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Customs Department hiccups following VAT hike remedied

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said the “hiccups” at the Customs Department – that vexed businesses beginning July 1 when new tariff rates and tax rates came into force – have been remedied and were due to tariff codes that were not distributed to customs brokers.

When the value-added tax (VAT) increase from 7.5 percent to 12 percent came into effect on July 1, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Edison Sumner told Guardian Business that some businesses were having trouble claiming their shipments from the Customs Department.

Turnquest, who spoke to the media outside the BCCEC’s power breakfast yesterday, said a booklet with the customs tariffs has been printed and customs brokers have received copies of the new codes. He said the codes were changed because they had to align with those of the World Customs Organization.

Sumner said the BCCEC has compiled questions, concerns and challenges coming into the Chamber office following the application of the VAT hike on July 1, in a bid to create a document for the government that lists the queries of the private sector.

Contractors were concerned that the VAT increase would affect their existing contracts, but Turnquest said yesterday that contracts signed before July 1 will still carry the 7.5 percent VAT. The same courtesy was afforded to hotel bookings.

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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