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Bahamas Reflects On 2015 Tax Initiatives

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
08 January, 2016

The Government of the Bahamas has recalled that 2015 brought significant challenges for the territory in the area of tax, with the implementation of a VAT regime, adoption of FATCA legislation, and the expansion of duty free concessions to cover the whole of Grand Bahama.

The Bahamas Government recently released a statement recapping the initiatives undertaken by the territory in 2015.

The Government said: "The smooth and successful implementation [of] VAT was a major milestone in the country's quest to structurally and functionally transform its tax regime. This policy undertaking is arguably the largest Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP) since the implementation of National Insurance in 1974. The International Monetary Fund [had] advised The Bahamas for many years that its tax base was too narrow to support a growing country and that customs duties failed to capture trade in the services industry, which represents upwards of sixty percent of the Bahamian economy."

"The Central Bank of The Bahamas has projected VAT revenue to eclipse the one-half-billion dollar mark in the current fiscal year. This new law came with sweeping and broad based reduction in customs duties."

The Government added: "In a response to VAT and to further ease the burden on taxpayers, the Bahamas government passed legislation effectively increasing the minimum wage, bringing the private sector in line with the minimum wage paid by the Government."

In the area of gambling, the Government said it had undertaken significant efforts to bring the domestic gambling industry into the tax net, with the legalization of the web shop gaming industry this year. "This brought to an end an underground and unregulated economy that existed for decades," the Government said.

In addition, during 2015, duty-free concessions were extended beyond the Freeport city limits for the first time, now covering the whole of Grand Bahama.

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