Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Financial sector workers get big tax benefit

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 7:00 AMDaraine Luton
Kavan Gayle, president general of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union.

Workers in the financial and insurance sectors have been granted a huge boost following the Government's decision to raise the concessionary funding available to them to $4.5 million, up from $1.5 million.

President general of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, Kavan Gayle, said in the Senate on Friday that the increase in the threshold is a most welcome one.

"The workers are pleased in the financial sector based on this," Gayle said.

With the passage of an amendment to the Income Tax Act, workers in the financial and insurance sectors will also now see interest rates on loans being reduced from 14 per cent to nine per cent.

Gayle, an opposition senator, said the old threshold of $1.5 million dates back to the 1990s and that the increase to $4.5 million is a benefit to workers.

revisit tax on gratuity

In the meantime, Gayle called for the Government to cut the tax on uniform and laundry allowances, as well as remove the tax applicable to gratuity paid to workers in the tourism and hospitality sector.

"A great number of workers are in the tourism industry and those workers have done greatly in promoting this little rock called Jamaica," Gayle said as he prepared the wicket for his call on revisiting the tax on gratuity.

"It is an area where, in this period of restraint where they are not getting increases in line with inflation that would properly address the restoration of their purchasing power, a well-thinking government can identify suspending some of these taxes," the senator said.

His trade union colleague Lambert Brown also joined the call for less taxes on uniform and laundry allowances.

"It has been out there for too long and it needs attention," Brown, a government senator said.

He said further that security guards were being unfairly treated as some major companies had been describing them as contract workers, thus evading the tax authorities, robbing the workers of benefits and avoid making certain statutory deductions.

"It is being done by a majority of the bigger companies," Brown said.

He said the action of those companies have led to an undercollection of revenue by the National Housing Trust by some $2 billion.