Malta's budget for 2021, unveiled on Monday in parliament, prioritises the country's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic over anything else.
So what did Budget 2021 offer you?
• No new taxes for a fourth consecutive year;
• Wage supplement given to pandemic-affected businesses to continue until March 2021 at the very least. Eligibility for the supplement will be revised at the turn of the year, based on data from tax returns;
• Income tax refund to increase to between €45 and €80 for single people and €50 to €95 for married couples;
• Government voucher scheme to be extended with a further €100 in vouchers per person;
• VAT exempt threshold for businesses to rise to €30,000 from €20,000;
• For Gozo, existing schemes are to be extended.
• Cost-of-Living-Adjustment of €1.75 per week;
• An extra day of leave to compensate for public holidays falling on weekends;
• Better incentives for private pensions: the tax-exempt threshold is being increased to €3,000 from €2,000;
• Public sector workers who suffered past injustices to receive compensation: €9 million has been allocated for this;
• Workers or heirs of former dockyard workers who suffered asbestos poisoning are to receive an as-yet-undefined amount of compensation;
• Children’s allowance increased for all families;
• In-work benefit thresholds to be extended to a further 4,500 families;
• Foster care allowance to go up by €10 per week;
• A €1,000 grant to couples who adopt a child locally;
• €300 grant for parents who have to quit work to care for a disabled child older than 16;
• Supplementary allowance to rise;
• Families receiving supplementary allowance will also be eligible for a €150 grant previously given to families defined as being at-risk of poverty;
• People hiring a carer to look after a person with a disability are now eligible for a €6,000 yearly grant;
• Pensioners to get COLA plus €3.25 per week, amounting to a total increase of €5 per week;
• Pensioner couples paying income tax on their married computation to be exempt from tax;
• Elderly people who do not qualify for a pension to get a €350 bonus instead of the previous €250;
• People born before 1962 will now be able to count work done as 16- and 17-year olds towards their National Insurance contributions;
• Service pension beneficiaries to get a further €200 deduction when calculating their social security pension;
• Tallinja card to be given free for all those aged 70 or older, instead of 75 or older;
• Government bonds with favourable interest rates to be reserved for senior citizens;
• Aid grant to employ carers to increase from €5,291 to €6,000;
• Buying and selling property incentives are to be extended;
• Tax incentives for first-time buyers to be improved to up to €200,000 on property value, up from €175,000;
• Reduced tax on property given by donation;
• A property transfer concession of 1.5% tax (introduced three years ago) is to be extended by a further year;
NGOs and youths
• NGOs to be exempt on tax if their income is under €50,000;
• Students who continue studying after age 16 to get one year of free internet.
• Car scrappage scheme to be extended and maximum grant to rise to €7,000;
• Safe cycle routes project to be announced;
• Extending or improving incentives for alternative transport use;
• Cars which are only used on weekends or public holidays to pay 35% less in road licence fees;
• Grants for taxis to be wheelchair accessible;
• Roadworks on Ħal Kirkop tunnel, Airport intersection project, Luqa junction project and Msida creek junction to begin;
• Study into mass public transport system to enter the second phase.
• New medicines for chronic or mental illness to be added to state-provided medicines;
• Investment in osteoporosis treatment;
• More beds to be made available for the elderly in public and private hospitals;
• New centre for palliative cancer care developed in conjunction with Hospice Malta to open;
• Government to unveil a strategy to eliminate hepatitis C.
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