Categorized | Featured, National News

VAT Bill Could Be Tabled This Month


The bill to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) could be introduced in the House of Assembly this month, according to officials in the finance ministry.

The sources confirmed to the Bahama Journal over the weekend that the reason the bill has not been tabled is because there are “still pieces of it that need to be worked on.”

Sources confirmed to the Journal that it was expected that the bill would be tabled in the House of Assembly in mid-February.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government has been getting a number of suggestions for alternatives to VAT as the tax’s July 1 implementation nears.

“Some have come in and we are looking to see what the feasibility of those are,” he recently said. “Some of the people from the private sector continue to make representations through various groups. We are continuing to meet with them continually to get their input and see what alternative they can offer and see what the impact they believe would be on their business and so that process is ongoing.”

The government is also currently in discussions with the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to determine how the country’s second city will deal with Value Added Tax (VAT) as it is still under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.

The cornerstone of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement is that residents or licensees in the port area are free from personal income taxes, corporate profit tax, capital gains tax, death taxes or property taxes until 2015.

Super Value’s Chief Executive Officer Rupert Roberts has long been an advocate against VAT implementation and said the government has alternatives but is ignoring them.

“I was trying to point out that VAT is a negative way to tax the people,” Mr. Roberts said.

“We have to raise money to help with the national debt but I think VAT is a negative way and will not do it. VAT will kill the economy and the alternatives will not. I went to Government High School and they taught me economics, they didn’t teach me anything about VAT. VAT is not economical and it’s a very negative system to raise funds.”

Mr. Roberts said if implemented, he will definitely have to pass the tax on to his customers.

“We will survive but we will have to pass the tax on to the public,” he said.

The government plans to implement VAT at 15 per cent in most cases and 10 per cent for the hotel industry.

They also project that it will generate some $200 million in revenue.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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