Antigua’s Senate Approves Bill To Increase Fees To Transfer Money Overseas

CMC – The Senate in Antigua has approved a bill that will see a hike in fees for people wiring money out of the country.

The Upper House on Friday approved a legal change to more than double the tax on money transfers, from two per cent to five per cent.

The Money Services Business (Transfer) Levy Bill 2024 – which has now passed both Houses of Parliament – is expected to be enforced from April 1.

The increased levy applies to all funds sent out of Antigua and Barbuda via licensed money transfer businesses, which then have 30 days from month-end to pay it to the Inland Revenue.

The Government says the additional revenue – first announced in December’s budget – will add crucial dollars to public coffers and help it meet its monthly obligations on time.

While opposition legislators have stated that it unfairly targets migrants, Leader of Government Business, Samantha Marshall, said the current rate had been in place for more than 20 years.

“The two per cent was initially introduced through an order signed by the minister. We now have a bill which eventually will become an act and that will supersede the order,” she explained.

Marshall denied the move was anti-migrant, pointing out the government eradicated work permit fees for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals last year.

She said the increase would translate to a “significant contribution” to government revenue.

Marshall said money transfer fees of seven per cent in the British Virgin Islands had brought in US$2 million within a year of coming into effect in 2020.

“Those monies were used for social, health and agricultural programmes,” she said.

“These are similar measures we are taking to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda – despite everything happening in the world – can maintain the trajectory to be sustainable.”