Debate continues Tuesday on VAT Bill in National Assembly

The Government Side in the National Assembly on Friday

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 9TH 2010 (CUOPM) – Debate on the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill 2010, which will implement a new tax regime in November this year, continues in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on Tuesday.

The 150-page document was given its second reading last Friday by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Parliamentarians also received a 35-page document containing proposed amendments following widespread public discussion and consultations with private sector groups, social organisations and individuals; dissemination of information via radio and television talk shows and the internet.

The introduction of a VAT is a major development, which will significantly streamline the Federation’s tax system, consolidating over 12 existing taxes: the Consumption Tax, the Hotel Accommodation and Restaurant Tax, the Cable TV Tax, the Vehicle Rental Levy, the Insurance Premium Tax, the Export Duty, the Public Entertainment Tax, the Lotteries Tax, the Gaming Machine Tax, the Traders Tax, the Telecommunications Levy, the Island Enhancement Fund and the Parcel Tax.

In earlier announcements, the government indicated that the VAT would be implemented broadly, at a rate of around 17%, with exemptions for a range of basic goods and services including: interest and loan payments; some medicines for chronic diseases; bus fees; residential rent; local farmers’ produce; fuels such as gasoline, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene; articles specific to disabled persons; printed reading material; and some imported food.

The adoption of the VAT bill is a part of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Government’s reform of the Federation’s tax regime since the abolition of Personal Income Tax by the former PAM Administration in September 1980 retroactive to May that same year.

To replace the monies lost from the abolition of Personal Income Tax, the Simmonds Administration imposed several taxes including the Social Services Levy on income.

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