VAT Bahamas
New Tax Free Shopping Scheme Takes Effect for Bahamas Tourists in August
By Bahamas Ministry of Finance
Jul 17, 2015 - 11:56:25 AM

The Value Added Tax (VAT) Department has announced that the VAT Free Shopping Scheme will take effect on August 15th, 2015. As a result, the VAT and Customs Departments are partnering with Global Blue, an international operator of tax refund systems, to introduce the automated rebate tracking system for The Bahamas. Merchants will continue to sell a wide range of products to tourists, net of VAT, and record this information in standard format that can be monitored electronically by the Customs Department.

With the introduction of the standardized electronic platform, the VAT Department is now opening up participation in the tax free or “VAT off” scheme to all qualifying businesses that sell qualifying goods. In the interim period since January, only stores that made at least half of their sales to tourists were authorized to participate. The draft rules to govern the modified scheme can be located on the VAT Department’s website today.

“There are aspects of the program that we will continue to review over the next six months, however it is important to move at this time to allow smaller and medium-sized stores to join the scheme,” said Financial Secretary and Acting VAT Comptroller John Rolle.

In preparation to enlist new retail participants, the VAT Department will be hosting a free seminar for interested business on Thursday July 16th, 2015 at 10:00 am. The seminar is geared towards educating registrants with sell to tourists on how the VAT Off Scheme will work and how rules governing the scheme will apply. It will be held at the Department of Inland Revenue (CRA) offices on Carmichael and Palmetto Roads.

In order to locate the department:

From the east, head west on Carmichael Road passing the traffic lights at Faith Avenue. Continue west approximately a quarter-mile until you arrive at The Shops at Carmichael Plaza on the right. Turn right into the plaza where Scotia Bank and Burger King are located. The new site of VAT and Inland Revenue will be straight ahead.

From the west, head east on Carmichael Road passing the government’s Flamingo Gardens Clinic and post office. Continue east and take the second left into The Shops at Carmichael Plaza where Scotia Bank and Burger King are located. The new site of VAT and Inland Revenue will be straight ahead.

To attend, business owners, namely VAT Registrants who conduct sales with tourists, should reserve a spot as space will be limited.

For more information e-mail or call Taxpayer Services at 1-242-225-7280/ 242-461-8050.

July 14th, 2015

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