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‘Vat Will Hurt Businesses’

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Paul Moss

By DANA SMITH

Tribune Staff Reporter

dsmith@tribunemedia.net

THE government is being irresponsible in seeking to impose Value Added Tax on the public, as the scheme will only cause local businesses to suffer, said businessman and former politician Paul Moss.

Agreeing with the findings of a Nassau Institute commissioned report, which suggests that VAT will contribute to economic decline, Mr Moss said the government’s plan will be hardest on the poor.

He urged the Christie administration to consider an income tax instead.

“We recognise for a very long time, many decades, that the present tax regime that we have is a regressive one that really puts the burden of tax paying on the poor. The implementation of VAT continues that mode,” Mr Moss said.

“It continues to put the burden of tax paying on the poor because that’s all who end up paying it, anyway. The fact is, in no other country in the world has VAT worked without income tax.

“The government has been derelict and in my view, irresponsible in seeking to put this on the Bahamian people without having the discussion or the implementation of supporting tax systems such as income tax that could really help and remediate the situation in the country. And so, I believe that Bahamian businesses will suffer.”

Mr Moss said he finds it “quite strange” the government did not provide provisions in the this past budget to aid businesses in preparing to comply with VAT. Such as, he explained, necessary computer software that will aid in VAT compliance.

He noted many businesses in New Providence – “not to talk about Family Islands” – are even lacking in cash registers and proper record keeping materials.

“It is absolute irresponsibility by the government to at this stage try to do this. If this is what they want to do, they should have a better time-line where to say, ‘we expect to introduce this in two years, three years’ - something like that. Give people the opportunity to ready themselves.

“Even in the budget, give a concession to allow people to have the funds to buy software, computers, et cetera, that would be necessary to really be the tax collector for the government because that is what VAT is saying, they want you to collect taxes for the government.”

More should be done, presently, to educate businesses on VAT and its consequences, Mr Moss said.

“So far, they are not doing it and they call themselves speaking to stakeholders. The stakeholders are the Bahamian people. You can’t go to Rotary, you can’t go to the Chamber of Commerce and believe that you are touching the lives of Bahamians.

“The every day man needs to know what’s going on. Because while you’re speaking to those forums there, it doesn’t mean that they are disseminating the information.”

Calling an implemented VAT system “a bad idea,” Mr Moss said he agrees with the conclusion of a Nassau Institute commissioned report on VAT.

The study’s author, David Godsell said it would cost the Bahamian private sector more than $100 million annually to comply with VAT and would “force the Bahamian economy into further decline.”

The report said: “VAT adoption, rather than restoring the economic foundation of the Bahamas through deficit and debt reduction, would only raise additional economic concerns.”

Comments

The_Oracle 5 years, 8 months ago

Have no fear Mr. Moss, Income tax is coming also. It is their "fall back" just in case. We are about to pay the price for electing fools, or standing quiet while fools were elected. Look at the promises yet unfunded and unfulfilled, "Free" Health care, Jobs aplenty, We have been basking in the lies and deceit for decades, why stop believing now?

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ohdrap4 5 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for speaking out Mr. Moss. Many folks have not even heard of VAT implementation.

Do I expect this education campaign? o course not.

The referendum is coming in November, there is not enough time for education and the questions have not even been posed to the public.

The VAT legislation is being kept secret.

Look to the past, if the people want to postpone VAT implementation, do what they did with the gambling act amendment, leak it. Since it was leaked it has not been implemented.

Surely someone would know how to leak it.

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The_Oracle 5 years, 8 months ago

The FNM shut down the leaks by cutting the Bahamas negotiation team to two people: Laing and Winder. meanwhile every other Caribbean country has dozens working on their countries positions, EU countries have their own hundreds each separate from the EU Govt with thousands! Hit the Caribbean country websites and the IMf, WTO websites to find out what we have signed onto! At least they publish their intent! Our fools do not even Gazette anything any more.

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jlcandu 5 years, 8 months ago

I hope this big "pill" we now have to swallow will cure ignorance when voters go to the polls in the next 3 years.... In the words of a former FNM candidate, we've all been "bamboozled" with this poor excuse of a government.

I say Rodney Moncur for PM!!!

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