Wednesday, Jan 22, 2020
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Chamber compiling concerns, challenges following VAT hike

The private sector is not expecting to be penalized if the transition to a 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) creates unexpected challenges, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer Edison Sumner said yesterday. He added that business people are already facing difficulties with the transition to the new tax and customs regimes. Sumner added that while the BCCEC is still hoping to commission a report on the state of the economy following the imposition of the 12 percent VAT, it has not yet hired global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm Oxford Economics or any other firm.

Sumner said the BCCEC is currently compiling questions, concerns and challenges coming into its office following the application of the VAT hike yesterday, in a bid to create a document for the government that lists the queries of the private sector. He said following this the BCCEC will consult with the Ministry of Finance in the hope of getting resolutions to the questions quickly.

To this end, Sumner said it would not be “reasonable” for the Department of Inland Revenue to impose any penalties on businesses as they move through the transition process.

Sumner said most of the questions center around processes at Bahamas Customs. Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said he has not heard of any issues surrounding customs processes, but said he would investigate.

Sumner said some businesses persons have complained of coding issues at Customs.

“We will put those details together,” he said.

The BCCEC hoped the government would delay the implementation of the VAT increase from 7.5 percent to 12 percent until it could produce a report outlining the impact the VAT increase would have on the economy of The Bahamas. But, the increase came into force on Sunday and the BCCEC has yet to commission its report.

“It’s still on our agenda,” he said. “But neither I or the Chamber’s board has engaged them yet.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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