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Minister calls for “multi-faceted” tax review

Speaking at a recent Bahamas Institute of Financial Services seminar Minister for Financial Services Ryan Pinder reiterated the government's view that the current tax structure is too narrow and prone to "leakages." 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, July 6, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012

Minister for Financial Services Ryan Pinder has called for a “multi-faceted review” of the current tax system, saying reform would spur growth in the Bahamian economy.

The Minister said the system, which heavily relies on customs duties, was not equitable and suffered from leaks that hindered growth.


“With a more equitable tax structure, with less leakage, you can have a wider tax base with proper economic expansion,” he explained.

Tax reform has been at the forefront of the new government’s agenda since Prime Minister Perry Christie took office in May this year. In his Budget Communication published last month, the Prime Minister said the current tax base was too narrow, difficult to implement, costly and open to abuse.

Speaking at a Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) event recently, the Minister of Financial Services reiterated this message and said any reform would focus on driving economic growth.

“As we proceed on tax reform we must approach it with the philosophy that it is more than just a method of collection for the government,” he said.

“It is a mechanism whereby economic incentives can be introduced to help develop the economic basis of our country. It is important to recognize that it cannot be restrictive of economic development, it has to promote economic development.”

Minister Pinder also highlighted the need to look at tax structures in place in other jurisdictions, to see how The Bahamas could refine its approach in attracting new business.

“Gone are the days when we can say: ‘we are a tax free jurisdiction, come park your money here,'” he told the seminar delegates. “Tax policies have changed. We must understand how we can leverage the tax policies of other jurisdictions to enhance our industry and understand the business opportunities that might present themselves.”

cmorris@dupuch.com

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