Success lauded in businesses registering for VAT

Sonia Boddie

St. Kitts, January 12, 2010 (SKNIS): The November 2010 introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT) has seen a healthy number of businesses comply with the first VAT filing date.

Senior Tax Inspector with the Tax Reform Unit, Sonia Boddie told SKNIS that approximately 85 percent of the business houses registered to collect VAT filed on time and in some cases, prior to the December 15 deadline. She added that members from the Collections and Compliance Division have been in contact with those firms which have not filed returns and are currently lending assistance to those that requested such.

“We have been working tirelessly in order to get them updated with their filings,” Ms. Boddie indicated, noting that most of the staff was out at the time interacting with various companies.

The next tax filing date is Saturday, January 15, 2011. As most Government offices are closed on weekends, Ms. Boddie stated that the deadline will be extended to the next working day, which in this case is Monday, January 17. The extension rule also applies when the date falls on a public holiday.

Most of the 700 VAT registered companies (515 in St. Kitts and 185 in Nevis) however have indicated that they are comfortable with the system, and with the benefit of prior experience, are prepared to meet this month’s filing date.

However, a small number of entities have seemingly been deliberately non-compliant.

Minister of Information, Honourable Nigel Carty noted that a number of business entities, who are registered to, and collected VAT from its customers have not filed nor paid the collected tax to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). He described this action as “an assault on the laws of the land” and warned that “Government intends to apply the full force of the law to ensure that taxes which … citizens have already paid to business establishments are transmitted to the IRD for the benefit of the people.”

Ms. Boddie reminded companies registered to collect VAT, to ensure the certificate is posted in a prominent place in their establishment and stressed that the Tax Reform Unit remains ready to assist in every aspect should the need arise. She also urged consumers to remain vigilant and request receipts that clearly show how goods are priced individually and how much is charged as VAT.

Any instances of VAT fraud, false receipts or other infractions should be reported to 467-1930 in St. Kitts or 469-5521 ext. 2221 in Nevis.

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