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#373494 - 04/15/10 02:45 PM GST Questions and Answers
Marty Offline

The rate of general sales tax officially increased on April 1st by 25% – from 10% to 12.5%. That means that any item on which GST is charged there would have been an automatic increase, even on old stock. It also meant that the price on items which are newly zero rated – such as cereals and luncheon meat -there should have been an automatic decrease in the price. Confused? Commissioner of General Sales Tax Cynthia Castillo broke it down for us.

Cynthia Castillo, Commissioner of GST
“That means then that if example you have a good on the shelf that was priced at $1.10 and that good was subject to GST on the first of April, you have to apply the new rate. So for example the good would no longer be $1.10, it will be $1.13.”

Keith Swift,
“How about the items that are newly zero rated?”

Cynthia Castillo,
“You should see a decrease in the price of that item so again if we were to use the example of that good that was at $1.10 now the GST would be removed because it is now at zero percent. The price on the shelf should now be a dollar. It should go down.”

Keith Swift,
“Will the price of old stock go up?”

Cynthia Castillo,
“Yes once that good or service is taxable, it is now subject to tax at 12.5% across the board.”

Keith Swift,
“What are some of the items on which people should see the price going down on?”

Cynthia Castillo,
“We should see prices going down on potted meat, luncheon meat, macaroni and cheese dinner, ramen noodles, exercise books, notepads, school bags, eye frame for glasses. We have on some agricultural products as well.”

Keith Swift,
“Should I see the prices on my neighbourhood Chinese shop going up?”

Cynthia Castillo,
“On the items that are taxable yes. On the items I just listed and basic food items, we had items that were previously zero rated; coffee, potted meat, chicken sausages – those were previously zero rated so the prices should remain the same.”

Castillo says that the GST Department along with the Bureau of Standards are on an ambitious mission to meet with all 3,000 GST registered businesses to explain to them the do’s and don’ts of the adjusted tax regime. This is crucial because according to Castillo, some businesses have been using GST as an excuse to raise prices.

Cynthia Castillo,
“There has been a lot of price gouging and for the most part I believe that GST is being used as an excuse to raise prices and we have called in the Bureau of Standards, working closely with them to try to mitigate these issues.

The message really is Keith that consumers need to assist in policing the tax. The message we have been sending very loudly and clearly is that as consumers we need to start asking for a receipt and that is mandated by law. Every registered person for GST purposes must have a cash register, especially the retailers, they have to utilize a cash register or a point of sale system and for ever purchase a receipt must be issued.

Once you walk into a business, the first question is are you registered and there should be a GST certificate and that should be prominently displayed, usually around the cash register area. Once you see that certificate, a consumer has all right to request a receipt and the taxpayer must issue that receipt. When that doesn’t happen just call us in and we’ll go and do the checking.”

The GST hotline is 222-5294. The toll free hotline for the Bureau of Standards is 0-800-283-5587.

Channel 7

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#373499 - 04/15/10 02:59 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Marty]
Peter Jones Offline
"some businesses have been using GST as an excuse to raise prices"
WHAT a surprise!! No, seriously. This is recognised as an issue wherever VAT-like taxes are introduced or rates changed. If they are seriously surprised that it is happening then they are terribly naive - and ill-informed.

"Every registered person for GST purposes must have a cash register, especially the retailers, they have to utilize a cash register or a point of sale system"
And therein lies the weakness of this system, as applied to a relatively primitive economy like Belize's. Most businesses here are small, and most small businesses don't have cash registers, and the cost of one is too great for the business. VAT/GST is a case of the government tail attempting to wag the retailer dog.

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#373622 - 04/16/10 03:14 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Peter Jones]
Marty Offline
New S.I. provides stiffer penalties for non-payment of GST

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has announced that a new Statutory Instrument has been signed to provide for stiffer penalties for businesses who evade paying GST.

The Prime Minister made the announcement on Wave Radio’s “Fus Ting da Mawning” where he explained that on Tuesday April 13th he signed a new statutory instrument which will see penalties for non compliance with GST regulations increased. Former penalties for non- compliance to GST

regulations was 500 dollars as a penalty. That has now been raised to a minimum of 5 thousand dollars and up to 10 thousand dollars with the possibility of imprisonment to those who fail to adhere to GST regulations.
Among those regulations says the Prime Minister is the requirement to have cash registers and the provision of receipts to customers when making purchases. The PM pointed out that it was a difficult decision to have had to raise the price of GST and “the worst thing is for us to have the Belizean people bear the burden and then have merchants rip off the government so that instead of this additional monies that the tax payers have to find going to the government, for the government in turn provide improved goods and services to the people, the moneys ends up finding its way into the pockets of unscrupulous business people”

The Prime Minister added that government is serious about collecting its fair share of taxes and has committed to increase the staff at the GST department by adding two more staff members to conduct inspections and audits for the department. There is also the possibility of lowering the threshold for businesses to register for GST from 75 thousand dollars to 54 thousand dollars. That however is only being contemplated and for now the focus will be on seeing how the new collection efforts and the changes in legislation as well as the addition of staff will work before that is done.

The Guardian

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#373629 - 04/16/10 03:48 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Marty]
Peter Jones Offline
I've never heard of a requirement for a cash register in any other jurisdiction, and I think that for (many businesses in) Belize it's particularly onerous. What about (say) a travelling mechanic who doesn't have a "shop" as such? Where does he put a cash register? The need for a system is fine, but that system could be pre-numbered invoice pads, not a machine or a computer.

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#374140 - 04/21/10 02:45 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Peter Jones]
Diane Campbell Offline
I can't wait to see the cash-registers in the real estate offices and law firms - ?!

Seriously folks - I think the commissioner meant something other than what was quoted and we should give her a break on this item.

My protest would be about the monumental increase in the rate and the selective application of such a tax. The cash-register part is annoying but it's only a peanut, not the whole sundae.


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#374149 - 04/21/10 04:13 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Diane Campbell]
Peter Jones Offline
I can well believe the Commissioner did refer to a requirement for cash registers, as I've heard her say it. You can reject that blanket requirement as unreasonable if you wish, but if she is relating what the law actually says (and I don't know if she is) then that is very much at your risk.

The principal issue about GST and other VAT-type taxes is not the amount collected but the administrative effort required of traders. Not just the apparent requirement for a cash register, but the need to keep detailed books which are not required for any other purpose (now that businesses are taxed on turnover rather than profits). It's a cheap tax for government, which is why it's become so popular since the precursor to the EU first introduced it, but overall it's an exceedingly expensive tax to collect. It's just that by design the administrative burden doesn't fall on government.

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#374164 - 04/21/10 07:03 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: Peter Jones]
CayeMarie Offline
Does anyone know where you can get a complete list of zero rated items?

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#374177 - 04/21/10 09:02 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: CayeMarie]
MisterB266 Offline
CayeMarie,

Have you checked this site:
http://www.gst.gov.bz/

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#374241 - 04/22/10 03:59 AM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: MisterB266]
CayeMarie Offline
I did check their site but could not find a list of zero rated items. Thanks

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#374258 - 04/22/10 01:14 PM Re: GST Questions and Answers [Re: CayeMarie]
tacogirl Offline
Can anyone tell me if gst is always supposed to be included in the price in shops(I thought it was) or can the add it at the end on the bill?

List of zero rated items would be handy
_________________________
tacogirl Facebook, Belize Life Linked In - Belize info & images https://www.facebook.com/tacogirl


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