By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Bahamian accountants have seen increased business due to the introduction of Value-Added Tax (VAT), the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) president confirmed yesterday.
Darnell Osbourne said the new tax regime could also lead to the development of specialist tax accountants in the Bahamas.
Speaking with Tribune Business at a BICA VAT seminar, she said: “It’s been good for the accounting profession. Obviously, a number of businesses, different sizes but particularly the smaller ones, who would not have been keeping proper books and records, would now be reaching out to the accountants to formalise their records in order to be able to report properly to the VAT office.”
Mrs Osbourne added: “From that perspective it’s been good for the accounting profession, but it’s also good for businesses.
“It is important for you to be able to see and determine your profitability. A lot of people, without keeping proper books and records, really do not realise whether or not companies are profitable.”
Mrs Osbourne said VAT’s introduction could lead to the development of tax specialists in the Bahamas.
“You may have some accountants deciding that that is an area of interest they would like to specialise in. You will have a number of accountants deciding that they will specialise in VAT, as you have accountants specialising in any number of industries,” said Mrs Osbourne.
She added that yesterday’s VAT seminar, which was well attended and held in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance’s VAT unit, gave an update on implementation and guidelines, tips on traps as it relates to VAT, as well as the standards for accounting, reporting and filing returns.
“From BICA’s standpoint, the interest is for our members who advise most of the businesses. Most businesses are encouraged to have some form of accounting service provided, and it’s important for our accountants to be aware of the regulations and rules that clarify the VAT Act,” said Mrs Osbourne.