Nassau, 08 Jan 2014 – The government of the Bahamas is warning business owners to explain themselves and the new Value Added Tax better to consumers. The Ministry of Finance today issued warning in letters to those companies not displaying the VAT inclusive price to the customer and says, if there is still resistance to the warning then there will be fines leveled against these businesses.

Bahamians are adjusting and in some cases not so well to the added 7.5% they are expected to pay for products and services with the January 1st, 2015 implementation of this new tax regime.

It is the first time for VAT in The Bahamas and the concerns have been varied but widespread; even the threat of losing some tourism business is looming. Nonetheless, government forged ahead with the program and rejuvenated its Price Control Agency to watch for price gouging.

In a statement earlier today, the VAT Department explained it is doing its part to protect consumers and shared that there are already warning letters out for registrants who may be making incorrect calculations. Consumers are entitled to refunds if the amounts identified as “tax” or “VAT” exceed 7.5%. In addition, retail businesses are not allowed to disclose as taxes, charges that are not VAT. Add to this, companies incomplete their registration process are advised not to be caught collecting VAT.

One gouger jumped as high as 17.5% on the cost of movie tickets.

The Department’s advice to consumers: “…challenge assertions which convey impressions that VAT is a significant cost for registered business. The tax is directly borne by consumers. When paid by the VAT registrant it is recoverable as credits.”

From The Bahamas, Deandrea Hamilton reporting for One Caribbean News.

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