This week will be an interesting week, as our country has two game-changing events taking place simultaneously on the same day. The first is the fiscal budget of the year 2017. This budget is an interesting one as some have indicated that the government is using less money than the previous. It will outline taxes, their financial strategy and the allocation of finances to the various sectors of the economy. Media sources already indicated that gas prices will increase and once increased the prices of everything increases. We shall have new information regarding new taxes such as the online tax to curb the outflow of foreign exchange the country has. The implementation of old taxes such as the property tax would begin January 2017. Products that has vice attached to it such as gambling, cigarettes and alcohol will have a price increase or will be taxed as the case with gambling.
The other event is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) legislation that must be passed on that day. If delayed or ignored, at best, performing online or USD transactions will cost 30% more. At worst, the US banks that facilitate these transactions can cut off Trinidad and Tobago starting a financial crisis. It will be utter madness to pay banking fees for foreign exchange transactions + new online tax fees + (at best scenario) 30% withholding fee because the politics of the day did not see the far-reaching effects of FATCA.
I am humbly suggesting dear readers, to perform the following in the event of a financial crisis that could happen if one is implemented (budget) and one is not (FATCA):
- Withdraw at least $1,000.00TTD from the bank as a safety precaution. In times of financial crisis, banks have the tendency to seize money of account holders to protect itself.
- Purchase all your essentials before the 30th, as the budget will certainly increase all prices of goods and services.
Protect yourself from the harshness of budgetary measures or the mishandling of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.