Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 11, 2010 (CUOPM)
Provisions will be made during the transitional period of the Value Added Tax (VAT), the St. Kitts – Nevis Labour Party led Government has disclosed.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said a month prior to the introduction of the VAT, businesses will be allowed to arrange bonded facilities and other measures with the Comptroller of Customs whereby they will pay only the Duty and Customs Service Charge on imports.
“After the VAT is implemented on 1st November 2010, businesses will be required to report to the Customs with respect to these bonded goods those which were sold under the Consumption Tax system and which were sold under VAT. At that time the applicable Tax will be collected based on when these goods were sold,” said Prime Minister Douglas, pointing out that it is quite obvious that this sort of accommodation by Government will require that businesses operate with integrity and transparency so that the Customs authorities can ascertain the levels of their stocks prior to the start of the transition and confirm the level of stocks after the VAT Date.
“In this way it would be a win/win situation as Government will be able to collect its fair share of revenue and businesses will pay their fair share of taxes,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said Government is aware that some persons and entities are concerned about the time factor.
“However, we are all aware that whatever timeframe was given that there would be those who would always need more time. We believe that we have a small agile economy and that we can handle the transition to VAT effectively in the given time frame,” said the Minister of Finance and Mover of the Bill.
Dr. Douglas said Government is prepared to guide businesses through the process and have trained several professionals who are able to literally hold the hands of businesses.
“Each registered business will be assigned to a member of the professional staff of the Inland Revenue Department who will visit the business and give advice as to the changes which are necessary for compliance. We are also offering to provide technical support to any business which has difficulty in making the necessary changes to its accounting and financial programme to accommodate the VAT,” said the Prime Minister pointing out that the assistance will be at Government’s expense.
“In addition software and hardware reasonably required for the introduction of the VAT will be granted Duty Free Concessions upon application to the Ministry of Finance,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said that his Government was confident that the VAT implementation date of 1st November 2010 will be achieved and used the opportunity to thank those of who have been providing valuable input and in general doing the civic duty by getting ready for the VAT.
“We are prepared to provide you with as much assistance as is feasible to ensure that the implementation is a success. I assure you that my Government is ready for the introduction of the VAT and I am sure that private sector entities would be more than able to rise to the challenge and be prepared in the given time frame,” said Prime Minister Douglas.