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Dodge Taxes And You’Ll End Up In Court

Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest.

Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

TAX dodgers will be subject to criminal charges before the court under the government’s proposed amendment to the Penal Code.

As the amendment brings tax evasion into the category of criminal acts, Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest said it debunks the notion that The Bahamas is a tax haven as is the view of international bodies, including the G20, EU and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Penal Code Amendment Bill 2018 described by the minister as a “landmark bill” was included in the compendium of bills debated in the House of Assembly yesterday. The government wants to pass the bills to ensure it can maintain favourability in the eyes of international regulators ensuring there is no future blacklisting.

The East Grand Bahama MP said: “It is now a crime to intentionally defraud the government of its revenue. This bill brings tax evasion within the lexicon of criminal acts in The Bahamas and is a landmark bill whose time has come.

“In making tax evasion an offence within The Bahamas, and we are debunking the notion that The Bahamas encourages tax evasion or protects tax dodgers, and we are counteracting the stigma associated with being regarded as a tax haven.

“Again, this is a new paradigm, one that The Bahamas has not been used to. Normally when there is a breach of one of the revenue acts there is an administrative fine or we turn a blind eye. Mr Speaker, in the eyes of the international community this is tax evasion. It’s permitting the opportunity for persons to engage in activity to avoid their taxes without any liability.

“So in as much as we of our own accord have no interest in enforcing a penalty regime in order to ensure that we can enforce tax judgment in other jurisdictions and enforce our own legislation, but it gives The Bahamas the resilience to enforce the law relating to tax evasion and tax avoidance and administer that through the courts.”

He further addressed critics who question why the government continuously acquiesces to the instructions of international bodies. He stressed non-compliance could result in financial institutions leaving the country and a loss of jobs and a withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from banks among other things.

“I will take you back to March of this year when the European Union Code of Conduct Group Business Taxation (the COCG) issued a list of non-co-operative tax jurisdictions and The Bahamas was placed on it. As I understand, the EU will be putting pen to paper this month to compile another list of non-co-operative tax jurisdictions, which will be published in January 2019. The Bahamas, like most other countries are doing their endeavour best to avoid being placed on the so-called ‘blacklist’.

“The Bahamas is a sovereign nation, capable of making its own laws and regulations. Financial services is our second industry, which provides high-level jobs and this is reflected in the significant 15 percent contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP). The Bahamas is a premier international financial centre conducting trade and business with EU member states, its citizens and other reputable jurisdictions and financial markets,” Mr Turnquest said.

Comments

joeblow 1 week, 2 days ago

You should end up in court for mismanaging the country too!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 2 days ago

The government wants to pass the bills to ensure it can maintain favourability in the eyes of international regulators ensuring there is no future blacklisting.

TURNQUEST IS A COMPLETE ARSE BECAUSE NOT A SINGLE SYMONETTE, MOSKO, D'AGUILAR, LADY POODLING, ISHMAIL LIGHTBOURN, OR OTHER TAX DODGER WILL EVER BE PROSECUTED, INCLUDING HIMSELF FOR THAT MATTER......NOT TO MENTION MOST OF THOSE WHO SIT OR HAVE SAT AT ONE TIME IN OUR PARLIAMENT. ALL MINNIS AND TURNQUEST EVER SEEM TO CARE ABOUT IS HOW THEY ARE PERCEIVED BY THEIR WHITE MASTERS, WHETHER THEY BE OF THE LOCAL OR FOREIGN VARIETY. THESE TWO BUNGLING AND LAME-BRAINED IMBECILES COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT THE IMMEASURABLE SUFFERING OF THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE AS A RESULT OF THEIR FAILED POLICIES AND INABILITY TO PROVIDE ANY KIND OF SOUND LEADERSHIP. WHAT BOZOS! LMAO

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bogart 1 week, 2 days ago

ANY CHARGED PERSON TAXPAYER........MUST BE ENTITLED TO HAVE........THE CHAIRMAN OF THE POLITICIANS PUBLIC DISCLOSURE COMMISSION REPRESENTING THEM.......IN FILING RETURNS.....!!!!!!!!

