Budget 2020-2021: Stamp duties abolished

Budget 2020-2021: Stamp duties abolished

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

All stamp duties have been abolished.

This was announced in the 2020-2021 national budget by Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who highlighted the changes to the tax code last Friday.

He said in the COVID-19 Response Budget, stamp duty levied on mortgages for resident taxpayers was reduced from 1.75 per cent to zero, and stamp duty levied for foreign taxpayers was reduced from 5 per cent to zero.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that reduction that was set to expire on December 31, 2020, was now permanent.

And in this budget, he said the Government was going further and abolished all stamp duties to make transactions faster and cheaper for everyone.

“That broad-based change means there is no longer any stamp duties on any government document – from buying a house, a car or any hire purchases, that financial burden has been eliminated for good,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said with customs duties, they were building an entirely new tariff structure – centered around simplicity and liberal trade, with a special focus on cutting costs for the tourism sector and making life more affordable for ordinary people.

“In the past, equipment could be zero-rated on an ad-hoc basis through a bogged down bureaucratic process. No longer. Goods that cannot be manufactured in Fiji are seeing massive duty reductions, with customs duties falling to 5 per cent, and 0 per cent in some cases,” he added.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum announced that the Government was:

  • eliminating the duty for all items under the Customs Tariffs Act 1986, which includes machinery, mechanical appliances and mechanical parts;
  • reducing fiscal duty to 5 per cent and eliminating import excise tax on a range of white goods, including air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, lawn mowers, hair dryers, toasters, electric stoves and kettles, and smartphones;
  • reducing the specific duty by 75 per cent on hybrid cars and non-hybrid cars. In addition, for new, non-hybrid cars we are reducing the fiscal from 15 per cent to 5 per cent. Lastly, on all non-hybrid cars, we are removing the excise duty. There’s no restriction on age for vehicles to qualify for these exemptions, but all non-hybrid cars must meet Euro 4 Fuel standards. The luxury vehicle levy has also been removed and the Accident Compensation Levy has been halved through the next year, and
  • new air-bag trailers for trucks – which are much gentler on our roads – are not only duty-free, buyers can access a $20,000 grant towards their purchase. Used air-bag trailers will now only attract a 5 per cent duty. By getting these more agile vehicles on our roads, we actually keep our roads from deteriorating. We’re thankful to those trucking companies which are complying with our road loads.

Mr Sayed-Kbhaiyum also announced that Government was cutting customs duties on more than 1600 items – from toiletries to food stuff.

He said duties for more than 1000 items were falling to 5 per cent or 0 percent, and duty is falling from 32 per cent to 15 per cent for more than 500 items.