Premier and Finance Minister David Burt has delivered his first budget which he says will empower citizens and “place Bermuda on a path toward economic growth, economic diversification, and economic security for all Bermudians.”
Among the plans announced are initiatives and policies on personal and business taxes, education and training, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Big winners are senior citizens, low income earners and entrepreneurs. But even scions of the dreaded oligarchy could benefit from budget 2018 if they play their cards right.
Here’s what it could mean for you.
- If you earn less than $96k, you’ll pay less taxes – leaving up to $360 in your pocket by the time the next budget comes along in 2019.
- Low income senior citizens who invest in solar thermal will get some money back – a subsidy and investment which will pay dividends for the rest of their lives in lower energy bills. Conventional water heaters are responsible for as much as a third of your electricity bill.
- But if you own a business and you’ve been self reporting your ‘notional income’ for the purposes of payroll tax, its the end of the road for that cash saving/treasury draining loophole. The taxman will require you to report your actual income from the business and pay accordingly.
- Pensioners can stop worrying if their dollars will buy less next year. Government has committed to an automatic increase in pensions to match the rate of inflation.
- Be prepared however to pay a little more for your cell phone as fees are heading north.
- And if you’re an entrepreneur, forget about payroll tax for the first year of your business (although your employees will still have to pay their share).
- As a taxi driver, you’re in luck if you’ve been paying your fair share – the owner now pays just $1,000/year –
50% less than before. Chances are the owner will collect it from you. But if you’ve been cheating the system, add a grand to your yearly budget.
- Smokers might still get a better deal at the Smoke Shop, but the savings will be less as tobacco taxes rise to match those on cigarettes.
- And that glass of wine is getting pricier as government ups the duty on a litre by 30 cents.
- Sugary sodas, chocolate bars and other sweet stuff will cost you more if you have a sweet tooth as government moves on with plans to impose a sugar tax.
- But it remains to be seen whether suppliers of healthy alternatives – cauliflower, carrots, turnips, broccoli, apples and oranges – will reduce the price when government eliminates duty on these items.
- Your chances of getting or keeping work if you’re disabled have improved. Government plans to give a payroll tax break to your employer for hiring a disabled person.
- Government is making no promises that unemployment will be reduced over the next year
- But if you need training or an apprenticeship, there’s more money being allocated to Workforce Development for just that.
- And you won’t have to worry if you can’t afford Bermuda College fees – $300k has been allocated for students who need it.
- Commercial property owners are being asked to help out with a 5% increase in land tax – temporary, the Premier says – unless your property is in an economic empowerment zone.
- Entrepreneurs looking for capital for their business might have a better shot with the relaxation of the 60-40 rule to allow up to 60 percent foreign ownership of a company.
- That also means that if you’re the scion of an ‘oligarch’ – enjoying the fruits of grandaddy’s empire – you might be able to liquidate more of your holdings and deliver yourself a cash windfall.
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