After having fallen by almost 30 percent from April to July last year, collections for three major tax categories are up by roughly 23 percent for the same period this year, data from the Belize Tax Service (BTS) Department informs.
According to the data shared with The Reporter this week, the combined collections for General Sales Tax (GST), PAYE, and Business Tax for April to July 2021 amount to roughly $138.4 million. This figure—which does not include other fees and tax classifications such as excise and import duties—outstrips last year’s total for this period by close to $26 million (or 23%), but is still trailing behind 2019’s almost 157.5 million.
General Sales Tax (GST) saw the strongest recovery, at 47%, with Business Tax being second.
Relative to 2020’s sharp decline due to the public-health restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax type with the fastest recovery is GST, which recorded a 47 percent upswing over last year’s intake. The data for April to July of this year shows that GST is close to $55 million, up by $13 million from the $41.4 million reported for the same period in 2020.
Nevertheless, the recovery of collections for these three tax areas is a positive development, as they traditionally account for close to 60 percent of Belize’s total tax revenues. Based on the Approved Budget Estimates for Fiscal Year 2020/21, GST alone accounted for about 30 percent of the total tax take by the Government of Belize. Business Tax also accounted for approximately 16 percent.
Next in line is Business Tax which has recorded a 19 percent increase at $51.6 million, up from about $43 million last year. Finally, PAYE comes in 17 percent higher at about $32.2 million, up by $4.6 million (or 17%).
The increases in tax collections coincide with the reported rebound in economic activity for this year’s second quarter (April to June), with the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) reporting a 22.3 percent increase in output. This sharp upturn helps to offset the first quarter’s contraction of 8.4 percent, and, all things being equal, places Belize on a path that could outperform the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s forecast growth of 1.5% for 2021.