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Central Revenue Agency taking shape

The government has established a Central Revenue Agency (CRA) and has secured an initial location for its base of operation, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said Wednesday. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Thursday, February 14, 2013

The government has established a Central Revenue Agency (CRA) and has secured an initial location for its base of operation, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said Wednesday.

The first sections of the CRA are expected to establish offices “in the very near future.”

Halkitis made the announcement during the first in a series of Meet the Ministers sessions being hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation.


Currently, The Bahamas has more than 30 departments and agencies collecting a variety of taxes and fees for the government.

“The present system of administration results in poorly developed functions such as registration, arrears management and audits,” Halkitis said.

“Compliance with the law for major taxes and fees is often weak. Significant revenue leakage is occurring and compliance and enforcement results are minimal, partly due to the absence of an agency with the legal authority to enforce the law and apply penalties for non-compliance.”

The CRA’s mission will be to ensure compliance with tax legislation by providing efficient services and conducting appropriate enforcement activity.

Its establishment is expected to address “critical structural deficiencies” of the present tax system, ultimately improving collections and ushering in a much-needed customer-friendly service.

The goal is for taxpayers to understand and easily access the information they require to comply with the law, said Halkitis, in addition to providing an avenue where they can promptly have tax concerns addressed.

“The new CRA will have collection responsibilities for all taxes and fees not closely tied to the direct programme activities of another department,” he added.

“Where the taxes and fees are intrinsic to the activities of the particular department, that department will remain responsible for collection.”

The new agency will be responsible for collecting stamp tax, real property tax, business licences and taxes, hotel occupancy tax, casino tax, and some bank and trust company fees, according to the Minister.

With this revenue administration reform, 90 per cent of all taxes, fees and service charges will be collected by either the Bahamas Customs Department or the new CRA, he said.

tblair@dupuch.com

In the first of a series of Meet the Ministers sessions, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis spoke about the government's strategy for economic growth with members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation today.

The pristine beaches of The Bahamas attracted more than your average share of visitors in 2012. In December, The Exumas served as one of the key locations for the highly anticipated Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2013, which hit newsstands February 12.

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