Bahamas 7.5% VAT 2015 nears agreement

Sun 31st Aug 2014

The timetable for the introduction of VAT in the Bahamas has been confirmed. The implementation date will be 1 January 2015, and the standard VAT rate will be 7.5%. However, the Senate has yet to confirm its approval.

The introduction of Bahamas VAT at 15% in 2014 was dropped in June following much criticism. Whilst there is no indirect tax regime in the Bahamas currently, the country has to implement a consumption tax regime to enable it to drop import tariffs, a requirement for its application to the World Trade Organisation.

The new plans include a new telephone enquiries service, and an extensive programme for educating the new civil servants to run the scheme, starting in September. In common with the EU VAT regime, many services such as financial services, public and live/cultural events will be exempt. Returns will be monthly, and businesses earning less than BS$ 400,000 will not be obliged to register.

Eligible businesses will be able to register for the tax from September 2014, and will be invited to training sessions in time for the 2015 start.