Additional revenue, tax reform on the cards for Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas, May 30, 2008 – The Bahamas government expects to collect 7.8 per cent more income this year than it did last year as a result of measures taken to strengthen its revenue collection processes.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who made the revelation during his budget presentation, also indicated that his government would make good on its promise to simplify the Customs Tariff and combine customs Duty and Stamp Tax on imports.

He said the purpose of this exercise is to follow international practice and to remove the taxes from any reduction exercise which might be necessary as a result of admission into the World Trade Organisation.  
“The Ministry of Finance and the Customs Department have completed the study of administrative and other arrangements needed to accomplish the amalgamation of Customs Duties and Stamp Tax on imports in the 2008/09 Budget. Hence, with effect from 1 July, 2008, we are reforming our Customs Tariff,” he announced.
The Prime Minister added that the government would take another step to improve the way it does business by exploring means of consolidating and streamlining its revenue collection operations. 
This, he said, would be one important element in the government’s overall strategy to make it easier for taxpayers to deal with government and to comply with their tax and fee obligations.
He also spoke about a review of the government’s process of financial administration.
“Since 1973, management practices have made major advances, and the volume of government revenues and expenditures have increased enormously,” Mr Ingraham said.
“A review of the Financial Audit and Administration Act is now appropriate to determine the full extent of the legal provisions which should govern the accountability and transparency of government expenditure and revenues.”
It is envisaged that a revised Financial Administration and Audit Act will be part of the 2009/2010 Budget.