Value Added Tax discussed with hoteliers

Basseterre, April 13th 2010 – HTA Secretariat: The Government’s value-added tax (VAT), scheduled to be introduced late this year, was the main topic of a meeting of the St. Kitts and Nevis Hotel and Tourism Association at the Ocean Terrace Inn.

The meeting was attended by more than 40 members of the association, which represents hotels, restaurants and other businesses with substantial interests in tourism, the federation’s major industry.

The members’ concerns about the possible impact of the new tax were addressed by a team from the Government office responsible for its implementation.

The Government representatives, led by Mr. Edward Gift, gave the HTA members a wide-ranging presentation on the history of VAT in the Caribbean – where it has been introduced in a number of islands, including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados – and elsewhere in the world.

In his budget address last month, the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Denzil Douglas, said the new tax would be introduced in November of this year and that it would simplify and streamline the federation’s tax system. He said it would replace a wide range of current taxes, including the consumption tax, the hotel and restaurant tax, cable TV tax, traders’ tax, vehicle rental levy, export and rum duty, telecommunications levy and parcel tax.

The presentation to the HTA was the first of an extensive series of consultations with businesses and citizens before the Government passes the an act in May and implements the Tax in November.

Michael Head, manager of the HTA, said there was a lively question and answer session after Mr. Gift and his team gave their presentation. “We want to thank Mr. Gift and his colleagues, they were able to give us plenty of information about how VAT will work,” he said. “There is still much work that needs to be done and many questions left unanswered so further meetings will be held.”

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