Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#222041 - 12/09/06 02:17 AM GST
Marty Offline
from a friend....

GST. The government implemented this monstrosity without thinking through
the consequences or properly training businesses.

As a travel agency based in Belize, I have to pay GST on the difference
between what I pay to the resorts and other tour operators on GST applicable
items, and what clients pay to me. Basically, that means my commission on
tours, meals and transfers.

The thing is, most times I don't make a commission on any of those things
from hotels - only the hotel room, which is not subject to GST.

However, under the GST law, I HAVE to have a GST compliant invoice to show
that I paid GST to the resort even if the net gain to me is zero. So, if
the resort charges me $200 for meals and transfers, they'll also charge me
$20 for GST, which of course I pass on to my client. When I pay the hotel,
I pay them $220.

However, if I don't have a GST compliant invoice for the hotels showing that
they charged me $220, then the law says that I have to again pay the $20 to
the GST folks.

Problem 1: Only travel agencies in Belize have to have a GST invoice.
There are only maybe 20 of us in the country. That means that resorts have
to change their entire procedure for a handful of people - maybe only 4 or
5, since not all travel agents in the country represent a full range of
resorts and lodges. That means we're a problem, and it's much easier for
them to deal with out of country agencies and not have to deal with all that
paperwork AND get paid in US dollars.

Problem 2: The government has basically made the travel agencies
responsible for enforcing the law. If we don't have the proper GST invoice,
then we're the ones who are penalized by not being able to claim a credit
for the GST already paid to the hotel. The hotels and resorts already find
us a problem to deal with (see Problem no. 1) and if we make too much
trouble, they can just cancel our reservations - or refuse to accept them,
so we don't have a lot of leverage.

Problem 3: No matter how many times I carefully make a list of what has to
be on the GST invoice, include a cite to the Website for the regulations,
and even the section number of the regulations, I find it's almost
impossible to get an invoice that satisfies the regulations. (FYI, if
you're interested, the GST invoice requirements are in Section 13 of the
regulations, which can be found at www.gst.gov.bz. They're not difficult to
understand, believe me.)

Problem 4: Other travel agencies aren't aware of the full requirements, or
don't seem to care. Two of us actually went to see the GST Commissioner to
clarify what is required, but we don't seem to be able to convince any of
our cohorts that the law means what it says, and so does the commissioner.
Consequently, I'm told by a few resorts that I'm the only one asking for
this kind of GST Invoice.

Any suggestions? I've begged, cajoled, suggested, corrected, etc., etc.,
etc. Of course, not everybody is a problem, but I now have 6 files sitting
on my desk from last month, and 4 from this month for which I don't have
correct invoices. I can't do my taxes for last month without them, and the
ones from this month keep piling up.

At this point, the only thing I can think of to do is tattle, which will
make me highly popular -- or move out of the country so I don't have to deal
with all this.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#222058 - 12/09/06 03:48 AM Re: GST [Re: Marty]
Anonymous
GST/VAT is a dreadful regressive tax, the most expensive way of collecting revenue in common use. Extraordinary that any country should voluntarily adopt it.

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#222081 - 12/09/06 07:15 AM Re: GST [Re: ]
ida_y_vuelta Offline
just outta curiosity... what's GST stand for there?!?!

here it's a goods and services tax... in other words everything is taxed with a few exceptions!! but the exceptions are very limited...


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#222085 - 12/09/06 01:33 PM Re: GST [Re: Marty]
shuffles Offline
Part of your problem, is that since hotels are exempt from the tax, most of them do not have (with the exception of the larger properties) enough revenue outside the rooms to be registered with a GST number, so they have not had to pay GST...since most of them are "pass through" operations. If a tour operator is charging GST on their tours (which they all should be), then the hotel charges the guests, then pays it to the tour operators. Since they act as "pass through" GST collectors, they do not have enough revenue to qualify for registration. This makes them not very GST savvy first, and also does make it "a pain" to figure out how to invoice properly, since they don't do it on a regular basis. The tour companies do not require a GST invoice, so I am guessing most properties don't prepare them on a regular basis.

We are looking into separating out our charge for breakfast, even though we do not charge separately for it, because if we do not show enough revenue outside our room fees to register for GST, then we (and all others similarly situated) start off the blocks down 10%. We are paying GST on all the items required to run our business, (linens, phone, electricity, food, soap, cleaning supplies, etc) but are not allowed to recoup that cost from our guests, and are not allowed to claim deductions for what we have paid.

I truly think the problem lies with the fact that because hotels do not deal with GST on a regular basis that they are unfamiliar with the process. Not that this is an excuse, but it could be the reason you are having so much difficulty.
_________________________
Change your Latitude

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#222146 - 12/10/06 01:41 AM Re: GST [Re: shuffles]
slats Offline
I looked to see if I could find information on this tax and typed GST and GST tax into the search and got nothing then stumbled onto this thread. Is the search not working or is it me?

Also, can anyone tell me how GST applies to new construction? Is the basis everything or just material?

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#222147 - 12/10/06 01:46 AM Re: GST [Re: slats]
klcman Offline
Search needs some fixes. Cannot get it to work for anything outside of current week.
_________________________
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

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#222266 - 12/11/06 05:32 AM Re: GST [Re: klcman]
Anonymous
GST means "general sales tax". Read about it at www.gst.gov.bz. It is basically VAT (value added tax). GST is a deliberate misnomer, because it is primarily not a tax on sales but a tax on the nett of sales and purchases. But then "sales tax" in its earlier incarnation was just as illogically applied here. "Deliberate" because after the earlier public fiasco when VAT was operated in Belize, it was decided that its reintroduction would have to be masked by changing the name.

For anyone who doesn't understand this tax, applied in Canada and across the EU as well as (now, again) in Belize, let me explain one feature referred to above by "shuffles". Having a business that is "exempt" is not a good thing - it's actually the worst position to be in. You have to pay GST on most of your purchases, but unlike a business that is registered to operate GST you are not allowed to reclaim that "input" tax. It just gets added to your nett costs.

Hotel sales for accommodation, the bulk of most hotels' income, is deemed to be exempt. Whereas in Europe a business in this position could still register for VAT (though the input tax they could reclaim would be restricted by the proportion that their exempt sales were of their total sales), in Belize they've simply decided that such a business can't register.

Getting round this is difficult and problemmatical. If "shuffles" sets up his/her food & tour desk sections (for example) as separate businesses, then these will have to be maintained as separate right from booking-in. Levying an internal charge from this "standard rated" section against the "exempt" accommodation section will mean raising a GST invoice, with a tax charge on it that the accommodation section cannot recoup, but which the standard rated section will nonetheless have to remit to the government.

A nightmare. If this were an experimental tax it might be excusable for the government to make such an almighty cock-up, but not only is it a widely operated tax worldwide, but Belize did operate it some years ago - they dropped it because of mounting bad publicity. Makes you wonder what's changed.

I run a dive centre now, but in an earlier existence I worked with this stuff.

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#222274 - 12/11/06 08:10 AM Re: GST [Re: ]
ida_y_vuelta Offline
so is this affecting tourist or locals or both?!?!

either way it sucks... plain and simple!

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#222361 - 12/11/06 08:50 PM Re: GST [Re: ida_y_vuelta]
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Taxes suck in general, GST will hit 15% in the next five years.
_________________________
Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

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#222467 - 12/12/06 05:18 AM Re: GST [Re: Sir Isaac Newton]
Anonymous
aw, trouble in Paradise?

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