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Financial secretary holds VAT forum

Financial secretary John Rolle recently met with more than 60 members of the Bahamas Financial Services Board at the Ministry of Finance for an open discussion on the proposed value added tax government is recommending to raise revenue and better manage the national budget. Pictured: Financial secretary John Rolle addresses members of the Bahamas Financial Services Board during an open discussion on value added tax implementation in The Bahamas earlier this week. (Photo by Derek Smith Jr)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, January 31, 2014
Friday, January 31, 2014

Financial secretary John Rolle recently met with more than 60 members of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) at the Ministry of Finance for an open discussion on the proposed value added tax (VAT) government is recommending to raise revenue and better manage the national budget.

For senior lawyers, bankers, asset and wealth managers and others, the two-hour face-to-face meeting with Financial Secretary John Rolle was an opportunity to seek answers to highly specific questions.


Rolle answered audience questions concerning matters related the

Questions ranged from waiting to know if VAT would be due on services by companies with a physical presence in The Bahamas, but no local activity, to whether rent paid on housing for an ex-pat staff member would be VAT-able.

“In both of those instances, we were able to reassure the financial services industry that VAT would not apply,” said Rolle.

There was a clarion call to simplify the language in draft legislation and accompanying guide.

The financial secretary said explanatory material was being developed to address those concerns.

“We were really pleased with the turnout and also with the fact that the questions were specific,” said Rolle.

“I believe that the business community is getting a clearer picture of VAT and understanding why it is a necessary step as the country rebuilds its financial standing. The questions are beginning to be much less about ‘Why VAT?’ and much more about ‘How will this affect me or my business?’ or ‘How do we do such and such?'”

“Over the next few months, as we roll out more information and begin the registration process, it will become a lot easier to grasp. We are just not accustomed to paying taxes in this country, so it is easy to understand the scepticism, but meetings like this go a long way in opening up the lines of communication.”

The Ministry of Finance has a full calendar of presentations and meetings scheduled for the next month.

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