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News Report: "Chamber chairman wants 'no new taxes' in upcoming budget"

Updated: Jun 18

Published by Youri Kemp, The Nassau Guardian, May 28th , 2024

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation Chairman Timothy Ingraham said he hopes to see “no new taxes if possible” in the upcoming budget, which will be revealed on Wednesday in the House of Assembly.

“We’d like to see business simplified and the ease of doing business improved. It’s still difficult, for instance, to open bank accounts for your business in this country. It’s still difficult to get your business licenses sorted out in many instances, to get certificates of good standing and all of these other kinds of things. And so, a lot of our members would like to see the process to do business in this country simplified. And as I said, no new taxes.”

The Chamber is also still fielding complaints from its members related to difficulties completing their financial audits for companies that make up to $5 million per year. Ingraham said: “We still have members with complaints about the process up until recently, there were still some members who have done as much as they think was required of them, but they still don’t have a business license. I understand some of those challenges are down to the new system that was implemented, and it’s causing some issues with issuing the business license.

He continued: “But in speaking with the Department of Inland Revenue (DIR), they think that once they get through one cycle, it becomes a lot easier to do it because the new system just demands a lot more information than the old system did. And so that’s causing some of the issues. But we’ve encouraged our members that if they have an issue with it, to shoot us a note at the Chamber, and we will do what we can to try and help them work through those issues.

“The new system at the DIR is supposed to make filing for a business license easier, because it cuts out some of the additional steps businesses needed to complete a business license renewal. For example, it is understood that businesses no longer have to apply for a letter of good standing from the National insurance Board, something Ingraham is not certain of. “It’s been unclear on that because some members report that they’re still required to get a letter of good standing from NIB, and some say they aren’t. And so, we’re trying to confirm exactly what’s going on there.”

Ingraham added: “I certainly would like to see the tax flow even simplified a bit. We think in recent years, there are some things that have made it a little more difficult for businesses to report. If you’re a government, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay their taxes. You don’t want to make it difficult, and so we also want to see ease of doing business.

“A lot of members report that when they need a letter of good standing, for instance from the registrar general’s office, that’s a very tedious process. And we’ve seen some issues there with that office recently. And so, hopefully there’s something in the budget to move that process forward, so that our members aren’t held up by what’s happening there.”

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