Categorized | Business, National News

Attorney to Gov’t: Do Not Delay VAT

The attorney representing five of the biggest web shop owners in the country does not feel that the government’s recent announcement to regulate web shop gaming this summer should call for a delay in the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT).

Wayne Munroe said he believes the sooner VAT is implemented, the better.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe recently announced that the government has plans to begin taxing web shops by July 1, the same date for VAT to be put in place.

While VAT has been the centre of criticism for months, some in opposition say both changes should not come on the same day.
However, Mr. Munroe said he feels differently.

The attorney said Bahamians should stop with the ridiculing and embrace the change as soon as possible.

“You see, this is another matter where the Free National Movement (FNM) is really either being schizophrenic or believes that we’re idiots,” he said.

“They [FNM] signed us up for VAT. Their desire for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) put us on the track for VAT. So if they’re honest with themselves and us, they would be able to say VAT is coming and is necessary. I have the proposed act and regulation. A lot of what I hear people complaining about persuades me that either they can’t read English or they refuse to read the English that’s in the act and regulation.”

Recently, Super Value Owner Rupert Roberts said VAT will be disastrous for The Bahamas as it will cause him to raise prices
and possibly lay off some workers.

However, Mr. Munroe dismissed that notion.

“I fully support VAT,” he said.

“People say it’s a regressive tax and that is correct. But the people who pay VAT have the same amount of votes as me. In a general election I have one vote and everyone else has one. So if you get to participate in representation, you should participate in taxation. That comes with it. But you know, we need to stop deluding ourselves. In Greece they didn’t want to introduce any new taxes and when they got cracked down on they had riots. You just come to grips with what it is. The sooner it’s introduced, then the sooner the customs duty can start coming down.”

The attorney said if in fact businesses like grocery stores want to increase their prices, as Mr. Roberts has forewarned, then they too will feel the pinch when Bahamians start to shop abroad.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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