As tear gas flew, Dominican lawmakers approve higher taxes
SANTO DOMINGO.- After four hours of intense debate into Tuesday evening and tear gas canister fired outside, the Chamber of Deputies passed 107 to 74, in the first roll call and without amendments the proposed tax reform in which the government aims to raise an additional RD$46.0 billion (US$1.2 billion).
Among the new taxes figure all goods below US$200 bought on the internet; some types of literature, printed materials, newspapers and magazines.
Most types of sausages will not pay sales tax.
The new law will continue the 1% tax on financial assets until December 31, 2013, and also keeps the 10% rate for telecomm services; the 1% tax to the value of vehicles will start in 2014, while a 1% tax will be levied on all real estate assets of individuals that exceed RD$6.5 million.
The property transfer tax was left at 3% on the renewable energy law, which established a 75% exemption from income, but was reduced to 40%, while the 8% increase on the aviation fuel avtur was lowered to 6.5%.
Beauty salons, hairdressers and informal businesses will not be taxed, except those with a purchase volume higher than RD$ 50,000 monthly, which will pay RD$12,000 per year.
Local sales by free zones will be taxed at 3.5%; the mandatory tip in restaurants will remain at 10%; CO2 emissions from vehiles will pay a tax of 0.1, 2 and 3%.
While the deputies debated the bill, hundreds of people called by social organizations and opposition parties gathered outside Congress to protest the legislation.
After the session, police fired tear gas at the crowds that stood firm and waited for the lawmakers to leave the premises.