Gibraltar will cut taxes for shipping and domicile income

The Gibraltar government has announced a number of tax cuts in the 2012/13 Budget, slashing import duties and cutting personal income tax payable for a number of categories of taxpayers.

In order to be more attractive to foreigners and rise future income, the Gibraltar government has announced a taxpayer-friendly budget, with consolidation efforts instead focusing on restraining government spending.

The most comprehensive changes will come in the area of import duties, which have been reduced or removed entirely for a number of retail goods. Most electrical goods and computer software will be newly exempt from import duties, while duties on perfumes, cosmetics, clothes, jewellery, and mobile phones will be halved.

Import duties on hybrid cars and biofuel are to be removed, and a cash-back scheme will be introduced for persons purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles. In addition, import duties are to be removed on the import of vehicles adapted for use by disabled persons.

In a move aimed at encouraging the registration of super yachts in Gibraltar, seagoing vessels over 18 metres in length will no longer be subject to import duties, while import duties on vessels under 18 meters in length will be subject to a reduced 6% rate. Under the previous regime, vessels of over 80 tons were exempt, while those under 80 tons were subject to a 12% rate.

The only increase to import duties will impact cigarettes. The system of import taxation in this area will be reformed, from a rate applied per kilo, to a rate per packet of 20 cigarettes, with the rate hike adding GBP 0.10 to a packet of cigarettes.

Substantial changes have also been announced in respect of the territory’s two income tax regimes, the Gross Income Based regime and the Allowance Based System.

The government has confirmed its commitment to reducing the maximum rate imposed on personal income tax under the Allowance Based System, to 15% by 2015 / 2016. To begin to reduce effective rates, the rate applicable to the first GBP 4,000 (USD 6,200) of taxable income will be reduced from 17% to 15%. This will exempt taxpayers with earnings of GBP 9,000 or less. Relief will be increased further in 2013, to exempt those with earnings of GBP 10,000 or less.

Taxpayers in receipt of income between GBP 9,000 and GBP 19,500 will receive enhanced tax relief to smooth tax liability disparity between tax-paying and tax-exempt earners. New changes also aim to exempt all disabled working persons from taxation.

Meanwhile, taxpayers under the Gross Income Based system will now benefit from being able to deduct up to GBP 1,000 from their assessable income in respect of mortgage interest payments.

In addition, persons taxed under the Gross Income Based tax regime will be entitled to up to GBP 5,000 in tax relief for approved expenditure incurred on painting, decorating, repair or enhancement, of the frontage of Gibraltar premises, if they are approved by the Town Planner.

Lastly, the cap of GBP 35,000 will be removed in respect of tax relief for private pension contributions.