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Tax benefits under special economic recovery zone (SERZ) initiative outlined

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Local tax officials yesterday outlined six main tax benefits available under the Special Economy Recovery Zone (SERZ) initiative, among them a sliding scale which affords tax payers a Value Added Tax (VAT) discount of up to 50 percent on realty sales.

Acting Controller of Inland Revenue Gaynell Rolle said: “As the revenue collection agencies of the government, the Department of Inland Revenue and Customs Department have been working hard to put the  systems and process in place  to implement the package of tax breaks that will be a part of the government’s new special economic recovery zone order. ”

The SERZ order takes effect on December 1 and expires June 30, 2020.

“They apply to Grand Bahamas Abaco and the surrounding cays and to individuals and business resident to the affected islands,” Rolle.

“There are six main tax benefits available under the order and you will find them at the border, the cash register and tax agencies. They relate specifically to goods and do not include services.”

According to Rolle, the tax benefits include the tax free importation of goods directly into the recovery zone. This applies to cargo directly imported into Grand Bahama, Abaco and the surrounding cays.

Other benefits include, VAT free purchase of goods inside the recovery zone; duty free and VAT free replacement of vehicles and boats, relief from all business license fees, real property tax relief on improved property and not vacant land and discounted VAT on the sale of real property.

Rolle said: “These tax breaks will allow individuals affected by the catastrophic hurricane Dorian to rebuild their lives more affordably and with greater speed. They include a wide range of times from buildings applies, furniture and office equipment, to fishing and farming supplies, medicine and personal hygiene prefects.

“The list includes water, fruit and vegetables and other unprepared and prepared foods include foods sold at restaurant. If you have no stove to cook on you can eat takeout and save on VAT.”

“At the cash register in a Abaco and grand Bahama consumers will effectively pay no VAT on most items available locally. They do not have to apply for approval because these  purchases are made directly within the zone.

“Consumers just shop within the recovery area and approved items will be VAT free at the cash register,” she said.

“For direct cargo imports at the border in Grand Bahamas, Abaco and the surrounding cays, certified individuals and businesses will have the benefit of tax free import on approved items. A pre-approval by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Inland Revenue is required for presentation at the border. The process requires individuals and businesses to compete the tax relief consolidated form.”

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