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|Nassau Guardian: VAT Tax Inevitable|
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|Posted by:||Jun 24th 2005, 05:36:06 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Revenue administration prepared for reality of VAT
By Barry Williams, Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
A computerised Trade Information Management System at Customs will strengthen its revenue administration and prepare it to implement the inevitable Value Added Tax (VAT) in The Bahamas, said Senator James Smith, Minister of State for Finance.
Mr Smith disclosed in the Senate Wednesday that the software system, in the process of being implemented, would allow Customs officials to better monitor non-compliant importers and also close loopholes in the current structure that allow for some evasion of duties. "The Government is moving to upgrade the administration of each revenue agency in a systematic process of modernisation and computerisation," Mr Smith said.
Additionally, the new system would facilitate the implementation of a VAT in the future when the current taxation system, in the form of customs duties, is no longer an adequate source of Government revenue collection.
Although there has been assurance by the current administration that a VAT would not be implemented during the remainder of its term, Mr Francis said the revenue administration had to be prepared to play an instrumental role.
According to Mr Smith, "It is the responsibility of the revenue administration to be ready to deal with the technicalities of a VAT once any Government decides to move forward with a VAT.
"It is important that the revenue administration is geared to move rapidly once the major policy decisions are taken, and the public consultations are completed."
Mr Smith also assured of the Government's promise to hold off on a VAT in the short run and said, "There is no intention on the part of this Government to implement a VAT."
Technical studies would play an integral role in preparing the revenue administration to handle the intricacies of a VAT when introduced to The Bahamas. Mr Smith disclosed that such studies were already commissioned and will be ongoing.
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