Executive Council has agreed for the following Tax Reform Proposals 2019 to be taken forward for public consultation:

  • Changes to Self-Employed and Corporation Income Tax to incentivise export and import substitution activities and incentivise charitable giving
  • Introduction of an Approved Investment Scheme to provide customs duty reductions or payment deferrals to any investment on St Helena which particularly contributes to the Island’s economic, environmental and social welfare
  • Introduction of Gift Aid for donations over £1000 to incentivise charitable giving
  • Introduction of a Charge on Commercial Properties which are empty over nine months of the year to increase supply of commercial property available for rent
  • Changes to Stamp Duties to exempt first time buyers, to bring in stepped duties for higher value properties and to include a rate of stamp duty on second residential properties. This will assist first time buyers and help increase the supply of residential property available for rent

Why are these reforms being proposed?

These reforms are being proposed following work by the Tax & Revenue Working Group to explore options for increasing revenue on St Helena in order to facilitate the right climate for business, balance the budget and afford infrastructure improvements.

The proposed reforms encourage local and overseas investment to help St Helena become wealthier. Improving the balance of payments is a key component of both the Sustainable Economic Development Plan and Investment Strategy for St Helena. The end goal is to increase the amount of money that St Helena earns as an island and to improve self-sufficiency where viable.

Financial Secretary, Dax Richards, explains:

“The proposals focus on taxing wealth and has avoided taxing income, which have benefits to both workers and businesses. They also focus on encouraging land and property productivity. One of the barriers to expanding business on St Helena is the availability of business premises, and the empty property charge will incentivise supply of premises. Furthermore, the changes in stamp duty will assist first time home and land buyers to invest their income into property.”

Public Consultation Activities

The consultation period is open between Wednesday, 13, and Wednesday, 20 February 2019. Members of the public wishing to comment on any of the proposed reforms can do so via the following:

  • A public presentation at the Canister, Jamestown, on Monday, 18 February 2019 at 5pm
  • Radio discussions on both radio stations on Friday, 15 February, at the following times: St FM – 2.15pm and SAMs Radio 1 – 3.15pm
  • By contacting the Financial Secretary directly between Wednesday, 13, and Tuesday, 19 February 2019, via tel: 22700 or email: richards@sainthelena.gov.sh

A meeting will also be held with the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, 19 February.

Members of the public have the opportunity to comment by email on the draft Bill and Regulations available here: http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/publications/ (under the Public Consultation section) up until Sunday, 24 February 2019. Comments should be sent to dax.richards@sainthelena.gov.sh.

Following the public consultation process, all comments will be collated and incorporated into the draft legislation to be published and presented as Government business at the formal Legislative Council meeting due to be held on Friday, 22 March 2019.

It is proposed for the Tax Reforms to come into force from 1 April 2019.

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SHG

13 February 2019

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