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Mar 30, 2001

Monday is deadline to file income tax

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The tax reforms instituted by last two governments have resulted in a situation under which the majority of Belizean workers are spared the burden of paying income tax. But for the rest of the labour force the day of reckoning is rapidly approaching. Ann-Marie has some tips for the procrastinators.

Ann Marie Williams, Reporting

Monday, April 2nd, is the deadline for over 20,000 Belizeans who make more than three hundred eighty-five dollars per week to file their income tax.

According to Kent Clare, Technical Supervisor at the Income Tax Department, if you fail to act in time you could be penalized for late filing.

Kent Clare, Technical Supervisor, Income Tax Dept.

“If you don’t file on time you’re charge three percent for every month that you’re late providing that you owe us, because, if you have a refund you can file anytime within the next years and that’s still okay. If you don’t file and you owe us that’s three percent and the months can pass and before you know it you can be charged a maximum of sixty percent late filing penalty. So, it’s in your best interest if you can’t make it by Monday to get in touch with us, preferably in writing, and to explain the reason why you can’t file¼you haven’t gotten a statement from your employer or from the church you are affiliated with, some document that you need to file the return and we’ll be glad to give you in the first instance one month extension and we look at it after that we can give you up to three months.”

Since last year the department has made it a whole lot simpler to file your return. The first part of the form carries personal information and the second entails the various calculations.

Kent Clare

“The form is very instructional, it tells you for example at line one the total income from employment, and that’s important, only from employment. So if you work with Channel 5 and you make one hundred thousand dollars and that’s as an employee. And let’s say you have a house on rent and of course renting is not employment, so you disregard the rent part, so you would full in here the one hundred thousand dollars. You go to line twenty, the next line, the total taxable income that would be pretty much the same figure. The personal relief at line thirty that is pre-printed on the form and that means that everybody except those persons who are non-residents, but just about everybody else, gets that basic allowance – nineteen thousand six hundred dollars. Then there’s line thirty-one, charitable donations. It says see guide, basically what that is saying is that there is a maximum that’s allowed based on a percentage of total contributions. After you work that out you put that on line thirty-one”.

Line thirty-five says total deductions, so you just continue adding lines thirty and thirty-one to work it out.

The Income Tax Department says it’s an advantage for married couples to file separate returns. This came about way back when most women did not work and were legally seen as an attachment to their husband.

Kent Clare

“As a matter of fact, you could have a situation where a man is married, he’s not working, his wife is working, but in the past that was deemed to be the husband’s income. She had no control over that, so what the system is doing now by allowing separate filing is to recognize the fact that women are not just equal but they are very vibrant and in many cases are more dynamic than men in certain sectors. It would be best to file separately you’re getting what¼thirty-nine thousand two hundred dollars in allowance, so yeah, it’s easier to do that…to file separately.”

And whether you file separately or jointly make sure you do it by 5:00pm on Monday, April 2nd.

Those people expecting a refund on their income taxes should remember that the earlier you file, the sooner you’ll get your money.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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