JANUARY 1 IS NOW ONLY WEEKS AWAY and the government, businesses nor the country are ready for VAT – but since the government is in preparatory pre-election-campaign mode (oh, yall didn’t know that hey?), I suppose we will see what happens especially since most businesses have yet to register for VAT. The government is curiously calm about such a thing given the fact that VAT is supposed to begin in weeks, wouldn’t you say? Businesses are the initial tax collectors of VAT. After they collect VAT from us on goods and services we purchase, they then are to turn the VAT money over to the government. If businesses don’t register to charge and collect VAT, the government has no VAT revenue to get – so the government should be in high gear getting businesses registered. That should be their biggest public campaign right now, but it’s not. Ask yourself why.
Just as Parliamentary Registration physically goes to groups and businesses to try to get as many people as possible registered to vote in a General Election, at this stage, the Ministry of Finance should be so serious about getting ready for January 1 that it could be doing the same type of thing to get businesses registered and get Bahamians, residents and investors FULLY informed. All sovereign credit ratings that are upcoming will be based on the outcome of VAT as ratings agencies decide whether to downgrade us to “junk” status. And the government already messed us up by posting a bogus budget estimate of projected revenue from VAT between January and June – an estimate those ratings agencies will judge us by. All of this should be urgent, right? But the government is spinning its wheels and clearly mixed right up about this tax. And by the way – exactly what is the government’s technical infrastructure for the tracking, collection and auditing of VAT again? WAKE UP, STOP BEING DISTRACTED AND PAY ATTENTION.
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