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Cabinet still mulling VAT details

Threshold for VAT registrants among undetermined issues
Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 17, 2013

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Cabinet has “about four issues to sign off on” before it is ready to release the value added tax (VAT) legislation and regulations to enable them to be made available to the public and placed before the House of Assembly.

Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said that among those issues are what the threshold for being a VAT registrant - being eligible to collect and remit VAT - will be, as well as precisely which products and services will be VAT exempt under the new system.

It had previously been indicated that the government had settled on a threshold of $100,000 for businesses to be deemed VAT eligible.  This figure was an increase from an initial threshold suggested in the White Paper on Tax Reform of $50,000.

While Halkitis declined to comment on a timeline for getting the legislation into the public domain, Guardian Business understands that officials are aiming to do so within the next two to three weeks, following an adjournment of Parliament.

The VAT legislation has now been before Cabinet for around seven weeks, based on comments from VAT consultant Ishmael Lightbourne in late September, in which he indicated at that time that the details of the legislation had been under review for around a month.

Halkitis said that after consultations with industries, the government has taken into consideration some of their input and made changes to the legislation.  “By and large there were no radical departures from what we’d proposed,” said Halkitis, adding, “We can continue to adjust it up until it comes into effect (July, 2014).”

The government has missed two of its own imposed deadlines for releasing the VAT details, one in August and another the end of September.

Numerous business operators have expressed concern about the delays in the release of the legislation, given the need for public education and for businesses to factor into their plans any financial adjustments they need to make in time for the implementation of the new tax system.

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