The VAT Man Cometh
October 28, 2010
With less than one week before the official implementation of a Value Added Tax [VAT] on goods and services in the federation of St. Kitts-Nevis, businesses on Nevis have being going “VAT crazy” with pre-VAT sales on household appliances, clothing, food and a number of other items.
As part of its ongoing efforts to sensitize the public about the new tax, Assistant Comptroller of VAT Ms. Kimone Moving and her team at the Tax Reform Unit facilitated, last Friday [Oct. 22], a VAT Meet and Greet for residents of Nevis.
The afternoon session which was scheduled to begin at noon was held in the Memorial Square in Charlestown and attracted the participation of a wide cross-section of the Nevisian community.
Tax Officer at the VAT Unit, Ms. Mackela Watkins said she used Friday’s Meet and Greet to inform persons “about what products will be zero rated, [what] supplies will be exempted and the details surrounding imported items.” She also “informed persons about what their shopping lists should look like; should have VAT on and should not have VAT on.”
According to Senior Tax Officer in the Audit Department, Ms. Amelia Jones the VAT system entails “three different rates; the standard rated at 17 percent, the zero rate at zero percent and a 10 percent rate for hotel, restaurant and tour operators.”
When asked to highlight the significance of the zero rated items to members of the business community, Ms. Jones explained that “no tax will be charged on zero rated items however, businesses who are selling those items can claim an input tax deduction from them.”
With infomercials being played on local radio and television stations across St. Kitts-Nevis, the Tax Reform Unit continues to encourage members of the general public to visit their Charlestown offices in order to gain more information about VAT.
While the Unit’s second round of town hall meetings, held during the month of October, did not meet the organisers’ expectations, Ms. Moving said she was pleased with the quality of the meetings and indicated that the attendees “got a lot of information and left stating that they now know a lot more about VAT than they did before.”
She highlighted that her Unit plans to increase its public relations efforts through the television and radio with the possibility of facilitating additional Meet and Greet sessions for the public.