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View From Afar: A Tax Too Far On Hotels

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John Issa

By JOHN ISSA

WHEN a hotel bring travel agents, media personalities and journalists to the Bahamas and puts them up free of cost, the hotel is required to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on a value of the rooms given to them.

In other words, the hotel spending its own funds to promote, not only the hotel but the Bahamas, has to pay a tax in order support the economy at its own expense. This is not right.

However, what makes this application of VAT even more difficult to understand is the fact that when high rollers, from whom casino hotels expect to make a great deal of money at the tables and the slots, are provided with free hotel rooms, no VAT is payable on the free rooms.

I am not proposing that the casino hotels pay VAT on the free rooms. However, it is beyond understanding why VAT should be paid by a hotel when it gives away a room for free, especially when it is being done for the purpose of selling The Bahamas and, of course, the hotel.

In fact it would make more sense to thank us for bringing in and housing and entertaining travel agents and media personnel in order to grow the economy and increase employment instead of taxing us.

Unfortunately, as the law now stands, these activities are taxed.

• John Issa is executive chairman of SuperClubs. He writes regularly in The Tribune.

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