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rawbahamian 1 week, 2 days ago

I sincerely hope that they are serious and that NOBODY escapes the consequences of breaking the law like ALL OF THE OTHER LAWS !!!

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Greentea 1 week, 2 days ago

You serious? You already know the result of this meaningless posturing. True for some and irrelevant for others.

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B_I_D___ 1 week, 1 day ago

Yeap...this law will be held to a double standard, as with most similar laws...blind eyes gonna be EVERYWHERE!!

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John 1 week, 1 day ago

These dummies can’t see the international bodies are setting them up to criminalize and make life difficult , if not impossible, for the average Bahamian. Passing laws that does not exist in those countries. The customs act addresses the issue of smuggling and making false declarations to customs officers, with the comptroller of customs having powers to impose penalties and/or confiscate goods and also to bring criminal charges on violators. So why the need for duplicity? Enforcement is the key.

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John 1 week, 1 day ago

The customs laws were written so that violations can be dealt with in-house. Violators could be dealt with without impeding trade or at least at minimum. violators coo be penalized and government could recoup its revenue in addition to any penalty imposed. And once repeat offenders are identified, they can either be prohibited from importing goods and or taken before the courts for prosecution. So what happens now in the case of a company found in violation vs an individual? The individual goes to jail and his business goes under. The owner of a company is jailed or blames the brokerage company,pays a fine and his business continues as an ongoing concern. Dummies

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OMG 1 week, 1 day ago

There are so many things wrong and no the FNM is not perfect but what is conveniently forgotten is that the PLP holding the reins of power for the longest time contributed greatly to bringing the country and its finances into disrepute. For so long it has been acceptable to dodge duties, ignore road traffic laws, turn up late for work, in fact do everything expected of a third world banana republic hat now citizens object to any changes by the people in charge.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 1 day ago

The FNM has to fight the PLP, OECD, the daft Bahamian, the PEP, the Chinese, the illegals, the poachers, the HR lobbyists, the BNT ........ SMT

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BahamasForBahamians 1 week, 1 day ago

The FNM is also fighting Bahamians.

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bogart 1 week, 1 day ago

...Minister...SHOULD KNOW FROM A FINANCIAL VIEW......IS THAT THE WEALTHY....MORE LIKELY TO ......HAVE ACCOUNTANTS..LAWYRRS.......ADVISING DA WEALTHY......HOW TO AVOID TAXES......DUH.....ITS BUSINESS...................DEN ON DA OTHER HAND.....IF DEY CATCHES A ...RICH TAX DODGER.....DEY LIKELY TO KNOWS DEM....PARTY SUPPORTER.....DONOR.........AND GIVEN THE FINANCIAL RESOIRCES OF DA WEALTHY TAX DODGER....DERE ..BIG TIME LAWYERS WILL ENSURE THEY ARE NEVER FOUND GUILTY................NOW OF DA OTHER HAND ...........SOME HAPLESS PORE ....FELLA....NEVER MEANING TO DODGE TAX.......JUS BROKE...BEC ....BILLS GONE UP....PAYIN SAME PERCENT VAT.....A RICH......SIMPLY CATCHIN HELL.....WILL EASILY BE CHARGED...CONVICTED....IN NO TIME FLAT.......AN GUBBERMINT PEOPLE WILL BE TELLING .....OECD....LOOK HERE WE CATCHES TAX DODGERS.....an OECD likely...knowing this...having friends...family....colleagues...in the Bahamas....shifts goal posts....again.....like Bahamas sending back annually thousands of illegals but manages to seems charges... less than 5 employers hiring illegals.....

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sheeprunner12 1 week ago

Dodging????????? ........... The Cabinet members are the biggest dodgers ......... and they leaving Minnis out there on a limb to hang all of them

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proudloudandfnm 5 days, 18 hours ago

Wait. Tax evasion has never been illegal?????

Dayum….

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