‘We Do Not Support Taxation Of Web Shops As Alternative To Vat’

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation does not support the taxation of web shops as an alternative form of raising revenue, CEO Edison Sumner said Monday.

Mr Sumner clarified the confederation’s official position on the matter amid controversy over whether or not the government should reconsider the decision to tax the unregulated industry.

“We certainly don’t want to be seen supporting what we consider to be part of the informal economy,” he said.

“Logically the decision would be either you regulate them and tax them, or do what has to be done on the government side and shut them down.

“I think that the referendum has already spoken pretty clearly to that,” said Mr Sumner. “The people chose not to have it. If the government is gonna follow the people’s mandate, then it has to be shut down. If they’re going to change that mandate, whether it’s going to be by act of parliament or otherwise, then the industry has to be taxed.”

Last week, Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins said the government should tax web shops to boost its revenue, allowing for a phased implementation of value added tax.

Mr Sumner said: “That is a discussion we’re having internally, we haven’t made any formal decisions on that yet, but we do have a concern about anyone operating in the informal economy where the (wider) economy does not benefit, the government does not receive its taxes from those industries and businesses outside of those operating in that industry may not be benefiting either. So we want to ensure that there is a level playing field.”

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