PM Douglas announces 7 percent VAT Day

The Government- Chamber meeting on Tuesday.(Photos by Charles Jong)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMEBER 15th 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has announced a fiscal stimulus package that will reduce the VAT rate from 17 percent to 7 percent on Thursday 22nd December 2011.

“There is going to be a special day next week – a reduction in the VAT Rate to a Special 7% on all sales of goods concluded on Thursday 22, December 2011 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 pm, subject to special conditions. Eligible VAT Registered businesses are required to participate and only charge VAT at a Special 7% Rate on goods sold during this period,” Prime Minister Douglas told the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly as he brought the debate on the 2012 Budget to an end.

He said the arrangement was hammered out during discussions on Tuesday and finalized on Wednesday after discussions with his government and officials of the Ministry of Finance and representatives of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce. “We shall remove 10 percent from the VAT on all shopping on that day. All goods including food that are being sold on that day will be sold, not at 17 percent VAT, but at 7 percent,” Prime Minister Douglas told legislators and the nation.

He pointed out that the range of goods includes building materials and appliances, but will not be applied to services. “Wherever we can bring relief we shall. That is the nature of this Labour Government. It is a caring Government. This is a Government that dialogues, that listens and consults and asks for ideas and opinions,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that the recent decision to allow up to 400 pounds of food imported in the month of December and a EC$1500 allowance on goods was as a result of listening to the suggestions of the people. “Now the local businessmen have said they too want a chance to do something and we say go ahead and do something.

We will take off 10 percent off the VAT,” said Prime Minister Douglas. Dr. Douglas said the businesses have already given bargains and it is now for shoppers “to take a careful eye and do their assessment.” “I would ask our shoppers to be very careful. We want to help the business community and they have to be partners in our development. We cannot do it alone,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He however had a warning to some members of the private sector who are VAT-registered and are collecting the government tax from people and not paying it over to the Inland Revenue Department. “I want to warn them that if you are guilty of doing that, shoppers will not shop with you. You will not benefit from this reduction in the VAT by 10 percent,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said VAT-registered businesses that have not filed all of its VAT tax returns or settled all of its outstanding VAT tax liability as at December 19, 2011 with the Department will not be eligible to sell goods at the special rate of 7 percent.

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