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Government withdraws book tax

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

After much lobbying, the government has back-pedalled on its proposed book tax.

The announcement of the State's decision to forsake the proposed revenue-generating measure was published by the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) yesterday.

"The Book Industry Association of Jamaica can now confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the 16.5 per cent GCT (General Consumption Tax) from all books, and an approved list will no longer be required from the Ministry of Education to determine which books are taxed," read a section of a statement released by the book body.

However, consumers will still see a slight increase in the cost of books coming into the island because the proposed 16.5 per cent GCT plan has been replaced by "a two per cent non-refundable GCT charge on all imported books (except for religious materials) (that) will be levied at the ports".

"As we have already entered the back-to-school season, the book industry is hoping to recover from previous delays, and is anticipating the readiness of the Customs Department to quickly process books on the wharves under these newly revised tax measures," read another section of the release issued by Franklin McGibbon, former head of the BIAJ.


"The BIAJ is appreciative of the Government's final position to reduce the impact of price increase on books, and we look forward to working with the ministries of finance and education in implementing programmes to grow reading and literacy," said the BIAJ.

When the proposed tax measure was unveiled by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips in Parliament last month, it was met with scorn.

Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Human Development Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert called the proposed tax unconscionable and demanded that the Government abort the planned implementation of the 16.5 per cent GCT on printed materials.