The Junior Minister of Finance, Senator Arianna Hodgson, is today clarifying a statement she made in the Senate yesterday (March 23, 2023).

Senator Hodgson explained, “In my brief presented to the Senate on The Government Fees Amendment Regulations 2023, in my capacity as the Junior Minister of Finance, I stated that the increases in Government fees would raise an additional $21 million in revenue. This figure was incorrect.

“In the 2023/24 Budget Statement, the Premier & Minister of Finance announced an increase of 5% to select Government fees which would specifically assist in funding the much needed investment in Bermuda’s infrastructure. These increases were only for: stamp duty, trade and service mark fees, company licences, solid waste dumping fees, immigration fees, planning fees and seaborne shipping fees. These increases will result in $3.3 million in additional funds, not $21 million as stated.

“These selective increases are the first that the PLP Government has implemented since 2018 and are not across the board increases. Fees such as vehicle licensing, passport renewals and business licences remain the same, and the 10% private car vehicle licence reduction made last year remains in place.”

The expected revenue from these increases are as below, consistent with the Budget Statement where it noted $3.3 million:

080 Stamp Duties $1,612,680.75
121 Trade & Service Mark Reg & Fees $78,978.20
140 Company Licences $42,475.00
200 Seaborne Shipping $179,939.00
220 Immigration Receipts $988,300.00
235 Planning Fees $49,820.00
240 W&E Solid Waste $223,864.20
270 Fines & Forfeitures $161,504.70

The Junior Minster continued, “The $3.3 million gained from the 5% increase to select fees pales in comparison to the tax reductions in this budget for those in the lowest payroll tax bands – which amounts to at least $13.4 million of savings for taxpayers, and the reduced tax burden on 86% of local businesses which amounts to $6.7 million less paid in taxes.

“This government has demonstrated its commitment to reduce the burden of taxation for Bermuda’s workers and local businesses.

“The $21 million figure for the expected additional revenue from the selected fee increases, shared in the Senate, was incorrect, and I apologise for any confusion caused.”

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