Government to provide tax relief to individuals and businesses

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The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas presented its 2018/2019 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly on May 30, 2018. Pictured on the steps of Churchill Building prior to the walk to the House of Assembly, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis (centre left) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest (with red briefcase that contains the Budget Communication document) pause for a photograph before leading members of the government across Rawson Square. (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said in its bid to meet its commitments to Bahamians and provide tax relief to individuals and businesses, this Bahamas Government Administration is, effective August 1, eliminating Value Added Tax (VAT) on all breadbasket items, with the exception of sugar, as sugar will – for health reasons – be removed from the list of breadbasket items.

DPM Turnquest was presenting the 2018/2019 Budget Communication in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

He said this would mean the elimination of VAT on the following items:

  • Butter
  • Cooking Oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Grits
  • Cheese
  • Corned Beef
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Margarine
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Tomato Paste
  • Baby Cereal
  • Baby Formula
  • Soup
  • Broths
  • Baby Food
  • Powdered Detergents
  • Condensed Milk
  • Soaps
  • Fresh Milk
  • Mustard

The DPM said the Government is eliminating VAT on medicines; residential property insurance.

“We are waiving VAT on residential electricity bills at or under $100 and water bills at or under $50; for clarity, this is not for the first $100 or $50 in a person’s bills, but it is targeted at those bills which come in at or under the stated amounts. For electricity customers, this would impact over 30,000 BPL households alone. For water customers, this would impact some 43,000 Water & Sewerage customers.

“This waiver will be applicable to all licensed utilities in the country.”

He said the Government is increasing the Customs personal travel exemption from $300 to $500 per person; it is providing for the VAT zero-rating of fund-raising activities held by charitable organizations; it is implementing various concessions in respect of Real Property Tax, Customs duties, Excise duties, Business License fees and Stamp Tax in favour of designated Economic Empowerment Zones, beginning with the “over-the-hill” community; it is providing for the waiver of duty on clothing and shoe imports upon application by importers and retailers of same.

DPM Turnquest said this will be extended to any merchant, large or small, who has a business license for the sale of clothes or shoes. We are at the same time putting in place procedures to ensure that the savings are passed on to consumers. This will be a benefit to all Bahamians, but particularly to those who do not have the means to travel abroad to shop for their clothes like others are sometimes able to do.

He said the Government is providing duty-free entry for goods for use in the commercial printing industry, as well as for processing and garment manufacturing equipment without the need to apply for specific concessions as before.

It is eliminating duties on solar kits upon application to the Ministry of Finance.  Presently solar panels are duty-free, and this new allowance will mean that vendors or individuals who are bringing in full solar kits can have all related elements brought in duty-free.

It is reducing duties on floor tiles and fabric softener and extending the 0.75 percent Business License fee rate, currently applicable to hotels with turnover over $400 million, to all hotels with 10 rooms or more so that smaller Bahamian-owned hotels can take advantage of the concession that was offered to the larger foreign-owned properties.

The Government is extending the duty exemption to church buses eight years old or less from the current limitation that limits the concession to buses that are three years old or less; we are providing an exemption from Business License fees for all schools that are registered with the Ministry of Education; and we are eliminating the duty on airplanes and helicopters in an effort to build an Airplane Registry Industry within the country.

1 COMMENT

  1. This list is sad and disappointing. To start, VAT should not be placed on food. There are states that do not tax food and are fine. The state economy has nit collapsed as a result. All items listed are unhealthy. Is this like the essential hurricane food items list noted by a government or disaster management organization? If not, please consider this list is a government saying, “Reduce your grocery bill by buying unhealthy food that has a long shelf-life.” Milk doesn’t seem to fit. “Oh, by the way, we’re sensitive. Though milk is perishable…” By the way, I recently heard milk is not healthy for black people.

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