fly.
The PM in response said the personal income tax has gone past corporate tax and the GST (Goods and Services Tax) over time to be the leading tax revenue source for the country.
“It means that our workers are now supporting the country; however, at this stage we cannot afford to make this very critical call as yet,” said the PM.
“The demand for money to service our development aspirations as well as recurrent aspirations for us in the country is almost at seventeen to nineteen billion Kina each year, but the actual money we collect in our country is about ten billion Kina. So, it will be irresponsible for me to just say drop the personal income tax.”
“When our economy is bigger and corporate tax picks us up and the economy is expended, then we can look into areas to cut our personal income tax. If we reduce it, then the revenue envelope that we collect around ten or eleven billion Kina will come down,” said Marape.
However, Marape said there are initiatives being taken by the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) and the government to ensure the tax burden is shared to with the corporate sector as well so that in the near future, the reduction of income tax can be a possibility.
He said the IRC has started reforming and will bring everybody into the tax radar, so that those companies that have been avoiding paying tax, will be ordered to start paying their corporate taxes. This will then level the playing field where the tax burden can be shared.