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News Report: BCCEC calls for comprehensive tax reform amid corporate income tax consultations

Written by Natario McKenzie, Eyewitness News, May 24th, 2023

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) said yesterday that while the government’s Green Paper on corporate income tax is a step towards equitable taxation in the country, comprehensive tax reform must accompany its implementation.

Khrystle Rutherford- Ferguson, chair of the BCCEC noted in a statement yesterday that the private sector representative is “cautious” as the proper implementation of CIT must go hand in hand with the reformation of the business license process and other forms of taxation.

She noted that businesses have long lamented and been concerned by the inequitable gross turnover-based Business License Fees in the Government’s determination of taxing businesses.

“The current system does not take into account loss-making years and has exhausted cash flow to businesses while hampering their ability to grow and expand by reinvesting in the business. Nor does it take into consideration charitable-based corporate donations through tax deductions, among other possible incentives,” she noted.

Rutherford-Ferguson acknowledged that the process of implementing a corporate income tax in The Bahamas will take time as the government gathers feedback from stakeholders and drafts the necessary legislation. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposals in Green Paper and to provide responses to the series of questions contained therein by July 3, 2023.

“We firmly believe that the success of this process will rise or fall on the strength of the consultation of stakeholders and the Government’s ability to use this information as instructive insight for a smooth implementation. One such appeal is to look at the country’s entire taxation system with a view of total reform, including reviewing the existing business license fee, as options include keeping business license fees for some businesses.

“Finally, the BCCEC urges the policymakers to ensure that not only is tax reform at the forefront but the ease of doing business is also at the forefront of all discussions,” Rutherford-Ferguson stated.

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