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Former CB Governor Calls Gaming Taxes “Unsettlling”

The Chairman of Colina Financial, James Smith finds the increase of  taxes for Wed Shops unsettling.

Last week’s announcement by Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest, in the 2018/2019 Budget Communication, that the government will increases taxes on gaming, has  caused a stir throughout the business community and among Bahamians in general.

Reacting to  the sliding scale of taxes  on the  industry,  Mr Smith, a former Minister of State for Finance and former Governor of the Central Bank said, “I don’t know very much about taxing gaming, and what I find a bit unsettling about this is, a very short period before the budget was announced some other comment, some other quarter made a public statement that was carried in the press, maybe we should get more from the web shops and then immediately after that, it shows up in the budget,” Smith said.

“Now I don’t know whether it was planned before that statement, but the two events worked more like cause and effect to me and therefore it obviously did not subject itself to the type of analysis you need when you’re taxing an entirely new industry, at least one that you brought out of the shadows,” he added.

“Depending on your point of view, I’m sure the people who operate in that industry find it somewhat malicious that they might have been taken out, because as I understand it, the web shop license I think they had defined as financial service providers which allows the regulators to basically apply to them which you do with other banks, trust companies, loan facilities, credit unions, etc. 

“So, if that’s the category within which they fall, then it would seem to me that taxation of all of those ought to be looked at,” said Mr. Smith.

 Mr. Smith said, “common sense dictates if you are a bank you don’t want to know that you apply a tax to Commonwealth Bank that is different from Scotia, that is different from Royal [Bank],” inferring that any taxing should be consistent,” he said.

Mr. Smith’s comments come as a guest on the show Jones and Company, with host Wendall Jones.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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