Tourism-related businesses are being urged to become VAT registered now to avoid potential problems by waiting until the November 30th deadline. The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association cautioned businesses during recent VAT readiness workshops in Bimini, Cat Island, Long Island, Exuma and Abaco to avoid the mass rush anticipated by delaying registration.
BHTA has been facilitating workshops throughout the country for the Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism.
BHTA President Stuart Bowe stressed the importance of registering now. “Those businesses which wait until the last minute to register, or who seek to register after the deadline, may find themselves in a situation where they have insufficient time to be fully prepared when VAT comes into effect on January 1, 2015” according to Bowe.
A business must register in order to receive a Tax Identification Number (TIN). The TIN will be an essential part of doing business and ensuring they are able to claim input credits. Otherwise they risk paying more tax to the Government then they should. BHTA advises that the TIN must be listed on invoices, sales receipts, and other documents. The only way they can receive a TIN is to be registered.
BHTA fears that there will be a mass rush at the November 30th deadline to register which will result in businesses needing to wait longer than the two to three week turnaround it is presently taking the Ministry of Finance to review each registration application, ensure it is accurate and complete, and issue a TIN and VAT Certificate.
Throughout the training workshops businesses are being walked thru the registration process. They are also being directed to the Ministry of Finance website at www.bahamas.gov.bs/vat where they can find an online tutorial and instructions are clearly spelled out to assist with registration. For most businesses the online process should only take 15-20 minutes advises BHTA.
To ensure a smooth registration, prior to registering online they should have key information ready. This includes:
· Taxpayer Contact Information – such as the individual’s or business address, mailing address, phone, fax and mobile numbers.
· Business License Number and date license was issued
· Business Licence Control Number
· Indication of Projected Business Activity – your annual turnover as reported for business license or the estimated turnover.
· A Real Property Tax Assessment Number if applicable
· Bank Details – name of bank, branch, account name, account number, bank branch routing number
· Current Business Licence Number
· National Insurance Board number
Thus far over 400 participants have attended the tourism-related VAT readiness workshops which have been held on seven islands. At least three more workshops are planned.
Tourism-related businesses in Bimini attend VAT a training sessions being conducted by the Ministry of Finance and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism.