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Government rolls out tax reform programme

As the government prepares to roll out its wide-ranging tax reform programme, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Michael Halkitis today assured the financial community that the new regime will "meet the increasingly complex financial needs of our nation [and] underpin enhanced economic growth prospects for the future." 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

As the government prepares to roll out its wide-ranging tax reform programme, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Michael Halkitis today assured the financial community that the new regime will “meet the increasingly complex financial needs of our nation [and] underpin enhanced economic growth prospects for the future.”


Speaking at today’s Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) Day, the Minister said the government was currently working on draft legislation to implement the new regime, and that it would be released to the public “in very short order.”

“The groundwork and a lot of the heavy lifting have been done,” he told the audience at the British Colonial Hilton, Nassau. “We believe we are ready to move ahead.”

He explained that the legislation had been drawn up after extensive consulation with both private sector industry groups and representatives from the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors, saying: “The proposals were not conceived in a vacuum. We have been doing a lot of work talking to industry groups. We want to ensure that its key design and operational features are attuned to the Bahamian context.”

The majority of financial services will be exempt from VAT, according to Minister Halkitis, but certain fee-based services may fall under the scope of the provisions.

As part of its wider goal of comprehensive tax reform, the government will also establish a central revenue agency, eliminate certain customs duties and introduce excise stamps on tobacco products. 

According to the Minister, the annual revenue of the current tax system contributes around 17.5 per cent to 18 per cent to the country’s GDP. He estimates that this could rise to “well above 20 per cent” with the introduction of VAT and said it would “put The Bahamas on a sound financial footing.”

MLRO Day is organised by the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO) and also featured presentations by Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder and Director of Financial Services in the Ministry of Financial Services Nicola Virgill-Rolle.

BACO - MLRO Day 2013

HG Christie is marketing a luxury beachfront residence on Treasure Cay Beach. Watch the video here.

Opportunities abound for compliance officers as the government targets niche industries, according to Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder who urged attendees at today 's Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLRO) Day to "own their segment" of the financial services sector.

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