Bhutan - Taxation

The corporate income tax (CIT), excises taxes, taxes on real estate income, and non-tax revenues (particularly power tariffs on the export of electricity to India) were the main sources of domestic revenue in 2001. The power tariff, at Bhutan's insistence, was doubled to R 1 (about $0.028) per unit on 1 April 1997, and then raised 50% to R 1.5 (about $0.034) per unit 1 July 1999. The business income tax (BIT) accounted for only about 5% of revenue in 2001 because of the weakness of the private sector. In January 2003, the government introduced a personal income tax (PIT) for individuals with taxable incomes above N 100,000. The PIT is expected to raise only N 110 million (or about 1%) of the 2001–2003 budget of N 11,184.6, but at this stage the government considers the social benefits of the PIT—reducing income disparities and instilling a sense of responsibility—to be more important than its revenue contribution. In July 2002, the government launched the Pension and Provident Fund Plan, a scheme converting the social security system to a pension plan to provide retirement benefits for civil servants, corporate employees, and the armed forces

External assistance continues to provide the bulk of Bhutan's development budget, but since 1996 domestic revenues have covered current expenses. In 2001, domestic revenues also covered a portion of the capital budget. A major goal of the Ninth Five Year Plan (2002–2006) is the increase of domestic revenue through taxes. In 2002–2003, it is projected that for the first time tax revenues will exceed non-tax revenues. Tax revenues are expected to come to 12% of GDP and non-tax revenues to 8% of GDP.

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