Friday, December 13, 2013

Bahamians must all stand together and let our government know that Value Added Tax (VAT) is not for us

 Your Say: Vat Is Not The Solution


MY name is Tim. I am a 40-year-old graphic designer on the Island of Abaco and a citizen of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

I believe the Bahamas is indeed in need of tax reform; in fact we are likely more than overdue. Import duties have long been an inefficient model for the country due in large part to how easily and often they are circumvented and go unpaid.

However, the solution is not a Value Added Tax (VAT).

Based on the current information available, VAT will most certainly lead to a significant rise in the cost of living – something that is already relatively high – as it will lead to substantially higher cost of services.

These will in turn trickle down to the consumer.

The net result of increases in costs to consumers will lead to a contraction of the economy and ultimately a reduction of revenue to the Public Treasury.

The fallout of this will lead to businesses laying off persons to reduce expenditures as they hope to break even.

Before, however, we even have a conversation on raising taxes we must first reduce spending.

Any human being on earth, if they spend more money than they make, will find themselves in debt.

Anyone who seeks to borrow must ensure that they have the means on their own to pay such a loan back without bringing unnecessary hardship on themselves or their dependents.

The government has not taken the known fiscally prudent path but insists in overspending (much of which is in fact wasteful spending) after which they unconscionably turn to the citizens to pay back by taxing them even more.

We must have a fiscally prudent government before they start adding more or higher taxes or a different tax.

In implementing the Central Revenue Agency (CRA) they will spend countless millions building, outfitting and employing yet more people in turn eating away at the potential revenue the government will collect from VAT. All the while still employing hundreds of Customs officers.

The government must become more diligent – much more diligent – at collecting taxes.

The nation suffers when the necessary revenue is not collected and successive governments have chosen to borrow money instead of raise capital through the proper collection of taxes.

On the way to achieving fiscal prudence, it will be of great importance to implement a Freedom of Information Act and a Public Disclosures Act by which We The People can hold the government accountable.

We, as a nation, also must do our part. We must hold the government accountable while ourselves doing our reasonable part by paying our taxes, levies and fees. When we don’t do our part it hurts the entire country.

Today we are on the precipice of a perilous economic future and VAT is not the means to a more prosperous tomorrow for the Bahamas. We must all stand together and let the government – our government – know that VAT is not for us.

I believe together we are better. And together we can build a Better Bahamas.

December 12, 2013