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Halkitis Puts Vat Back Up In The Air

Michael Halkitis

Michael Halkitis

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

STATE Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis yesterday confirmed that the government will now consider revisiting all proposals, including Value Added Tax, in the wake of the proposed regularisation and taxation of web shops.

Speaking to the press yesterday, Mr Halkitis said that if the government is able to “realise revenue” from web gaming then it could possibly “relax” on other revenue raising measures.

“Based on the system as it is, if we can implement the regulation of the web gaming and begin to realize revenue from it, then we may have the opportunity to revisit all the proposals that we have to determine okay, if we now can get X amount of revenue from here, does that give us flexibility to relax on this other side, and that’s a conversation that we will have,” he said.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced that the Government will regularise and tax webshop gaming by July 1 after more than a year of speculation following the “No Vote” in the 2013 Gaming Referendum. 

Mr Wilchcombe revealed that the government will bring regulations to the House of Assembly within the next two weeks which will legalise the industry.

In wrapping up his mid-year budget contribution, Mr Wilchcombe said while he respects the church’s position and the results of the referendum, there comes a time when the government must make “the tough decisions and govern.”

Comments

B_I_D___ 5 years, 4 months ago

One big scam...they were expecting a resounding YES vote but got caught out...had to come up with a ploy....we need money to pay back our supporters since we got a NO vote...we need VAT...let's be so incredibly sketchy and forceful with VAT that when we turn around and legalize gambling anyways, you all will be happy about it because we freaked you out so bad with VAT.

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Thinker 5 years, 4 months ago

I get your theory, but was there public awareness of the IMF, the debt we had incurred, the emergency of the matter that we were about to have to pay more taxes which would be a VAT alternative? I didn't get that during referendum time over legal gaming. I mean, why go through all of this? Why didn't they just say "The choices are to legalize gaming or we will take it from you via every other purchase you make"? The vote would have been clear.

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jackbnimble 5 years, 4 months ago

You know what I find so interesting about all this? The solution to solving the nation's debt is right in front of us. We do not need to implement VAT or decriminalise web shops. The amount of revenue that the Government needs to raise is out there in UNCOLLECTED revenue just on real property taxes. All this time wasted in debating VAT and legalising gambling could have been better spent on simply finding a way to COLLECT THE OUTSTANDING TAXES. The country's debt could have been solved long ago. Unfortunately we are being leg by a bunch of headless no-brain chickens. A bunch of "educated" men who cannot come up with a simple plan to collect the taxes that would take us out of this hole they've dug us into.

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ohdrap4 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, exchange web shop tax for:

  1. NO VAT ON ELECTRICITY
  2. NO VAT ON PHARMACEUTICALS AND OTHER MEDICAL CARE MATERIAL LIKE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS CURRENTLY EXEMPT FROM DUTIES
  3. NO VAT ON VETERINARY CARE
  4. NO VAT ON BOOKS
  5. NO VAT ON CERTAIN BEVERAGES LIKE TEA OR COFFEE (PRESENT;Y EXEMPT FROM DUTIES)
  6. NO VAT ON COMPUTERS
  7. A REDUCED , UNIFORM VAT ON HOTEL INDUSTRIES, LIKE 7%.

ESTABLISH A SLIDING SCALE WHERE GROCERS COULD RECOVER A LARGER PORTION OF THEIR VAT AS AN INCENTIVE TO STORES THAT CATER TO ECONOMICALLY DEPRESSED AREAS OR LESS DENSELY POPULATED AREAS IN THE FAMILY ISLANDS AND WHOSE INVENTORIES ARE COMPRISED OF A LARGER PERCENTAGE OF PRICE CONTROLLED ITEMS.

SEND ME AN EMAIL IF YOU NEED A VAT CONSULTANT. THANKS.

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TalRussell 5 years, 4 months ago

OK does this mean Comrade "VAT" Ishmael is a goner? A call to action, not just talk against the government. Comrades, if the numbers "bosses" could have hired a team of lawyer to challenge the government's "pretend" will to close them down, then why can't the people engage ta own team of lawyers to challenge the governments refusal to respect the votes of they own people? Wouldn't this put a legal halt to whatever the government is really up to?

