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Tourist tax free shopping scheme launches in August

The Value Added Tax (VAT) Department has announced that the VAT Free Shopping Scheme will take effect August 15, 2015. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Value Added Tax (VAT) Department has announced that the VAT Free Shopping Scheme will take effect August 15, 2015.

As a result, the VAT and Customs Departments are partnering with Global Blue, an international operator of tax refund systems, to introduce the automated rebate tracking system for The Bahamas.

Merchants will continue to sell a wide range of products to tourists, net of VAT, and record this information in standard format that can be monitored electronically by the Customs Department.

With the introduction of the standardized electronic platform, the VAT Department is now opening up participation in the tax free or “VAT off” scheme to all qualifying businesses that sell qualifying goods.

In the interim period since January, only stores that made at least half of their sales to tourists were authorized to participate. The draft rules to govern the modified scheme can be located on the VAT Department’s website.

“There are aspects of the programme that we will continue to review over the next six months, however it is important to move at this time to allow smaller and medium-sized stores to join the scheme,” said financial secretary and acting VAT comptroller John Rolle.

In preparation to enlist new retail participants, the VAT Department will be hosting a free seminar for interested business July 16, 2015 at 10:00 am. The seminar is geared towards educating registrants which sell to tourists on how the VAT Off Scheme will work and how rules governing the scheme will apply. It will be held at the Department of Inland Revenue (CRA) offices on Carmichael and Palmetto Roads.

To attend, business owners, namely VAT Registrants who conduct sales with tourists, should reserve a spot as space will be limited.

For more information e-mail sashalightbourne@bahamas.gov.bs or call Taxpayer Services at 1-242-225-7280/ 242-461-8050.

Luxury watch maker Breitling recently launched its new collection from Switzerland at an invitation-only event for its Bahamian clientele at the Nassau boutique outlet.

Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell was in Ethiopia this week to attend the third International Conference on Financing for Development.

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