President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Robert Sands said he is trying to help the government to recognize more tax receipts from the vacation home rental sector, contending that it does not currently pay its fair share as a tourism industry player.
Sands, who made the remark on the Guardian Radio Show “The Hit Back with Nahaja Black”, said vacation home rentals currently only pay value-added tax (VAT) on a small portion of the services they offer.
He said the disparity between what hotels currently pay in taxes and what the vacation home rental sector pays is inequitable.
Sands explained that while he is not interested in taxing those small businesses out of existence, the sector has to realize that it is not on a “free ride”.
“We want them to pay their fair share,” Sands said.
“The hotel industry is subject to rules and regulations and licensing under the Bahamas government. We have to pay VAT on all the services that we offer.
“Some of that money helps the government in terms of infrastructural development and also monies that can be made available for promotion and promoting the destination.
“I think Airbnbs are very good, but they have to pay their fair share of some of the taxes.”
Sands said with greater tax receipts from the vacation home rental sector, the government will have excess capital to spend on infrastructural and social development in the country. He said the traditional businesses cannot carry that tax revenue burden alone.
“We’re not asking you to pay what we pay, we’re simply asking you to pay what is due, even on that small amount,” said Sands.
“All of those small amounts together add up but it can’t be a free ride because if everyone in the country says, ‘I’m only a small businessman and I can’t afford to make my small contribution to government’, then government can’t survive.
“We need to find a way for the government to realize reasonable revenue.”