Readers of this blog would be aware of all I have said and written about Value Added Tax (VAT) and The Bahamas over the last three years. Every single point raised and hammered during that time is happening exactly as was laid out on this blog site. This is not because I have magical powers or a hidden treasure chest of information – it is because what we are now experiencing has happened in countless other nations. Much of what it takes is a commitment to study, learn and understand what needs to be known and understood about the world around us and our place in it. Things many of our politicians appear to be suddenly awakened to about VAT have been right before their eyes all along. As a Bahamian, it deeply concerns me to see the lack of critical depth displayed by those vying to maintain or gain leadership in our nation. It worries me that those who so desperately want the crown, have shown a frighteningly shallow grasp and a shallow level of relevant global exposure about the critical matters of the kingdom they want to rule over. Catchy taglines and puff-piece press conferences don’t run nations. Right now The Bahamas is not being governed. It is coasting from one peak and valley to the next. The true thinkers and skillful doers in our political parties need to arise or be given room to even productively exist, because we see where loving form over substance has gotten us so far as an independent nation. #242ThinkersArise
Between January of 2015 and June of 2018, the government says it expects to collect almost $2 BILLION FROM US IN VAT. TWO BILLION DOLLARS FROM OUR POCKETS TO THE TREASURY. Remember, we were originally told that our VAT money would be used to cut into our debt levels.
So then why does the government’s Budget say that GOVERNMENT DEBT IS GOING TO INCREASE EACH YEAR DURING THAT PERIOD, AND THE IMF NOW SAYS DEBT TO GDP WILL ALSO INCREASE FOR THIS YEAR AND NEXT YEAR? Continue reading
Now we see why the Public Debt Documents (Heads 26 and 27) of the 2015/2016 Budget were stripped from the Bahamian people’s Budget. Some of that missing Debt Payment information has remarkably turned up. In 2014/2015, just over $259 MILLION was budgeted to be paid toward our public debt interest payments (formerly Head 26). IN 2015/2016, ONLY JUST OVER $266 MILLION HAS BEEN BUDGETED FOR THOSE DEBT PAYMENTS – JUST $7 MILLION MORE. Now. The government claims that between January 1 and June 30 of this year it would have already collected over $150 MILLION of our VAT dollars. For the 2015/2016 Budget, it says it expects to collect another $544 MILLION. WHY ONLY BUDGET $7 MILLION EXTRA TOWARD THESE DEBT PAYMENTS IN THE 2015/2016 BUDGET WHEN YOU CLAIM YOU WILL TAKE IN A STAGGERING $544 MILLION OF OUR MONEY IN VAT? THAT IS ONLY JUST OVER 1 (ONE) PERCENT OF OUR VAT MONEY GOING TOWARD THESE EXTRA DEBT PAYMENTS THIS BUDGET YEAR. Continue reading
Remember the video below from January 2014? International agencies have already said that if the money the government is now getting from us for VAT is not going to be used to cut down the deficit, then VAT will not prevent The Bahamas’ credit from being downgraded. Prime Minister Christie announced at the beginning of 2015 that his government plans to take the VAT money and spend it on other things. This is not what the country was told about the reason we needed VAT. We were told we needed VAT to cut down our debt. Continue reading
#1 – Widespread confusion, because consumers are not certain of what is supposed to happen at Point of Sale (the register) based on the sticker price on the item.
#2 – THE POTENTIAL FOR BEING CHARGED VAT TWICE. Depending on how a business’ Point of Sale system is set up, if the register rings out an item using the price on the VAT Inclusive sticker AS IS without stripping the VAT out, and the system is set up to charge 7.5% on whatever comes up as the subtotal – consumers will end up being charged VAT twice, because the sticker price is supposed to already have the 7.5% included, but the system would be charging VAT on that VAT Inclusive sticker price. Continue reading
The government is required by law (the VAT Act) to generate and publish a list of all businesses that have registered for VAT, and this list by law must be kept current and made readily accessible to the public at all times. This list lets you know which businesses should be charging VAT. When a business is registered, it is to charge you 7.5% VAT on all goods and relevant services which it must turn over to the government in full. If a business is not registered but it is charging you VAT, that means it would be collecting that extra tax money from you with no arrangement to turn that money over to the government (and it can then just pocket the money if it chooses to). IN OTHER WORDS, IF A BUSINESS IS NOT REGISTERED FOR VAT, IT SHOULD NOT BE CHARGING YOU VAT. Here is the link on the Government’s Official Website to the list of businesses that have registered thus far. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Blindsiding the Bahamian people, robbing ordinary citizens of the opportunity to make their dissenting voices heard during what should have been a FULL Parliamentary debate, and robbing the nation of the ability to be fully educated on VAT BEFORE the nation’s MPs took a vote – the government quickly passed VAT in Parliament late last night (Wednesday). Not a single Member of Parliament on either side forewarned the Bahamian people that the government was going to rush VAT to passage in the House Wednesday night. The country, fully distracted by a myriad of government-initiated actions, had no idea debate on VAT would start Tuesday and that VAT would be rushed to passage the following day. ONE DAY OF DEBATE, THEN THE GOVERNMENT QUICKLY PASSED VAT. Continue reading
As of January 1, 2015, we will have to pay 7.5% VAT on items & services including ALL FOOD & GROCERY ITEMS, EVERY SINGLE ITEM/GOODS IN ALL CATEGORIES THAT ARE PURCHASED IN THE COUNTRY, ALL UTILITIES (power, water, cable, phone, etc), gas & fuel, private healthcare, all domestic transportation (airlines, mailboats, ferries, taxis, buses [except tour buses], etc) insurance, construction, tourism, restaurants, ALL SERVICES EXCEPT the ones listed below, and more. SERVICES is anything you pay a business or provider to do for you, from getting your hair done to landscaping, to having something constructed, to any type of service a business provides. Continue reading
The government said their new VAT Bill would be tabled in June. We now know that will not happen – again. Every single time the government has pledged to table the VAT Bill by a certain time frame, they refused to do so. It is now only 5 months left before VAT is supposed to come into effect, and what is critical about that this time, is that VAT will now be charged on items and services the government originally said would not attract VAT. So the VAT Bill should have already been tabled and given to us so we can begin to prepare ourselves for the tax itself and the cost increases we originally thought we wouldn’t have to pay. Continue reading