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VAT Date Should Be Pushed Back

Bahamas, recognize what is being done to you by your government through its current process of introducing and implementing Value Added Tax (VAT).

The end of September has now become the third self-imposed deadline the government has failed to meet to release its VAT Bill & Regulations to the Bahamian people.

First it said it would release this critical information before Parliament broke for summer recess. Then it said it would do so by the end of August. Then it said it would do so by the end of September – nothing materialized. If the government is not meeting its own deadlines, it suggests that it does not have its act together with what it is getting ready to do to the country in a very short space of time.

Every business sector in this country is openly expressing legitimate fears due to the uncertainty the government’s information delays are creating. Businesses are refusing to expand or hire new people due to this uncertainty and the prospect of another impending increase in operational costs.

Bahamians – who are already struggling under new taxes that were sprung on them in July – are saying they are terrified at the prospect of a brand new 15% tax, especially since they have no clue how this tax will affect their income and expenses.

Experts are warning about the damage this tax can cause if implemented so soon. Our economy is already not growing as the government projected it would – Wall Street affirmed this through its recent downgrade of economic growth projections for The Bahamas. Meantime, countries in our region that have implemented VAT are calling on their governments to decrease the tax due to the strains it is putting on their citizenry and economy.

Push back the July 1, 2014 date to give our country more time to properly prepare itself for a new system of national taxation – this is what a responsible government should do.

Sharon Turner

Posted in Opinions

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