Categorized | National News

Rolle Remaining Tight-Lipped On VAT Legislation

Financial Secretary John Rolle is remaining tight-lipped on the components of the value added tax (VAT) legislation.

On Thursday, he was hesitant to speak to reporters about the legislation calling for a VAT commissioner to oversee the entire process.

“There will be something of that sort,” he told reporters.

“There will be people who will be charged with the administration of VAT and they will have to exercise the powers in the legislation. They will look at things like assessments of taxes that are due, looking at instances of fraud with penalties and in that regard there won’t be anything out of the ordinary in terms of tax administration structure in The Bahamas versus any other countries that have gone this route.”

The financial secretary did however say that penalties could be implemented if people abuse the VAT process.

“I’m not going to comment directly to the legislation but you will find that in our tax code generally that those who are responsible for administering the legislation and regulations are empowered to make certain decisions,” Mr. Rolle said.

“There is an appeals process however which in our system takes people through the judicial system so there won’t be anything different with VAT. If people are aggrieved, they can go through the appeals process as well.”

In a press release last week, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader Chris Mortimer even questioned Prime Minister Perry Christie’s motives for wanting to implement a new value added tax system without properly consulting Bahamians.

He also questioned whether the prime minister believes that “taxing the local web shop industry would eliminate the need for VAT.”

“We challenge Prime Minister Perry Christie to use his moral compass; his twin pair of courage and conviction along with his significant majority in the House of Assembly to legalise, regulate and tax this industry,” Mr. Mortimer said.

“However, the party that said it was ready to govern from day one has once again proven that they are woefully unprepared for office. Stand up Mr. Prime Minister! The DNA wishes to make it clear we are in no way in support of the current legislation to enact VAT as a pretentious means of saving our over strapped economy. While the PLP are pandering to special interests and buckling under pressure from the World Bank and the IMF many Bahamians are watching in bewilderment and disdain.”

Both Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis have gone on the record stating that VAT will help to boost government revenue.

Prime Minister Christie has said however the implementation of VAT may be delayed if the government is convinced the public is not properly educated about it.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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