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TT | Dec 20, 2020

Trinidad to officially remove all taxes from computer equipment come New Year’s Day, 2021

/ Our Today

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Taxes on mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software, accessories and peripherals also removed

Effective January 1, 2021, Trinidad and Tobago will officially remove all taxes from laptop computers, notebook computers, tablets computers with the tariff heading 8471.30.00.

In addition, the taxes will be removed from mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software, accessories and peripherals with the tariff heading 8517.12.10. The removal of the taxes on these items has been occasioned by the passage of the Finance Bill 2020 in Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives on December 11 and the Senate on December 15.

The legislation featured amendments to Schedule 2 of the Value Added Tax Act to allow for zero-rating, to the Miscellaneous Taxes Act, Chap. 77:01 to allow for an exemption from the payment of online purchase tax, and to part A of the Second Schedule of the Customs Act, Chap. 78:01 to allow for an exemption from the payment of customs duty.

The removal of the taxes on computers and computer equipment took immediate effect when it was announced in September this year but the taxes digital equipment, cell phones, software accessories and peripherals will be effective January 1, 2021.

Removal of taxes being made official

The removal of the taxes is now being made official with the passage of the Finance Bill 2020 and is in keeping with a commitment made in the governing People’s National Movement’s 2020 General Election Manifesto.

Before this decision, laptops and computers were subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) and Online Purchase Tax.  There were calls from various quarters to remove the tax on these items in order to make them more accessible to students and teachers as learning institutions transition to online learning from this term.

Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert

Earlier in September, Finance Minister Colm Imbert advised that the taxes are carded to be removed on mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software and accessories in the Finance Act of 2020, as per the commitment made in the PNM Manifesto.

PNM Election Manifesto promised removal of the taxes

The relevant excerpt from the manifesto read: “To facilitate the participation of young people in particular to the technological transformation, the PNM will empower, link, incubate, support, finance and accelerate access to funding, training, and equipment for digitization. We will remove all taxes on computers, mobile and digital equipment, cell phones, software, and accessories.”

The Minister of Finance said this is expected to take effect after the completion of the budget debate in December 2020.

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