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JohnDoes 5 years, 4 months ago

They are talking about regulating these web shops but I have not heard one thing on how they are going to do it. The problem with this whole thing first, is that it is an illegal business and they have done nothing about it, the government is playing a blind eye because of this 'job creation' idea, and the donation of money to campaigns from this 'crime syndicate' that is completely atrocious and a slap in the face for Bahamian law/constitution. They are also under the disguise of a 'web shop' that is really only suppose to allow access to internet. In fact, I cannot enter a webshop and access the internet for any other reason (email access, printing of documents) unless I am there to 'spin' or buy numbers because ill be kicked out if I'm not. This is a violation of the terms of their business agreement in the description of a 'web shop'. Drug dealers, marijuana salesman specifically, also create jobs for persons but they are under constant radar/threat of the police and this creates your next problem: Selective, discriminatory enforcement of law, which is very appalling for this nation. Secondly, when I was about to open my own web shop, the costly software infrastructure is set up where you can set your own personal odds for each game played, that is: you are able to control your losses and profits to the point that even though someone 'randomly wins', the winners and their winnings will not affect profits. When it comes to the 'numbers' area (buying numbers). These 'web shops' are illegally using copyrighted logos from legitimate U.S lottery's to give customers the impression that they are betting on legitimate numbers, yet this is true because these houses dont throw their own balls, but these same U.S lottery's don't even know that this is happening. Also if the government wants to regulate this effectively, they MUST be given 'unlimited' access to these software in each 'number house' in regard to profits, losses, payouts etc, and tax them accordingly. If the government just waits for a balance sheet from these businesses, I can guarantee there will be dishonesty about incomes and pay out's and the tax effort will have no effect on these businesses because one will not know what the real income is. I MUST stress that the implementation of gambling rehabilitation programs be mandatory for persons that have problems with this, and this must be first before any legalization of a 'bookie' and it must be readily available through these 'web shops' just like every other 'give away' advertisement that they conjure.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 4 months ago

Is anyone paying attention to the cowardice of our feckless PM who happens to also be our Minister of Finance? Christie has his entire Cabinet out there walking the plank as regards their political careers while he himself cowers below deck praying his ship does not sink. WHAT A YELLOW-BELLY OF A LEADER HE HAS TURNED OUT TO BE, BUT HUBERT WAS NO DIFFERENT. These two cowardly critters need to be brought before an international tribunal for the crimes they have perpetrated on most Bahamians and against our Bahama Land.

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The_Oracle 5 years, 4 months ago

He shuffles! what do you want? It was his election platform! Shuffles from pillar to post. the rest are just crooks. All go into the house broke, all come out millionaires. No wonder as they don't pay their taxes. Why else do they not want to disclose Assets and liabilities? Meanwhile, the opposition is trying to figure out what will be left for them to pillage, re-starting the cycle.

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TalRussell 5 years, 4 months ago

Bahamalander's are a peaceful peoples and while few would support overthrowing a constitutionally elected government by any means than the democratic process, the peoples can force this or any government to act responsibly. That is a given, Mr. PM and MP's.

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Purcell 5 years, 4 months ago

Collect property taxes that are in arrears. No need for VAT. Punish those who are behind instead of the entire population.

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CANDACESCOTT 5 years, 4 months ago

Regularization is not legalizing. So the government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas solution to the national debt is to regularize an illegal industry.... WOW

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 4 months ago

Know your BAHAMIAN history........ we regularized piracy, wrecking, blockading, bootlegging, human smuggling (Haitian Revolution) etc. So whats the big deal in regularizing numbers gambling????????????? DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's our LEGACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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proudloudandfnm 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm beginning to believe Halkitis is a moron. he can't be intelligent considering these stupid statements he keeps putting out. Does this guy have no sense of embarrassment? WTH???

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