Economic Indicators: show high unemployment for households
Let’s face it: There is high unemployment and for households across the country, the joblessness is further aggravated by the high cost of living. The cost of a daily basket of goods from chicken and fish to beans, cheese and eggs, is sky high. Now, let’s factor in ‘Income Tax; Those who make less than twenty-six thousand dollars per annum are exempt from paying the income tax, but those earning more pay a whopping twenty-five percent. With this backdrop and the dire economic scenario: Should Belize abolish the Income Tax? Consider the following: There are one hundred and forty-eight thousand, ninety-three persons in the labor force of which, according to the Income Tax department, only seven thousand, nine hundred and six are earning above the twenty-six thousand dollar threshold. This means that one hundred and forty thousand, one hundred and eighty-seven do not pay any income tax and that only five percent of the work force is being taxed. Those that are taxed earn in aggregate about three hundred and thirty-seven million dollars and contribute forty-three million dollars per annum to the government coffers. Government uses the money to pay the salaries of politicians, their transportation and fuel, and other perks. It also pays for a host of other expenses for the running of the country.
If you are one of those persons with stagnant wages and you are paying income tax, you will have little left after you buy food and pay your bills. You may also think there is little motivation to earn more, since the harder you work to earn more, the more you are taxed. It may not be unreasonable to argue that the weight of the income tax is punishing hard working Belizeans and that in fact tax assessments are putting many out of business. So business falters, employment suffers and people are left out in the cold. Many believe that the system would be better off without income tax and that it would be best to implement a more equitable tax system. In other words, on what basis do those who earn more need to pay more? And why should only a small percent be so heavily taxed? You be the judge.